A few weeks ago, I took a short road trip across Alligator Alley in Florida to check out the best that Naples and Sarasota have to offer families. We had a great time exploring botanical gardens, splashing in the waves and helping a survey team catalog dolphins on-board the Dolphin Explorer.
Coming along with us on our journey was a 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander. This was my first experience with the Outlander (as well as with a Mitsubishi) and the car did very well as we made our way around Florida on both highways and far less-traveled roads, in good weather conditions and in rain storms.
Safety Comes First
What I noticed right away about the Outlander was the attention to detail when it came to safety, which is so important when traveling with little ones in the car. It had all the safety features you’d expect, like air bags (even a standard driver’s knee air bag), but the car we tested out had two unique features to me: a lane departure warning and rain-sensing wipers (both come with the optional SE touring package).
The lane departure warning automatically alerts the driver if and when the car begins to drift out of the lane. This is ideal for drowsy driving situations, certainly alerting the driver that it may be time to shut down for the night, or at the very least, get a cup of coffee. A separate forward collision mitigation system alerts the driver when the car gets a little too close to the car ahead of you, helping to avoid accidents (the system can also apply the brakes, though fortunately I did not need to test out this safety feature!).
The rain-sensing wipers were a nice safety feature too to ensure the driver always has a clear view from the windshield. What a great feature to have in Florida, in particular, when you never know when you’ll be hit by a pop-up storm. Thank you, Mitsubishi, for such well thought out safety features.
Given the high emphasis on safety, it’s no surprise that a) the Outlander is the best rated crossover vehicle in its class and b) it’s so safe that Mitsubishi launched a cute web series called #FirstRide that documents New York City moms and dads bringing home their newborns in a Mitsubishi Outlander (seriously, try to watch the #FirstRide overview video and not to get misty). There a few other videos that showcase the stories of the Poulin family, Arty family and Ortiz family.
Plenty of Room to Move
In addition to safety considerations, I liked that the Mitsubishi Outlander had lots of space, which you know is critical when traveling with children. I’m always partial to a rear armrest (with cup holders!) right down the middle to create an even divide between two kids in the back seat. The kid had lots of room to move around and there was a big area in the back for our suitcases.
There’s an extra row of seats too, so the Outlander can fit seven people comfortably. However, you’d have a tough time road tripping with extra people and extra luggage. You’ll need to choose one or the other before you get on your way. There’s a lot of room, but there are understandable limitations given the size of the car (it’s a good size SUV, but it’s certainly not the size of a minivan).
It’s the Little Things
Something else I noticed about the Mitsubishi Outlander is all the little details that make the drivers and passengers more comfortable and convenienced, like someone was looking out for them. Among a few of my favorites:
Heated side-view mirrors. It’s never easy to de-ice the mirrors with an ice scraper, so it’s nice to see that you don’t need to, that the car will melt the ice for you.
Heated front seats. With this winter still fresh in mind, heated front seats are mandatory. I love that this feature has become standard on many cars.
Front dual-zone climate control. Now that my ten-year-old is able to sit in the front seat of the car, I feel like I have less control, but at least I still have control over the temperature of my side of the car.
Bluetooth hands-free phone system. This feature is a must when you have kids in the car. No need to fumble with your phone to make a call or answer the phone. Just press a button to take a call.
12-volt accessory outlets. You know the second your child gets into the car he’s going to tell you that his iPod is almost out of power. Thank goodness he can re-charge from inside the car.
Underfloor cargo area storage. I personally liked this feature because I could store and hide my purse while at the beach. I didn’t need to worry that someone would peer into my car to see my belongings.
The Mitsubishi Outlander comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, as well as a roadside assistance plan for the first five years. Again, this is ideal when kids are in the car. Safety needs to be a priority and the Outlander makes it so.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE to test drive during our road trip for the purposes of this review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.