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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander promises something for everyone

Published:Friday | July 17, 2015 | 7:00 AM
The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander carries the new Mitsubishi shield which will be on all SUVs going forward.
It's a family affair as director of the Stewart's Auto Group Duncan Stewart, his sister and fellow director Jackie Stewart Lechler (right) and his niece Christina Lechler Hudson, Mitsubishi brand manager, show off 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. The SUV was launched on Tuesday at the Mitsubishi showroom, Stewart's Auto Sales along South Camp Road.
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If you know your Mitsubishi vehicles, then at first sight, the 2016 Outlander might look a tad, well, different.

That's because the Japanese car maker threw in nearly 100 improvements over the previous model. The seven-seat SUV is expected to be a big hit with Jamaican drivers. The faces of guests showed how impressed they were at Tuesday's launch at the Mitsubishi showroom of Stewart's Auto Sales along South Camp Road, and this might be a good measuring stick of approval.

The vehicle is also expected to appeal to a wide cross section of drivers. Christina Lechler Hudson, Mitsubishi brand manager, said they were not putting the Outlander in a "box" in terms of deciding their target market.

"The seven seats make it perfect for a family, but it also has the easy-fold seats. If you don't need that space, you just fold it down," she said. "So you can put items like sports equipment. That's for active people, so it's so versatile. And it's fuel-efficient; anyone who wants a fuel-efficient four-wheel drive car with lots of space, this one is for you." Hudson said customer feedback made a big difference in implementing the improvements.

"I think that it's been quite a little while since Mitsubishi revamped one of their SUVs," she said. "I think they wanted to rebrand themselves as an SUV and then they wanted to make sure their customers were happy with what they were getting."

Among the changes are to the electronic power steering, enhanced front suspension calibration, enhanced seating comfort, a better navigation system and improved graphics to display audio.

unparalleled refinement

Duncan Stewart, director of Stewart's Automotive Group, dealers of Mitsubishi, noted that Stewart's was into its 77th year of operations and was still going strong because of the strong culture of service and fine products.

"We are especially proud of the amazing new 2016 Outlander," he said. "This vehicle continues our tradition of offering unparalleled refinement in an SUV built for Jamaica's rugged conditions. So it rides nice as well as tough." It's been a good year for the Mitsubishi brand as Stewart noted they were up 19 per cent year-over-year from 2014, in what he called a flat market. The Outlander will compete with the Honda CR-V and the Toyota Rav4, but Hudson believes it will do well.

"It's a little bigger but ... we're still below them in price even though we're bigger," she said. Unfortunately, two shipments of Outlanders are already sold out, confirming Mitsubishi's belief that the vehicle will be a big seller. But Hudson assured that more were on the way by the end of July, though orders were already being made.

Starting price for the Outlander is $4.85 million. Sales representatives were on hand at the launch, looking to make deals with potential purchasers, offering attractive rates through Stewart's collaboration with Simpson Finance.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com