So, when I decided (at my Father’s suggestion) to consider Mitsubishi, I did some online research and found a few interesting things:
- Mitsubishi has a tiny market share in the United States (less than 1/2 of 1%). After several frustrating dealings with the Subaru dealer, I was willing to take a risk buying from a company with lesser sales volume and better customer service. Plus, that market share is growing, probably bolstered by customers like me who are sick of dealing with the “hard sell” from other competing brands.
- Mitsubishi is a giant company that makes everything from pens to huge construction vehicles (and lots of things in-between.) They have manufacturing down pat, and they are very solid in terms of reputation and serviceability—across their product categories. They manufacture, for example, the only pen that I have used for more than a decade.
- Because of the small market share, Mitsubishi needs to work hard—really hard—to gain customers. They are doing this by offering outstanding service and quality products at a fair price. Definitely a winning strategy for buyers, and like Subaru has done in the past, probably a way to gain marketshare in a marketplace that is dominated by same-old, same-old Ford, GM, and Toyota.
- Mitsubishi cars have a solid and allegiant following. Their range of offerings is slim, but folks seem to love them.
- Mitsubishi cars bear a striking resemblance to Subaru in terms of form factor, interior finish, and style. The internet abounds with rumors of a secret Mitsubishi-Subaru connection, and knowing that Daihatsu makes a fair number of GM badged vehicles, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some sort of connection. (I mean, Outback… Outlander; Legacy… Lancer, go figure.)
Despite these interesting factoids, one glaring issue remained: the Outlander Sport just didn’t have great reviews. Edmonds gave it a D, US News gave it a 6.9/10, Kelly gave it a 6.5/10, Car and Driver gave it a 2/5. But keep this in mind; those reviews are written by people who write reviews for a living. They compare hundreds of cars, and, at the end of the day, are the opinions of one person who drives the car for a day or two before penning the review. Moreover, the pro reviews focused overwhelmingly on odd metrics: the lack of chrome trim, the density of the foam in the seats, the quality of the sound system.
Where Mitsubishi and the Outlander Sport really shines is in the REVIEWS to those comments, they are from actual folks that OWN the car, and drive the cars every single day. These reviews focus on the nitty-gritty details of owning the Outlander: reliability, comfort, handling in different weather conditions, cost of ownership, durability, etc. The actual owner comments—across the board—are stellar.
So what matters more… the opinion of the pros or the actual owners?
Next up: The decision.