2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

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Mitsubishi Outlander Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 168 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 23/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander

  • With assertive sheet metal and sharp handling, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is the edgy alternative to the typical compact crossover.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Agile handling; useful rear tailgate/liftgate design; roomy cargo area; lengthy warranty.

  • Cons

    Plain interior treatment; flimsy, kid-size third-row seat; steering wheel doesn't telescope.

  • What's New for 2012

    Enhancements on the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander include an optional auto-dimming rearview mirror and a standard "Eco" indicator drive lamp. The Outlander's rearview camera system has been changed to one that displays in the rearview mirror, and the lineup of trims has been whittled from four to three.

Full 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

What's New for 2012

Enhancements on the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander include an optional auto-dimming rearview mirror and a standard "Eco" indicator drive lamp. The Outlander's rearview camera system has been changed to one that displays in the rearview mirror, and the lineup of trims has been whittled from four to three.


You look at the sheet metal of most compact crossovers and think of things like play dates and Little League. Not so with the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander, a pick that shares some of the bold styling cues seen in its aggressive sibling, the high-performance Lancer Evolution sedan. What's more, the Outlander's performance isn't at odds with the promise conveyed by its sporty appearance; it boasts the kind of sharp handling that's a rarity in this family-oriented class.

Fortunately, none of this comes at the expense of practicality. The Outlander is among the roomiest in its class when it comes to cargo capacity and offers the choice of all-wheel drive for those who frequently trudge through rain or snow. Ride quality is smooth and agreeable, and all the bases are covered when it comes to standard and available features. Everything from a rear-seat DVD player to a voice-activated navigation system with a 40GB music server is offered.

Perhaps the most noticeable flaw to the Outlander is its puny third-row seat. This feature adds little by way of real functionality; the area is cramped even for small children and the seat itself is distressingly flimsy and lightweight. And while some might warm to the crossover's stark, masculine cabin design, others might find it plain relative to the more visually interesting approach taken by some rivals.

Even so, the Outlander doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. This will likely be even more true this year, as two of the segment heavyweights -- the 2012 Honda CR-V and 2012 Toyota RAV4 -- have been fully redesigned. There are also a host of other excellent models vying for your attention, including the spacious Chevrolet Equinox, the handsome 2012 Kia Sorento and the turbocharged 2012 Subaru Forester. Still, the Mitsubishi Outlander stands out on the strength of its striking looks and frisky character; it's a solid pick for those seeking a less mainstream alternative.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is available in three trim levels: ES, SE and GT.

The entry-level ES is equipped with a four-cylinder engine and comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, air-conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, full power accessories, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cloth upholstery, reclining rear seats and a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio input jack.

The SE adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, turn-signal mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, upgraded gauges and upholstery, a six-disc CD changer, sliding second-row seats, third-row seats and steering-column-mounted paddle shifters.

All Outlander GT models are powered by a 3.0-liter V6 and come with all the above-mentioned features plus automatic xenon headlights, automatic wipers, automatic climate control, chrome accents and soft-touch dash and door trim. The AWD GT also includes an active front differential, hill start assist and an advanced AWD mode selector.

SE models are eligible for the Premium package, which adds a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium sound system with satellite radio and the soft-touch interior trim. The Touring package is offered on GT models; it features most of the amenities in the Premium package and adds leather upholstery (front- and second-row seats), heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver seat.

A hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic and digital-music storage is available as a stand-alone option for all trims, as are rear parking sensors, Mitsubishi's Fuse hands-free link system, a rear entertainment system and remote engine start.

Powertrains and Performance

The Mitsubishi Outlander ES and SE are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque. The GT has a 3.0-liter V6 that's good for 230 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. Four-cylinder Outlanders come standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while the V6-powered GT uses a traditional six-speed automatic. Both have manual-shift capability.

All-wheel drive is offered as an option on the SE and GT, while the ES is front-wheel drive only. The AWD system offers different driver-selectable modes to optimize traction in varying conditions. The GT's all-wheel-drive system features an improved front differential and additional modes.

In recent Edmunds testing, the Outlander GT accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is respectable for a V6-equipped crossover SUV in this segment. EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2WD 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander are 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined with the four-cylinder engine, and 19/26/22 mpg with the V6. The AWD four-cylinder gets 22/27/24 mpg, while the AWD V6 gets 19/25/21 mpg.


All major safety features are standard on the Outlander, including antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Whiplash-reducing front head restraints are also standard.

In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, the Outlander earned the top rating of "Good." In roof-strength tests, the crossover scored an "Average" rating.

Interior Design and Special Features

With its square lines and unadorned surfaces, the Outlander's cabin has an austere, masculine feel, with fewer accents and flourishes than you'll find in some rival crossovers. Some might appreciate this lean aesthetic, but others might find the cabin too stark; additionally, there are some subpar plastics here and there. GT models are the nicest of the bunch, featuring a soft-touch upper instrument panel, and door trim with eye-catching double-stitch accents. The steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope, which may be an issue for taller drivers. The Outlander's Fuse system allows you to make phone calls and access your iPod via voice commands, and it is relatively intuitive to use.

SE and GT models come with a third-row seat that will suffice in an emergency, but this seat is too slight and ineffectual for regular use. It's small and cramped, and is located uncomfortably close to the tailgate glass; it also lacks proper padding, which results in its occupant being able to feel the seat's frame in intimate detail. On the plus side, the Outlander offers a unique flip-down tailgate capable of supporting up to 440 pounds. With the second- and third-row seats folded, total cargo space measures nearly 73 cubic feet, which is very roomy for a small crossover SUV.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to driving dynamics, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is among the most enjoyable picks in its segment. Its handling limits are noticeably higher than the typical crossover's, its steering is pleasantly weighted and its suspension is tuned to deliver sportiness that doesn't come at the expense of comfort. While the Outlander's V6 isn't as powerful as those in the Kia Sorento or Toyota RAV4, it offers brisk acceleration. As an added bonus, the all-wheel-drive system ably keeps the car planted on loose road surfaces like sand and snow.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Pretty solid

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander ES 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl CVT)

I bought this car at the very end of 2012 after my previous car was totaled and I had to make a decision pretty quick. I really hadn't thought of a CUV, but this was advertised right at 19K as a leftover 2012. I really liked to storage and room in the front and rear, and the ride seemed comfortable. Overall a much better value than just a sedan for someone who needs to haul stuff from time to time. So far (19 months in) the reliability has been excellent. No problems at all! Fuel economy is about as advertised 23/28, with better city mileage than that under some circumstances. However, if your highway speeds get up much above 70mph, the economy seems to drop off sharply.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great value, great vehicle!

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)

I bought this Outlander SE AWD as a 2012 leftover. The price was $21,300, a great price for a SUV with AWD, bluetooth, and lots of nice features. Absolutely nothing has gone wrong or missed a beat in the first 15,000 miles. It has been fun to drive, reliable and relatively economical.

Cvt sucks

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SE 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl CVT)

My CVT transmission seized at 137,500 miles. NO mention to change the fluid in the owners manual, just check fluid every 30k miles. Mitsubishi also fails to tell you they expect you to have the MIVEC motor valves to be adjusted every 30k miles (a $400-ish job) Due to limited Mitsubishi dealers I'd advise against buying any Mitsubishi. Also, the CVT fluid is $19.50 per quart, 6qt roughly to change fluid once. The ONLY place you can get the Diaqueen J4 tranny fluid IS at Mitsubishi. NOT worth the hassle. Odd size for the 18" wheels, hard to find & expensive to replace tires. Only 4 choices

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Nice in some areas, but

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)

We have leased 2 Mitsubishi Outlanders 2012- a full size 7 seater (4cyl) and Sport model. Both have 4wd systems. The value is very good, that was by far the best lease deal on any suv we could find, and they also gave us the best deal on our trade-ins we could find anywhere. We liked the overall appearance, features and the test drive experience of both cars. the fact that in one of them there are 7 seats, and it is a full 4wd makes it already quite unique. Everything is good and fun about these cars, but 3 important areas: fuel economy is way below the advertised, especially in the city. Cheap, easily stainable/scratchable plastic used. CVT transmission is noisy and slow to react.

Decent value

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)

Compared lots of other models (Mazda CX-5, Buick Encore, Kia Sorrento and Sport age, more). This one won on price, warrantee (over Mazda, Buick, and other 3/36 warranties), and room/versatility/fuel economy for the price. They were all good, but this was lowest priced and came with a lot of room, flexibility and deceng mpg. Only real complaint is build quality. Kinda cheaply built. But overall, very nice so far.

2012 mitsubishi outlander gt

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander GT 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

Just bought my son his second Mitsubishi Outlander (2012 Outlander GT AWD). We bought him a 2007 Outlander LS 5 years ago and it has been bullett proof. No issues at all. We bought the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander GT 2 months ago and thus far I have been very impressed. Although it is the same generation as his 2007 it has numerous improvements and has not dissapointed thus far. The 2007 had a slight hesitation when taking off but the 2012 does not have the same hesitation and is very smooth on takeoff. It is rated 10 HP higher than the 2007 and like the 2007 is very quick (and economical). Very fun to drive.

Talk About The 2012 Outlander

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Gas Mileage


  • 23
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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