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Mitsubishi Outlander

My wife and I are looking at replacing an old Saturn wagon. We are focusing on getting something like a small SUV, 2WD, 4-cylinder, late model for us and our two (growing) children. Besides the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tucson, Mazda 5 (I know, not an SUV), or Hyundai Elantra Touring (if we really don’t have enough money) that we are considering, there is the Mitsubishi Outlander, probably the entry level model. Prices seem lower than the Toyota or Honda, it has good amount of space, a seemingly good reputation for reliability. I am a bit concerned about the transmission being a CVT. The forums here have addressed CVTs, but not the Mitsubishi ones specifically. Does anyone have any information on the Outlander CVT? Is it like Nissan, Subaru, or what? Anything that might be potential trouble? Thanks in advance for any guidance you might be able to provide.

what’s your budget? that’ll help immensely

At this point it seems all CVT’s are manufactured in one place, Jasper I guess. Check with Mitsu and see where they get theirs from. The one problem with CVT’s is that even if they were great things, yours could still break and it costs an arm and a leg to replace.

To the best of my knowledge, all of the Japanese CVTs are manufactured by Jatco (Japan Automatic Transmission Co.). However, the design does vary from one car manufacturer to another, so reliability could likely vary somewhat from one make to another, despite coming from the same trans factory.

When they were first introduced, Nissan’s CVTs were much more troublesome than their conventional automatics. However, after a couple of years of production, those Nissan CVTs seem to have become comparable in reliability to their conventional automatics. Subaru has not experienced any unusual problems with their CVT during their first 2 years of production.

As to Mitsubishi–I don’t know the answer. While that make–overall-- is nowhere near the best when it comes to reliability, the Outlander does appear to be a reliable model.

Mitsubishi makes good heavy equipment and stereo gear. Personally I’m not sold on their inconsistent record as a car manufacturer here in the US. Regardless of your concerns about the CVT, the rest of the car should be of equal concern.

bscar, Our budget is in the $15 - 20K range.

VDCdriver, I saw good reliability records for the Outlander, but there aren’t a whole lot of stats otherwise. Maybe no news is good news.

dagosa, Good points. Again, I don’t see too much bad about this particular vehicle, but I was concerned about the technology in this case.

If anyone else has something good, bad, or ugly about the Outlander, please let me know. Our buying decision may come down to what is acceptable at the time we buy something, and what the price is for what is available.

I would go for the Hyundai Elantra Touring. It’s cheap to buy, roomy, has a proven record, and will not cost an arm and a leg to maintain.

A 2 wheel drive SUV only makes sense if you really need that ground clearance, such as living on a ranch.

The lack of stats is due to low sales numbers. Not enough to have any meaningful stats. When I had my Galant one major PITA was disappearing dealerships. At the end I had to drive 30 miles in a major metro area to my my ATF. I would end up ordering most my parts on-line-the wait is not always fun or practical.

With respect to Doc’s comments on buying small car based SUV w/o awd. I agree that they are different from sedans and I can only comment on the CRV, Rogue and the Rav which our family has.

Whether they have awd or not, I like them for these reasons: They are vehicles that offer increased load capacity and access than vehicles they are based upon. They do have better ground clearance which is better in snow anywhere and I find conveinient even on poorly maintained city streets. They often have better seating for people who prefer the flexibility of upright seating and are tall. They have flexibility in towing options and active lifestyle add ons. The handling, though not as good as sedans, is more than adequate for most driving. And lastly, I hate small cookie cutter and low profile tires on sedans and find the tires on these Suv s provide a ride on rough roads that is often superior and easier on the vehicles.

I can only say that ours is the most convenient vehicle made , according to my wife who is the primary driver, and she will continue to own one when at some point, due to age, we move back into town. They are in fact, taller mini station wagons and have all the advantages, along with some of the disadvantages. If we were forced to have just one car, it would be one of these.

“galant” makes an excellent point. If the dealership and parts is important, your choice of a car should be as much predicated on this factor as the car make you buy.

Thanks much for all your helpful comments. We do live in a major metropolitan area, and I think a new Mitsubishi dealership actually opened up not too far from us. However, given number of dealerships and parts availability, we will be keeping our options open. (See also: Saturn)