Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Yes, it’s been a year since the Pandemic hit us globally and changed the narrative of how we live and interact with one another. Yet, if you are smart, diligent, and precautionary, then there are possibilities of venturing out for a long weekend to tame anxiety. So I did just that recently in Midtown Miami to capture much-needed Vitamin D, enjoy the eclectic imagination of the Wynwood Miami Arts District, discover new vegan culinary, and test drive the redeveloped 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander family SUV.
I had not been to Miami in two years now and began to feel the fervor of the culture, the weather, and the rooftop tennis courts. However, instead of the mundane routine of lounging in South Beach, Mitsubishi hosted us in Midtown Miami at the rejuvenating Hyde Hotel and Residences, which featured one of the best gyms I have ever worked out in and a pool that would have Michael Phelps envious. I flew in from Maryland on a Sunday to relax and detox before saddling up in the 2022 Outlander (priced from $25,795) that is not only endowed with rugged capabilities for the adventurous types, but is also larger, wider, more authentic, and additionally resilient than the model it replaces. Furthermore, the Japanese SUV looks so good that media program guests were all wondering what took Mitsubishi so long to restore its eminence from the days of the Diamante and Montero.
Families, couples, or friends will undoubtedly love the surrounding areas outside of the Hyde after sunbathing or preparing breakfast in your suite’s kitchenette. Lively, outside seated cafes, fashionable shopping, and museums are just a stone’s throw away. My morning routine included exercising in the well-sanitized gym, writing on the patio, and researching interesting places to visit for the day like Charly’s Vegan Tacos and Love Life Café for some of the most endearing plant-based foods the city has to offer. Thus, the most exciting destination would be a drive to Everglades National Park in my Mercury Gray Metallic Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC three-row SUV for a waterfront lunch.
The following morning the crew met at Grove Studios on SW 28th Lane for a presentation of Mitsubishi’s flagship vehicle. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine is embraced by stellar visualization that translates to one of the best-looking SUVs for the 2022 model year. Mitsubishi says that the design ethos manifested from “I-Fu-Do-Do,” which means “authentic and majestic” in Japanese. Before this, I have not given the Outlander any initial thoughts whatsoever because it didn’t speak to me or offer any substantial benefits to my lifestyle. A chiseled body, aggressive “Dynamic Shield” grille, tall, robotic headlamps, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, and dazzling 20” two-tone alloy rims immediately caught my attention. Its Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) AWD system with six drive modes ($1,800) has also been upgraded for added confidence whether riding in adverse weather or venturing through Everglades National Park. It’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States to witness wildlife such as the Florida panther, imperiled leatherback turtle, or West Indian manatee.
The drive to the Everglades would be about 90-minutes from our location. But don’t expect much from the scenery until you arrive. Thankfully, Outlander’s black/orange cabin was comfortable and ripe with the latest technologies and connectivity features. A few things to clap about are the sliding 2nd-row, double-pained windows for noise reduction, genuine aluminum trim, surround-view cameras, window shades, knobs on the 12.3” touchscreen infotainment system (9” standard), dynamic navigation graphics, and even window wipers that eject fluid directly from the wiper blades. Power from the 2.5-liter and 8-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Sport mode was on point, especially when I utilized the paddle shifters. It also doesn’t whine like many CVTs I’ve driven. Expect 24 city, 31 highway, and 27 combined fuel economy during the drive if you have the 2WD Outlander.
Upon arrival, I reveled in the allure of my environmental surroundings and enjoyed the quiet beauty of it all. We had lunch on the water, and then many experienced a boat ride on the Everglades. Other diverse activities here include biking, bird watching, camping, hiking, ranger programs, and canoe and kayaking within the 2,400 square miles! I could have stayed there all day for multiple days, so I have vowed to return with my wife and daughters. After a few hours, it was time to head back to the hustle and bustle of civilization. On the return, I was at peace and, rightfully so, connected to Wireless Apple CarPlay to play my reggae through the excellent 10-speaker BOSE audio system. Next, I actuated MI-PILOT Assist to aid with the Outlander’s driving duties. The system combines Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Traffic Sign Recognition to steady your vehicle within the lanes, maintain a specified distance from the car ahead, and also maintain the speed that the driver predetermines.
After returning to the Hyde, I cleaned up and headed out for a 1-mile walk to the Wynwood Miami Arts District to snap photos of the vibrant, impactful, and reflective art there, including the Wynwood Walls. There is a defining vibe for every connoisseur of street art, from George Floyd and Kobe Bryant murals to Japanese geisha paintings. I worked up an appetite and picked up a stash of jackfruit tacos and BBQ vegan pizza in the same area. Then, I stumbled upon Sneaker Buyers and scooped up a pair of Jordan 3s for the girls and me. There is nothing like returning home with one of their favorite pair of kicks. I certainly look forward to replicating the scenario with my family and a week-long test drive of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander after school is out.