Who doesn’t have a soft spot for an automaker who shares their name with an 80s Quebecois poptart? I’m talking about none other than Mitsubishi, affectionately known as Mitsu. Remember “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy?” And you thought you were hip, listening to Rick Astley.
Fast forward to 2013, when the current Mitsubishi Outlander GT not only packs a 227 horsepower engine, but a mittful of active safety features. When I heard it had adaptive cruise control, I just had to check it out. And it did not disappoint.
Sauntering along the 401, I set the cruise control to a comfortable speed – plus the number of car lengths I wanted between myself and the vehicle in front of me. Then, I turned on the radio, surfing through the way cool channels. (No Quebecois disco stations – that might have been too much fun.)
I should mention here that the radio on the centre stack of my 2013 Outlander GT featured actual buttons – real knobs, that you can turn with your fingers instead of having to blindly grope along a touchscreen somewhere outside your comfort zone. Okay, there were controls on the steering wheel as well, but still. Buttons and knobs. How they warmed my 80s heart.
Although my feet sat sentinel by the gas and brake pedals, thanks to the adaptive cruise control, they could slack off. The Outlander slowed down all by itself when the car in front slowed down, and then sped up accordingly. Traffic ebbs and flows at the best of times on the 401, and the adaptive cruise control got quite a workout. It saved the day even when a loutish truck cut me off at an exit ramp. The Outlander braked smoothly, keeping a good two cars’ distance between us. To say it felt otherworldly and surreal is an understatement. More like the vehicle had been possessed by some highly trained motoring extraterrestrial. Almost in a trance, I watched the speedometer needle go up – and down.
On top of which, the lane departure warning kicked in with a sharp beep, if I dared wander out of my lane without using the turn signal. It was not unlike having my mother riding shotgun. The dash even warned me if there was likely to be ice or snow! What was next – a scolding to button up my overcoat?!
Oh, the handy gadgets on this machine. The rear liftgate opened automatically, and from quite a distance. If I’d wanted to squire an extra half dozen people around to show off the adaptive cruise control and other fun features, I could have just flipped up an extra two seats in the back.
Now, the Mitsu had a forward collision mitigation feature that I didn’t really want to test. This causes the car to brake completely if it gets too close to another vehicle in front. Not that I didn’t trust the system, which was obedient to a fault – I just didn’t want to push my luck.
Otherwise, the Outlander was a hoot and a half. Cruising around town with the radio on Siriusly Sinatra, schlepping groceries and swag to my heart’s delight, and, best of all, an Eco mode to save on fuel. I averaged about 8 L/100 km, which was pretty decent for a moderately sized SUV with a six banger. Furthermore, it was comfy, and as peppy and attentive as a cocker spaniel.
We took one last swing down the 401, and I wistfully engaged the adaptive cruise control one more time, letting the Mitsu do all the work.
Bye bye, mon cowboy.
Bye bye, Mitsu.