APRIL 2015
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Test-drive stories by NITISH S. RELE, motoringtampabay@gmail.com

2014 Toyota 4RUNNER TRAIL PREMIUM 4X4 After a major redesign in 2012 and some tweaks last year, the 2015 Odyssey returns with its status quo intact. The minivan retains a sole 3.5- liter i-VTEC V-6 engine, which puts out 248 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. The Variable Cylinder Management system deactivates three or four of the cylinders at lower speeds to enhance the up to eight-passenger vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Ensconced on the unit-body structure (with black-trimmed headlights and grille, muscular hood, body-color side mirrors and fog lamps) is a MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension to take the edge off most bumps and rough surfaces on the road. The accurate variable power rack-and-pinion steering provides a firm on-center response.

The front-wheel-drive Odyssey starts at $28,975. Mid-level Odyssey goes for around $35,775. And if you can afford to and pick the top-level Touring Elite ($44,600), you will travel like royalty with power-sliding rear doors, leather seats, 16.2-inch ultra-wide DVD split screen for rear-seat passengers, 650-watt audio system, wide-angle rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control and 10-way power front seats. And the cool box under the dashboard, which can keep your beverages cold while the a/c is on.

With the Odyssey, you get a solid and complete package of generous power, worthy fuel economy and hands-on interior. Lest we forget, the minivan is backed by Honda’s immaculate reputation for durability and dependability. What else can one ask for in a people-hauler?




In the 2016 Outlander, Mitsubishi is touting a refined crossover utility vehicle that will have more than 100 engineering and design improvements. Till then, we believe this year’s model should suffice for those who seek adequate acceleration in a solid, safe ride.

Our SE trim was equipped with a 2.4-liter, inline-4 cylinder engine developing 166 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 162 pounds-feet of torque @ 4200 rpm. Getting power to the ground is a somewhat noisy Continuous Variable Transmission.

Step inside and you will notice that the leatherette/fabric front and rear 60/40 fold-down seats offer sufficient head and leg room. Several amenities are offered such as dual auto climate control, tilt/telescopic leather steering column and shifter knob, HD radio, driver information center, Fuse hands-free system for cell phones, 140-watt audio system and a rear seat armrest with two cup holders.

No doubt, the four-cylinder Outlander is lacking in power and, as a result, manages just a passable performance. However, it makes up for the deficit with generous cargo and passenger space (though the third-row 50/50 seat is quite tight), good fuel mileage (our mixed driving average was 28) and a price that’s competitive in the CUV market.


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