When I drove the second generation Outlander back in 2007, I noted Mitsubishi officials were calling it, and the Lancer, the most important cars in the company’s short Canadian history.

When Mitsubishi arrived here seven years ago, it did so with a collection of vehicles that were lagging behind the curve.

The Outlander and Lancer set the tone for vastly different lineups of vehicles that have now arrived like the Eclipse Coupe and Spyder, the Ralliarts, the Sportback and the mighty EVO GSR and MR.

Along with new dealerships and new wares, Mitsubishi hoped Canadians would take a second look and it seems to be working.

The 2009 Outlander is longer, wider and taller than the previous generation primarily to offer five- or seven-passenger seating.

Seven-seat models have a standard under-floor stow­age compartment and a compact third row seat that folds flat into the floor when not needed. Five-seat models also feature an under-floor storage bin. The second-row seat has 60/40 split fold-and-tumble seat backs that expand cargo capacity.

The second-row 60/40 seats fold independently and offer a 3.15-in. fore/aft slide range to optimize passenger room or cargo room.

When it bowed as a 2007 model, the Outlander was fitted with a 3.0-litre V6 but now a 2.4-litre inline SOHC four-cylinder has been added and found on the entry-level ES. It produces 168 hp and 167 lb/ft of torque. The transmission is a CVT with an adaptive shift system that lets the driver shift “manually.”

Fuel consumption is rated at 10.5/7.8L/100 km city/highway for the FWD and 10.6/8.0L/100 km for the AWD.

Pricing starts at $24,998 for the ES FWD and $26,998 for the ES AWD.

The mid-trim level LS and toptrim XLS Outlander models use the same 3.0-litre V6 with 220 hp and 204 lb/ft of torque. Drive is through a six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission with optional magnesium steering wheel paddle shifters on the XLS model.

Fuel consumption here is listed as 12.0/8.2L/100 km city/highway.

Pricing for the LS starts at $27,998 while the Outlander XLS starts at $32,196. Tested here is the XLS with the $4,000 optional Navigation and Entertainment Package. It builds on the Sun and Sound Package adding a GPS navigational system, 40-gigabyte hard disc drive, seven-inch front touch screen monitor, nine-inch monitor for the DVD system in the rear and a backup camera.

In the still red-hot Canadian compact SUV/CUV segment Mitsubishi has a story to tell and a very good product in the Outlander. If you’ve thinking about something in this segment, Mitsubishi might not have been in your top picks, but it might just be worth taking a new look at Mitsubishi.

2009 Mitsubishi Outlander
Type: Compact SUV
Price: from $24,998
Engine: 2.4-litre SOHC inline four-cylinder (168 hp, 167 lb/ft); 3.0-litre SOHC V6 (220 hp, 204 lb/ft)


• Longer, wider and taller
• Plenty of options

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