Tween Approved: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a Go!

Tween Approved: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a Go!

Disclosure: I am not a car person; I don’t review cars for a living.  But I am a mom who is concerned about the safety of her family, is budget conscience and also takes pride in have a cool “mom-mobile. ”  All opinions and views with regard to this car review, the company that loaned it to me and the vehicle manufacturer are entirely mine and were not influenced, edited or even reviewed by the companies prior to posting. 

Last week, I test drove the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE and it couldn’t have come at a better time: Lulu had a day off of school and it was up to me to plan something cool to do that day.  Last year, Lulu’s class had gone on a field trip to the Chicago History Museum and I left feeling like we had been rushed and needed more time to explore the exhibits and gain some appreciation of our home town.  (Coincidently, since I was test driving the car, it would also be a great excuse to drive the car on the highway, in the rain and determine if it was, in fact, “kid friendly.”)  As I only have one child, I decided that I needed to “rent” two more, Lila and Madison, and thus fill the car’s back seat with wiggly, screaming, sometimes singing 10-year-olds.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE

“We Like The Color!”

Armed with their American Girl dolls to keep them company, my test drivers were up to the challenge of evaluating the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.  Of course, the color of the car was their primary concern and these 10-year-olds gave it a thumbs up.  One girl commented that “I’m not sure if there will be enough room for my dolls and us.”  (There was.)  So in they climbed and fortunately there were three headrests and three 5-point seat belts.  This meant that everyone would be secured in the car equally and safely. (Check one for the Mitsubishi Outlander.)  Actually, as the day progressed, this turned out to be a very good feature because the two girls sitting on opposite sides of the car got into a fight and the middle child was able to keep them separated by the mere fact that her seat belt restricted each of the girls from lunging over each other.  (They are a very spirited bunch).  Also, I was a bit concerned about the seemingly lack of cargo space.  But, as the week progressed and I bought groceries, collected sports equipment and other school related items, I found that the cargo space actually met my needs.  Note: Also the front seat warmers were nice to have, but the switches were hidden and my husband had to point them out to me.  

As we pulled out of the driveway, I explained to my pre-teen passengers, that I was testing out this car for the week and I wanted their honest opinions about the car, the ride, the sound system and anything else that came to mind as we drove downtown.  Lila commented that she thought it was fun to watch the reverse mirror on the console while we were backing up and that “it’s a nice feature.  That way you don’t have to worry about getting into an accident.”  Lulu liked the panoramic glass roof but didn’t like the fact that we couldn’t open it and she also thought that the LED lights were a bit “cheesy.”  Personally, I found them to be distracting particularly when the roof was exposed while I was driving at night.  But, while driving home from the museum, all three girls were lulled into silence (and then sleep) while they watched the world go by via the glass roof instead of just looking out the windows.

Mitsubishi-Outlander_Sport_2011_800x600_wallpaper_4c

As we drove through the driving rain, the car handled well but seemed to lack some pick-up or power.  I actually didn’t feel like I was driving a SUV.   Yes, it was comfortable but I didn’t get the “zippy”  SUV feel that I am used driving my old car.  Also there are a lot of windows in the car, but I felt like the manufacturers could have designed the back windshield better.  It felt a bit small to me.

My passengers (and adopted daughters for the day) didn’t complain about the lack of speed.  They were too enamored with the INTENSE sound system and the huge speakers in the cargo space!   The girls continually ordered me to “crank it up!” but, to be quite honest, I was afraid all that bass would shatter the windows.

Note the giant speakers!

Note the giant speakers!

As a music lover,  I like to listen to a variety of tunes while I drive but I couldn’t figure out how to use and then program the stereo. Somehow the user has to switch between the different sources (GPS, MP3, Sirius, AM/FM etc) which takes some time, and requires the driver to take her eyes off the road (or pull over.)  I didn’t feel that the steering wheel controls improved my ability to drive and manage the music or GPS.    Also finding stations on the built-in Sirius/XM satellite radio system was really a challenge. To load CDs or DVDs, the display faceplate sort of  swings down and detaches itself from the unit. (Very odd looking.)  I originally thought that I had broken the stereo. I also struggled with connecting and then programming the navigation system.  I did, eventually, figure out how to use the GPS but never quite got a handle on the other components of the sound system and user interface.

All in all, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE was a decent and seemingly solid car. But for the MSRP of $23,695 (with basic options), its combined MPG of 26 and general lack of exciting features, I wasn’t overly impressed with the car.   My fellow reviewers enjoyed being in the car and felt that there was PLENTY of space even if Adam was riding in the back seat (i.e. lots of room for tall people.)  From the driver’s seat. I felt that the car handled well (especially in the driving rain.)  All-in-all, I felt that it if you are looking for a solid, reliable ride you can’t go wrong with the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE but for a mom who is used to a lot of power and a sun roof that opens, this wasn’t the best choice of car for me.

 

Make MLK Day More Than Just A Day Off Of Work

Make MLK Day More Than Just A Day Off Of Work

mlk-day-2013

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:
What Are You Doing For Others?

Monday, January 21, 2013 is a Federal holiday and marks the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Not so shockingly, both my husband and daughter are off of work and school.  This may come as a surprise to both of them, but we are not spending this day in the same way we spent their winter breaks: sleeping in, playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for who has to clean up the dog-poop in the backyard and playing video games. This year, we are going to do something meaningful with the day and serve our community.

According to The Corporations for National and Community Service and The King Center, “People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are encouraged to serve on King Day, and to make the day the beginning of an ongoing commitment to a cause that is meaningful to them and address a need in their communities.”

Since the title of this blog is “A WINDY CITY MOMMA” I thought that I would come up with a good list of things to do in the Chicagoland area where we might find some of our friends volunteering their time too.

In Highland Park, IL: The Multi-Generational Celebration at the Highland Park Recreation Center from 10 am to 1 pm.  (1207 Park Ave West Highland Park IL.) The Highland Park event will feature the following activities & opportunities:

  1. Aaron Freeman, radio commentator, comedian, and author will be giving his comedic twist to MLK’s Dream from 10:30-11:15
  2.  Edgewood Middle School Chorus will sing songs of freedom – 10:00am-10:30am
  3. Decorate a canvas tote bag and donate a gently used picture book or easy reader to place inside. The book bags will be given to the North Shore Health Clinic for distribution to their young patients
  4. Assemble toiletries for local shelters
  5. Decorate squares for Project Linus quilts going to hospitalized children
  6. Color flowers and make flower pots for Highland Park Hospital
  7. Write letters to soldiers and children of the military (Hero Packs)
  8. Braeside PTO: Make Valentine’s for soldiers (Operation Support Our Troops)
  9. Reach for Change: Color paper dolls to raise awareness about the devastation that has occurred because of the Genocide in Darfur and throughout Africa
  10. Nurture: A non-profit dedicated to improving the nutrition and health of limited resource families. Participants will help scoop non-perishable soup ingredients into bags which they will label and include recipes for the Moraine Twp. Food Bank.
  11. North Shore Health Clinic will have information on their services and offer Blood Sugar screenings
  12. Heller Nature Center will make garland wreaths
  13. Highwood Fire Dept. will provide Fire Safety coloring books & CPR demonstrations
  14. Puppy Mill Project: Make flannel dog toys to donate to Tails of Hope—a no kill shelter.

And several other activities including story reading, decorating flip flops for youth in India and an activity by the Rotary Club of Highland Park & Highwood. Truly, there is something for everyone!

City of Chicago: This year, the City of Chicago is partnering with Jean De Lafayette Elementary School.  Over 500 volunteers from across the city will come together to transform and beautiful Lafayette with murals, painting, and construction projects.

Details for the following Chicago activities can also be found at the following site: createthegood.org

  • Cooking Matters Illinois Hosts A Shopping Matters Training Tour (3333 South Iron Street, Chicago, IL 60608 – January 19, 2013)  Continuing a tradition the First Family began four years ago, Inauguration weekend will begin with a National Day of Service on Saturday, January 19th that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Volunteers across the country are organizing service events in all 50 states

 

If you are out and about in Chicago, here are some of the activities I found thanks to chicagoparent.com: (*Note: Not all of the dates are 1/21.  Some of these activities occur over the weekend)

I am so excited for all of the activities occurring in honor of Dr. King!  Even though the weather might be frightfully cold this weekend, getting involved by volunteering your time and  learning about Dr. King’s legacy may hit the spot and at least warm your heart (if not your hands!)