Aretha Franklin knocked it out of the park with her hit song that was recorded 46 years ago this past week in New York City. Otis Redding wrote “Respect” from the perspective of a desperate man, but Aretha turned the ballad into that of a strong, confident woman that knows that she provides what her man wants. She modified the lyrics somewhat with the addition of the R-E-S-P-E-C-T spelling, as well as the “sock it to me” refrain by backup singers near the end of the song. It is number five on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, and it earned Franklin two Grammy awards in 1968.
Mitsubishi Motors is attempting to earn a little respect in the U. S. automobile market with cars such as the one I tested last week, a Rally Red Outlander Sport SE four-wheel drive compact crossover. The Tokyo-based manufacturer has existed since 1917 and is the sixteenth largest in the world. It has weaved in and out of ownership arrangements with several suitors such as Daimler, Volvo, Chrysler and several Chinese firms. But U.S. sales peaked about ten years ago, and Mitsubishi is relying on acceptance of vehicles such as the Outlander Sport to maintain a foothold in this country.
I actually liked the car pretty well, and was not too shocked to step into it after just concluding a test of a $64,000 luxury crossover. Its M.S.R.P. was $28,570, including freight ($825), a premium package ($2,050), and a navigation system ($2,000). Positives included the styling, nimble handling, and comfortable black cloth bucket seats. The premium items were a panoramic glass roof with LED mood lighting, roof rails, backup camera, and Rockford-Fosgate 9-speaker stereo with a ten inch subwoofer located in the rear. Of course it had power locks/windows/mirrors, heated seats, satellite radio, tilt/telescope, cruise, and auto climate control. It had seating for five and 21.7 cubic feet of cargo room behind the back seat. A proximity key arrangement, pushbutton start, and console-mounted emergency brake were items that pleased me, as usual.
Powering the Outlander is a 4 cylinder, 2.0 liter, 148 horsepower DOHC engine rated at 24 mpg-city and 29 mpg-highway (15.8 gallon tank). Behind it is a continuously variable gearless transmission that has paddle shifters on the steering column for sport motoring. The car is not overly powerful, but the paddles saved the day. Four-wheel drive is selected on the fly with a console-mounted button.
I mentioned the styling, which was enhanced with 18” bright alloy, eight-spoke wheels, a bold grill arrangement, a spoiler, and deep-tint rear windows. At the rear was a chrome exhaust finisher and dual fog lights were attractively arranged on the front of the car.
Mitsubishi has managed to put together a vehicle worthy of respect with their Outlander Sport SE. The car didn’t “sock it to me” in any way, but I did like it, would own one, and had a pleasurable week driving it around.