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What’s Hot: The 2016 Outlander receives a mid-model year update, with significant enhancements to this seven passenger crossover. For the 2016 model year, the price of entry for this new and improved model is approximately $200 less than last year’s model. Mitsubishi’s reworked flagship crossover is available in either a two-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration.

And this seven passenger vehicle is available with a choice of two powertrains: a 2.4-liter or a 3.0-liter engine. We found the 6-cylinder, 3.0-liter engine, with the 224-horsepower engine, in the top of the line GT trim we reviewed to be more than adequate for this SUV.

Surprisingly, this crossover exceeded expectations, as has been the case with a few other Mitsubishis of late. The Outlander is a standout in the seven passenger crossover segment in terms of pricing. In fact, this car-based utility vehicle offers a compliant car-like ride, due to its redesigned suspension system/

While the vehicle offers three rows of seating, the second-row is on a track system, allowing the seats to slide, providing easier entry into the third row (which is also capable of folding flat into the floor). With the third-row seats folding into the floor, this easily turns the vehicle into a five passenger vehicle. So not only is additional cargo space provided, second-row passengers are provided enhanced comfort due to more legroom and the partially reclining seats.

The Outlander is available in several trims. Depending upon one’s price point, the Outlander can be outfitted with such extras as a navigation system package, an entertainment package, an exterior styling package, a towing package, a chrome package, an exterior protection package, a cargo tray package, a cargo mat package, a blue LED illumination interior package, an all-weather interior package and a package with park assist sensors.

Mitsubishi has packed a number of features along with the latest safety advancements, such as a lane departure system and a forward collision braking system, into the Outlander. And a plug-in hybrid is on the way for the 2017 model year.

What’s Not: The brand’s flagship crossover is only available as a front wheel drive model with the entry level trims. Once buyers step up to the higher trims then they have to opt for an all-wheel drive system and have access to some of the latest safety driving aids. The folks at Mitsubishi should consider revising their content packing system, allowing more flexibility with some of the must-have features to be available on lower-end trims.

While a third row seat is great, its not designed for a cross-country trip. When in play, the seat not only impacts the visibility of the driver, but also significantly reduces cargo space. It’s a tight squeeze for occupants in the third-row due to limited legroom.

And why is there only one USB slot for the vehicle? It seems like it was an afterthought due to its awkward location. And our last gripe is minor, but for those who happen to still listen to CDs, you’ll have to look elsewhere, since the audio system doesn’t truly accommodate them.

Drive or Drive-By?: The reengineered 2016 Mitsubishi is a sleeper in the world of seven-passenger crossovers. However, just as Kia is known for being a great value proposition, the same goes for the Outlander in terms of content, pricing and seating capacity. Where else can you find a ]seven passenger vehicle with the latest available safety aids for $35,000?

 Competition: Chevy Traverse; Ford Explorer; Hyundai Santa Fe; Nissan Rogue (seven passenger); Nissan Pathfinder; and Kia Sorrento

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $35,195 (base model $23,890)

Seating Capacity: 7

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; electronic stability control system; traction control; heated side view mirrors; a hill start assist system; LED taillights; and a tire pressure monitoring system

 Standard Equipment (Base ES model): 18-inch wheels; front-wheel drive; an automatic a/c; a remote keyless entry system; steering wheel mounted audio controls; cloth seats with manually operated front seats; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a leather-wrapped shift knob; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a roof carrier plug-in accommodation; and a remote keyless entry with a panic feature.

 Standard Equipment (GT): a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine; all-wheel drive; a 6-inch touchscreen infotainment system; auto dimming rear view mirrors; HD audio; a satellite radio; a keyless ignition starter system; a power rear tailgate; a rearview camera; automatic headlights; foglights; power folding side mirrors; a power sunroof; a dual zone climate control system; leather seats; heated front seats; a leather wrapped door, armrest and trim panel insert; and a steering wheel with shift paddles.

 Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a navigation system; a forward collision alert system; a radar-activated cruise control system; and a lane departure warning system

 Other Trim Level:

 SE

SEL

ES

SE

SEL

 Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD

 Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

 USB Connectivity: Yes

 Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/166-hp

Towing Capacity: 1500 lbs

Recommended Fuel: Regular

 Standard Fuel Mileage:

25-city/31-hwy

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.

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