The Mitsubishi Outlander is an average compact SUV. It doesn’t really stand out in any category but its blend of affordability, utility, and safety may be just right for some prospective buyers. It’s the second most affordable three-row SUV behind the Dodge Journey and offers more features for the money.Those looking for an engaging driving experience will be disappointed but the Mitsubishi delivers safe basic transportation for a budget-friendly sticker.
The Outlander is one of the few compact crossovers that offer a third row. With a low starting price and a “Top Safety Pick+” award, it’s attractive to families with a limited budget. Furthermore, it possesses one of the most advanced all-wheel-drive systems on the market and a spacious, quiet cabin. It suffers from substandard performance and a poor reliability record. Provided you live near one of the few Mitsubishi dealers in the US, the exceptional 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5 year, 60,0000 mile bumper to bumper warranty may make the purchase feasible.
The Outlander collects a 166 horsepower 2.4 Liter four cylinder mated to a continuously variable transmission in most trims. The GT trim picks up a 3 Liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Neither are particularly quick nor efficient, which presents a problem. Many are willing to sacrifice performance for fuel economy and vice versa. Instead of one or the other, you wind up with neither with the Mitsu. The EPA ratings are average at 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for the 4 cylinder, one less in each category for all-wheel control, and 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for the V6. However, many owners report real-world fuel economy well below these ratings as both engines require high revs to obtain necessary power.
Similar to the engine, the suspension makes compromises between performance and comfort that leave it providing neither. It rides firm yet the body still leans when cornering and dips forward when braking, disappointing from the makers of the Lancer Evo. Speaking of, the S-AWC all-wheel-drive system developed for the rally racer is found in this SUV. It’s one of the few systems we know of that employs a front limited slip differential, allowing the system superior control over the power to all wheels, not just front or rear. If you drive icy or snowy roads often, an Outlander with this system should make your short list. Otherwise, there are plenty of competitors that lend more dynamic performance for your dollar.
The Outlander’s interior is nothing special despite acquiring higher quality materials in the 2016 redesign. The headliner is low quality and even the optional leather is low grade rather than luxurious, we don’t think it’s worth the extra money. The soft-touch dash is a nice touch though the design is simple and subtle. Lumbar support isn’t available on any trim, so those with back issues should skip the Outlander. The second row reclines and affords plenty of room for tall passengers. We can’t say the same for the third row, which is best left to those under five and a half feet tall. At least the high seating position provides generous visibility from most angles, rearward visibility is impinged by the third-row head restraints. All new for 2017, the Outlander obtains a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
However, many owners complain of intermittent Bluetooth and USB tethering that undermines the system’s utility. Furthermore, the small screen makes the font difficult to read and the voice command function is limited. At least a rearview camera is standard, which mitigates the sub-par abaft vision. A 360-degree parking camera is available, impressive for this SUV’s price point. Perhaps the greatest improvement over previous models is the enhanced sound deadening. The cabin is as quiet as more expensive competitors, isolating occupants from wind and road noise. Cargo capacity is splendid at 63.3 cubic feet overall and 34.2 with the second row in use. With all rows in use, there’s just 10.3 but that’s to be expected in a compact SUV. For those on a strict budget, the Outlander supplies everything you need inside but you can procure a more refined SUV for a few thousand more.
The Outlander is a snazzy SUV that reminds us of the latest Honda CR-V. The front fascia is very similar, with a grille and front intake that contorts to the shape of the LED trimmed headlamps. Below, there are fog lights and a scuff plate that makes the Outlander look tough. The sides feature clean lines with a lower silver molding that matches the skid plate and the roof rails above. The rear features yet another silver scuff plate below modern LED tail lamps and a single chrome trim piece that match the chrome Mitsubishi badge. Even the lowest trim rocks 18-inch alloy wheels in a segment where many base models come with steel wheels. Higher trims receive different wheels, LED fog lights, different headlamps, and more aggressive body styling. The Outlander is a good-looking SUV for the money.
The National Highway Traffic Administration assigns the Outlander a 4-star overall safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety disagrees and submits extraordinary crashworthiness test results, with “GOOD” ratings across the board. Additionally, the available front crash prevention technology is rated “SUPERIOR,” the highest available. The Outlander is also a “Top Safety Pick+,” which means it’s one of safest SUVs on the market. The advanced driver assistance technology can only be added on the top two trims but it’s an impressive list with blind spot monitors, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision prevention. The latter will prevent or reduce the likelihood of a collision with a car in front of you by warning then applying the brakes if necessary. The Outlander is one of the safest three-row SUVs for the money but some more expensive competitors receive higher ratings.
JD Power extends a 2.5 out of 5 reliability rating to the Mitsubishi Outlander, while Consumer Reports offers a 3 out of 5 predicted reliability rating. Both indicate about average reliability when compared with other SUVs. The 2017 model has no open NHTSA recalls but the 2016 model has three. The first is for the CVT transmission that may hesitate to accelerate under “certain driving conditions.” The second is for lift gate supports that may fail, causing it to fall suddenly. The third is for inside door latches that may fail at high temperatures, causing the doors to open unexpectedly while the vehicle is in motion. As always, vehicles subject to recalls can have these issues resolved by dealers, free of charge. If you’re unsure as to whether the vehicle in question is affected, run the VIN through the NHTSA website and they will tell if it is affected and if the recall has already been resolved.
The most common complaint is for poor weather sealing, there are multiple reports of rainfall leaking into the vehicle through the door seams and antenna seam. That’s a disappointing problem to have since, at a minimum, one would expect an SUV to shield oneself from the elements but that’s apparently not the case with the Mitsubishi Outlander. Other common complaints include brakes rotors that prematurely wear, poor paint quality that begins chipping at low mileage, and several complaints about sluggish performance from the transmission. At least you get one of the best warranties in the business, with a 100,000 miles, 10-year powertrain warranty and a 60,000 mile 5-year comprehensive warranty. Judging by the research, it seems you’ll probably be taking advantage of it if you buy the Outlander. We wouldn’t recommend the Outlander as a wise purchase for those looking for a dependable SUV.
The Nissan Rogue may be worth the extra couple thousand dollars when compared to the Mitsubishi Outlander. It comes standard with advanced safety technology that’s only available on a top trimmed Outlander with the addition of an expensive package. The Rogue is larger and offers superior cargo capacity while achieving better fuel economy. The Rogue’s interior isn’t particularly inspiring but it isn’t any worse than the Outlander and possesses more comfortable seating. A hybrid powertrain is available for just $1,000 extra for even better fuel economy and performance. The NissanConnect infotainment system doesn’t yet support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay and suffers from intermittent phone connectivity like the Outlander. While the Outlander is conservatively styled, the Rogue displays a bold exterior with standard LED lighting and futuristic angles. The Rogue is also a “Top Safety Pick+” and secures higher reliability ratings than the Outlander. There are nearly ten times as many Rogues on the road as Outlanders, proving the Nissan offers better value for your dollar.
The Outlander ES starts at $23,495 for Front Wheel Drive and $24,995 for All-Wheel Control with a 2.4 Liter SOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. The chassis is supported by MacPherson struts with stabilizer bar at the front and a multilink rear suspension with stabilizer bar. The power steering system is electric. Stopping power is provided by 11.6 inch ventilated front disc brakes and solid single piston 11.9 inch rear brakes connected to a 4-wheel, 4-channel ABS system with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist. Standard exterior features include automatic on/off headlights with LED positioning lights, heated power-adjustable side-view mirrors, LED rear combination tail lights, color-keyed front bumper with silver accent, color-keyed rear bumper with silver accent, color-keyed outer door handles, front grille with silver accents, shark fin antenna, front windshield variable intermittent wipers, rear window intermittent wiper, rear privacy glass, wheel arch moldings, 18 inch two-tone alloy wheels, temporary spare tire, and roof carrier plug-in accommodation.
On the inside, there’s a color multi-information display, high-contrast meter gauge cluster, gloss black instrument panel, dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors, front courtesy floor lights, center dome light, rear cargo area light, ECO indicator light, seating for 7 trimmed with fabric, 6-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, front passenger seat back pocket, 60/40 split folding rear bench with independent sliding and reclining function, 50/50 fold-flat third row, front dual-zone automatic climate control, micron air filtration, rear heater floor ducts, leather-wrapped steering wheel, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, silver painted accent panels, soft-touch upper instrument panel and door trim, chrome plated interior door handles, carpeted floor mats, sunglasses holder, and remote hood and fuel door opener. Also standard is a 6.1 inch touchscreen display with rearview camera, USB port, Digital HD Radio, Hands-free Link System with Bluetooth technology, remote keyless entry with panic feature, ECO mode switch, cruise control, power locks, power windows, 3 12-volt accessory outlets, rear seat center armrest with cupholders, underfloor cargo area storage, cargo tie-down utility hooks, and retractable assist grips. Standard safety equipment includes HIll Start Assist, Active Stability Control, traction control logic, tire pressure monitoring system, 7 standard airbags, anti-theft engine immobilizer and security system, and RISE body construction.
The $195 All Weather Package provides all-weather floor mats and a cargo tray. The Entertainment Package provides a rear seat DVD player with remote control and infrared wireless headphones for $1,695. The Exterior Package adds front, side, and rear air dams for $995. The $360 LED Illumination Package adds floor illumination and shift gate illumination with blue LEDs. The Protection Package installs a rear bumper step protector, scuff plates, and a tailgate protector for $495. The Quick Value Package 1 costs $520 and installs wheel locks, front and rear mudguards, a cargo mat, a cargo net, aluminum and leather shift knob, third-row floor mats, and Tonneau cover. The $510 Quick Value Package 2 furnishes roof rack crossbars, all weather floor mats, a cargo tray, and a hood protector. The $450 Towing Package affixes a tow hitch and a trailer tow wiring harness. Front and Rear Park Assist Sensors cost $560. Remote Engine Start is $545.
The Outlander SE starts at $24,495 and $26,495 for the SE S-AWC. The SE trim adds fog lights with chrome accents, integrated turn signals on mirrors, heated front seats, 7-inch smartphone link display audio system with dual USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, FAST-key passive entry system with push-button start, and one-touch start/stop engine switch. The Sunroof Package includes a power glass sunroof with sunshade and tilt feature, as well as carpeted floor mats for $725. The same options listed above are also available at the same prices.
The SEL trim begins at $25,495 for FWD and $27,495 for S-AWC. The SEL trim installs automatic on and off headlamps, power folding side mirrors, chrome beltline molding, rain-sensing front windshield wipers, silver roof rails, leather seating surfaces, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with seat back pocket, leather-wrapped doors, leather-wrapped armrest, leather-wrapped trim panel inserts, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink universal garage door opener. The $2,125 Premium Package contributes the power glass sunroof, 710 watt Rockford Fosgate 9-speaker premium audio system, a multi-view camera system, LED headlights, LED fog lights, and a heated steering wheel. The SEL Touring Package adds all the items in the Premium Package plus Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams.
The $31,695 GT 3.0 S-AWC model receives a 3.0 Liter SOHC 25-valve V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This trim level also equips LED headlights, LED fog lights, a power glass sunroof, a windshield wiper de-icer, a drive mode selector, a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system with 9 speakers, a power remote liftgate, an electric parking brake, and a Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. The GT Touring Package installs the advanced safety features: Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams for $1,125.