Outlander2009MITSUBISHI VS Forester2009SUBARU



The needs and preferences of consumers are constantly changing. The effect can be seen in every industry; but, perhaps it most noticeable in the auto industry where you can see older models and styles being driven side-by-side with more updated examples. One of the more extreme examples of the changing needs and tastes of auto buyers would be the sudden demand for extremely large sport utility vehicles in North America. At one time, the Ford Excursion was the largest of these vehicles and was nearly 5,800 mm in length and weighed in at 3,487 kg. That trend came and went in a few years, but the need for an SUV remained. In response automakers began to test compact utility vehicles, also known as crossovers. These vehicles feature all of the aspects of an SUV, but are built on a car chassis. This set up allows them to offer the larger stance, extra space in the passenger compartment and the cargo storage of an SUV while offering improved fuel economy and the ease of parking needed for crowded metropolitan areas.

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In Japan, the need for a crossover is more pronounced than it is in many other markets. Between the limited space for parking in the metropolitan areas and government regulations, the immense proportions of a full-size SUV are not practical for the average driver. Every automaker in the Japanese auto market offers a crossover or a CUV; however, two of the best examples are the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Subaru Forester.

Mitsubishi introduced the Outlander to the Japanese market in 2001 as the Mitsubishi AirTrek. The first generation was closely based on the Mitsubishi ASX(Active Sport Crossover) concept vehicle. The intent of the design was to retain the higher ground clearance and four-wheel drive of an off-road capable SUV, but feature better emissions and fuel economy. The Subaru Forester was introduced to the Japanese market in 1997 and has always shared a platform with the popular Subaru Impreza. As with the Outlander, the Forester offers a taller stance and four-wheel drive, but is much more eco-friendly than any full-size SUV. Both vehicles are similar in size, performance, and safety features. There are so many positive aspects to each vehicle, making it difficult to choose one over the other. The best solution is to perform a side-by-side comparison with the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander vs. the 2009 Subaru Forester.


Both the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander and the 2009 Subaru Forester are respected by professional reviewers as well as current and former owners. Each vehicle will comfortably seats five adult passengers, but the Outlander offers a third row of seating in higher trim levels. Each crossover will deliver the fuel efficiency that buyers have come to expect from the compact crossover vehicle class. As a buyer walks around either vehicle they will note a proud, perhaps noble, stance. Both have styling that is clearly aggressive, a look that demands open spaces to tackle. Admittedly, the Mitsubishi Outlander is a bit more refined and aerodynamic appearing.

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Once inside the vehicles, potential buyers will note a plethora of creature comforts and superior styling. Neither company has tried to skimp on materials or refinements! The 2009 Outlander's interior has been called ''solid, and the design is attractive'' by U.S News says the ''spacious interior and comfortable seats make it a good choice for anyone looking for a practical vehicle'' when referring to the 2009 Forester. Both the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander and the 2009 Subaru Forester are five-door hatchbacks. Each production line is powered by strong four-cylinder engines that can be paired to a variety of transmission options. As you can see, these CUVs have many similarities. In fact, you may be wondering if there are any distinguishing differences between them. To that end, we will break down those differences in detail below.

Interior Comparison

OUTLANDER's Interior

The 2009 model is part of the second generation of the Outlander, replacing the AirTrek in the Japanese market. 2009 saw the introduction of a folding third row of seating in some markets, giving the Outlander greater flexibility for passenger room or cargo space depending on an owner's needs. Overall, the build quality of the Outlander is attractive and comfortable. Some reviewers have said that Mitsubishi incorporated a few plastics that feel cheap, but that is a purely subjective observation. One common complaint about the 2009 Outlander is that it lacks a telescoping steering wheel, detracting from its comfort and ergonomics.

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Modern buyers evaluate a vehicle's technology as a strong selling point. To that end, Mitsubishi included a six-speaker CD stereo, cruise control, a trip computer, full power accessories and reclining rear seats on the base models. As you upgrade through the various trim levels alloy wheels, heated side view mirrors, roof rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls, 457 mm wheels, remote keyless ignition and entry, fabric sport seats, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, automatic climate control, and a hard-drive-based navigation system become available.

FORESTER's Interior

The 2009 Subaru Forester is part of the third generation that was designed by Mamoru Ishii. Mr. Ishii placed an emphasis on a more stylish interior than the outgoing generation, but retained an ease of function. The end result is an interior featuring eye-catching contours and flowing lines that accentuate the Forester's straightforward controls. The third generation is slightly larger than its predecessor, allowing for a roomier, more comfortable passenger area. Unlike the Outlander, the Forester does not offer a third row of seating, but has retained a larger cargo area.

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The X trim package is the base offering for the 2009 Subaru Forester. It includes 406 mm steel wheels, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories and a CD audio system. As you progress to the XS trim level, options include 432 mm alloy wheels, fog lights, a rear spoiler, a sunroof, a tilt/telescoping steering column, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, reclining rear seats and a six-CD changer. The trim level is the XT, which can include heated mirrors, automatic climate control, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The top trim levels can be equipped with a navigation system. Special edition models can offer additional options.

Exterior Comparison

OUTLANDER's Exterior

The Outlander offers a more rounded, nearly fluid body. The second generation seems to embody a desire for aggressiveness while meeting all of the needs for a seven passenger vehicle. Designed with families in mind, the Outlander is built on Mitsubishi's RISE safety body, allowing it to perform at the top of its class in safety testing. One of the most unique features of the Outlander is the ''Flap-Fold Tailgate''. This is two-piece tailgate that is integrated as part of the rear bumper. The top half raises for quick access, but the lower half folds down for easy loading. The lower half can be used for sitting or resting a load and is capable of holding up to 180 kg.

FORESTER's Exterior

When Subaru introduced the third generation of the Forester many exterior changes were made, most notable were the changes in size. The 2009 Forester incorporates the basic body of an Impreza wagon, but has the rear platform of a North American-spec Impreza sedan. The wheelbase has increased 89 mm, length has been increased by 76 mm, width has been bumped up by 46 mm, and the height of the Forester has been increased by110 mm. The 2009 model uses a sloped roof and eliminates the frameless side windows that Subaru has featured since the 1970s. The overall result is a more attractive crossover that offers increased space in the passenger cabin as well as added room for cargo.

Driving Experience

OUTLANDER's Driving Experience

Crossovers were meant to be family vehicles to get multiple people from Point A to Point B. The 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander goes quite a long way toward breaking that stereotype of being classified as a mere transport. Drivers will find a well-tuned chassis, well rounded steering, and nice response from the accelerator, especially in the units with the larger 2359 cc engine. The models equipped with this engine have the Japanese model code DBA-CW5W. The engine is paired to a CVT and can be found in front-wheel drive or full-time four-wheel drive. The FF models offer 12.6 km/l while the AWD units offer 12.2 km/l. Overall, the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander offers a fun driving experience with an amazing amount of driver feedback.

FORESTER's Driving Experience

The 2009 Subaru Forester offers a great driving experience in urban areas and on straight roads. The comfort of the Forester shines in an urban environment. The suspension has accurate steering, easy to reach controls, and an excellent driver position within the vehicle. The overall effect is a refined driving experience and strong urban character. The 2009 Forester is powered by a single engine in the Japanese market and is given the Japanese model code DBA-SH5. Despite the limited engine options, buyers can find vehicles with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual and all models feature the full-time four-wheel drive that Foresters are famous for. Fuel economy ranges from 12.2 km/l with the automatic transmission to 13.0 km/l from the five-speed manual equipped units.


Side-by-side, the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander and the 2009 Subaru Forester are quite comparable to one another.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander offer additional seating, giving owners the opportunity to seat up to seven people. The Outlander also has a larger engine in the DBA-CW5W units, giving it a better response from the accelerator. The 2009 Subaru Forester comes out ahead by offering a more comfortable interior and slightly better fuel economy in the units equipped with a manual transmission. The Forester also offers a great deal more cabin and cargo space. While a Forester can only seat a maximum of five people, they will sit in comfort on a stable chassis. Both vehicles meet Japanese government requirements for size and engine displacement, so do not require additional taxes.

Overall, the 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander is the better vehicle for drivers who prefer a responsive driving experience and require the third row of seating for a growing family. The 2009 Subaru Forester is the better vehicle for buyers who need to transport up to five people on a regular basis without the aggravation of the complicated rear folding seat of the Outlander. We do not wholeheartedly endorse one over the other, but you can now make a better informed decision while shopping for your next vehicle.

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