CUV’s are nothing more than oversized station wagons on stilts. If you think about it– and not many American motorists have– CUV’s don’t work like a truck OR handle like a car. I wouldn’t say they’re the worst of both worlds, but others have. In fact, the modern CUV may just be a marketing-driven gimmick designed to take one last shot at emigrating gas guzzlers before they get down from their perch and do something really sensible, like buy a car. No wonder Mitsubishi’s website says the Outlander doesn’t like labels any more than I do.
This website has consistently and persistently lambasted The Big 2.5 for depending on fleet sales to keep the factories churning. As reported here and elsewhere, Detroit has finally responded to industry criticism that cranking-out sub-par transportation for fleet consumption drags down vehicle quality, resale value and image. They’ve sworn off rental car crack. Gradually, eventually, they’ll leave Alamo, Hertz, Avis, etc. behind and take their chances on the dealer’s lot. All of which makes room for… the Mitsubishi Galant!
There’s an industrial road outside Chicago that has more Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions per square mile than anywhere but the factory in Mizushima, Japan. There’s the drag race shop with several 600+hp, carbon- paneled versions vying for space. There’s the tuner shop where literally dozens of Evos flock to dyno. And there’s the rally shop that is widely considered the finest American skunkworks for this type of car. And as I stand in that shop, my own flame-spitting Evo IV rally car sitting on the hoist behind me, I stare at a brand-new charcoal Evo IX MR – the even-higher-performance-spec version – that has only 70 miles on it. And the perfect impression of a tree trunk, molded into the passenger’s side.
It's been a while since I've driven a death car. My mind casts back to tail-happy 911's, centrifugal Corvettes, terrifying TVR's and flaming Ferraris. These days, very few car companies build cars that seduce you into serious speed, then blow up, fall apart, flip over and/or throw you into a solid object. I reckon I've survived enough motorized mayhem to know a death machine when I Ford GT one. So I was a little surprised when I turned at a four-way intersection, squeezed the gas and nearly drove the new Mitsubishi Eclipse GT into a parked car.
Torque steer. It's that squirrelly squirming sensation that tells you that a front-wheel-drive car's driven wheels are desperately scrabbling for grip. The Mitsubishi Eclipse GT is a torque steer poster child. Feed the Eclipse's 263hp engine some major revs and mid-course corrections are instantly out of the question– and that's WITH traction control. All you can do is saw away at the steering wheel, back off the gas and wait for the tires to grab enough tarmac to return you to normal programming.