The 2-wheel drive XLS trim disappears, but for 2012, the Outlander gets GT trim in both 2- and 4-wheel drive with HID headlamps, mirror-integrated turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, aluminum pedals and automatic climate control.<p><p>Roof rails and mesh grille are now standard across the lineup.
The Mitsubishi Outlander has two available engines: a 2.4L 4-cylinder making 168 hp, available in the ES and SE trim levels, and a 3.0L V6 making 230 hp in the GT. The 4-cylinder is mated to a CVT transmission, while the V6 uses a 6-speed Sportronic automatic transmission. The SE and GT also have standard magnesium paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The ES, SE and GT all come standard with front-wheel drive, while the SE can also be outfitted with All-Wheel Control (AWC). The top-of-the-line Outlander GT also offers Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control System (S-AWC for short). The system has the first electronically controlled active front differential on a CUV, which detects traction of the front tires and directs power appropriately, improving both safety and performance. A dial allows the driver to select from three settings, depending on conditions: Tarmac, Snow and Lock.
The Outlander is loaded with safety features that make it smart buy. Six airbags are standard, as are active stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring and pedestrian impact crumple zones. In addition to the S-AWC system, the GT also has standard Hill Start Assist.
As for the interior, the ES base model has fabric upholstery with 60/40 split folding rear seats, plus air conditioning, cruise control, power doors and windows and a 6-speaker CD/MP3 stereo. The SE upgrades include a leather-wrapped shift knob and multi-function steering wheel, leather bolsters with sport fabric seats, a 6-CD in-dash changer and Bluetooth.
The GT adds automatic climate control, HID headlamps, independently adjustable rear seats and rain-sensing wipers. The available Touring package includes heated seats, leather seating surfaces and trim, a Rockford Fosgate stereo with SIRIUS satellite radio, a sunroof and a rear camera system.