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Sticky Shift
  The Statesman | November 16, 2008  


AUTOMOBILE experts predict — and not without basis — that India will become Asia’s SUV hub in a decade or so. All leading SUV manufacturers have introduced their models in India. Admired brands like Ford Endeavor, Honda CRV, Chevrolet Travera, Hyundai Terracan and Toyota Innova have enjoyed roaring sales in the recent past.

There has been a perceptible shift in the attitude of car owners of late. With the widening of highways more and more people are embarking on long tours to remote and uncommon places. The Indian Institute of Psychiatry in a recent survey showed that professionals with hectic schedules prefer road travel. SUVs are a common sight on highways these days. They are safe and are ideal for long trips. The demand for SUVs has skyrocketed since the introduction of Tata Sumo in the mid 1980s. Because Sumo combined brute power with superb comfort it enjoyed considerable commercial success. It forced rival Indian jeep manufacturers to upgrade their products.

Mitsubishi Outlander is a classic vehicle which more than just fits the bill. Fitted with a 2.4 litre 16 valve Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing and Electronic Control System petrol engine, the vehicle is a storehouse of power. High ground clearance ensures it can be taken on any terrain — highways, hilly tracks, craggy village roads. The undercarriage remains safe however deplorable the terrain. The all-wheel-control ensures safety and security in addition to making driving more comfortable. The highly sensitive steering wheel adds to driving pleasure: it can be easily parked in a congested zone. Powerful shock absorbers ensure a jerk-free ride. It is impossible to gauge the speed of the vehicle with the windows up and the AC on. The dual-stage front, co-passenger airbags, automatic climate control, reverse parking sensors, cruise control, multi-information display system and security alarm guarantee added safety.

Passengers would seldom feel claustrophobic thanks to brilliant interior space utilisation. Outlander’s split tailgate with the park bench easily accommodates two adults, and the remote folding rear seats can be tumbled from the tailgate when loading large items at the touch of a button. For music lovers the vehicle comes fitted with customised speakers and a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate music system. Sound blocking and vibration-absorbing devices enable high quality sound reproduction inside the car.

The vehicle comes in seven vibrant colours — cascade white, silver dew, sunrise yellow, river blue, pasture green, new moon black and twilight red. A perfect example of Mitsubishi’s engineering perfection and elegance, Outlander is ideal for those looking for a premium class SUV.

Disillusioned with motoring reviews penned by so-called specialists who test vehicles in ideal conditions and go on about torque when all you want to know is if the vehicle is as good as advertised? Here’s your chance. If you own a car or a two-wheeler, write in to us with your experience. Tell us if the vehicle performs as you were led to believe, whether you are satisfied with the service back-up provided by the manufacturer. But to ensure manufacturers don’t sneak in puff pieces, or competitors don’t misuse this column, do please send us a copy of your registration book along with your article. Send your submissions to the Assistant Editor, Features, The Statesman, Statesman House, 4, Chowringhee Square, Kolkata — 700 001.)

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