The new Outlander GT offers a comfortable ride, reasonable handling, decent acceleration and third-row seating. Yet there's nothing exceptional about this SUV to make it stand out within the small crossover class. Quality issues and a miniscule dealer network aren't helping its cause.
PerformanceThe Outlander GT performs about average for the class, but it's not as competent of a driving machine as the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V. We feel if you put large paddle shifters on an SUV, it should blip the throttle on downshifts.
The Outlander's 3.0-liter V6 makes 224 horsepower. It's soft at low revs, gets thrashy above 4,500 rpm. Sixty mph comes in 7.6 sec. The six-speed automatic gets shifty on long climbs.
The Outlander stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is about average for the class. The brakes didn't feel overly powerful on a twisty road, but had a linear action around town.
Steering has a natural, intuitive feel. It's just quick enough to let you have fun on a back road, yet it's light enough for those who only cruise around town.
Even with its soft suspension, the Outlander stays composed. It does an especially nice job soaking up bumps on back roads. The Ford Escape and Honda CR-V handle slightly better.
The throttle is occasionally abrupt when taking off from a stop. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The soft suspension keeps occupants comfy; the steering feels natural.
The V6-powered Outlander GT is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.
We found the Super All-Wheel Control AWD system gives excellent traction in the dirt, but our test vehicle lost a rear sway-bar bushing during a minor off-road stint. A soft roader for sure.
ComfortThere's good family comfort here, provided you rarely need to use the third row, which is tiny. The suspension is nice and cushy and road noise is kept to a minimum, but the engine gets loud during full throttle bursts.
The front seats are comfy but the door and center armrests are hard. Second row seatbacks recline, but lever is in odd location. Third row is cramped; knees are up into your chest.
Plenty of suspension travel plus soft settings endow the Outlander with a soft ride, yet one that isn't overly floaty. Most bumps don't disturb it in the least.
The tires are fairly quiet. Wind noise isn't excessive, even with the large side mirrors. Engine noise is at acceptable levels on the highway, but gets abrasive under heavy throttle.
InteriorIn general Mitsubishi did a nice job with the Outlander's interior redesign. It's handsome enough, and most controls feel nice to the touch. Unfortunately the wood trim looks fake (because it is) and there are some ingress/egress issues.
Good driving position, easy forward view. Climate control has high-quality soft-touch buttons. Stereo volume/tuning knobs should be larger. Reclining rear seatbacks are awkward to use.
Large front doors and tall roof make for simple access, though wide rocker panels can rub calf. Second-row entry compromised by wheel wells. Third-row? Nearly impossible for adults.
Generous front headroom and good middle elbow room. Ample second-row headroom with excellent foot room. But third row has near-zero foot room and ultra-cramped headroom. Kids only.
Lane changes come easy thanks to narrow pillars and tall side windows. Even third-row window is useful, and rear window is tall and wide. Comes with a standard rearview camera.
Easily accessible door pockets, but center console cupholders don't hold bottles in place. Trunk is just 10.3 cu-ft behind third row. Extra tasks required to fold second and third rows.
ValueThe price, warranty and standard features are right. But we witnessed firsthand some quality control issues. Along with hard-to-find dealerships, it would be difficult for us to quantify the Outlander GT as a great value.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Most controls and materials have an acceptable feel for the price. But the driver's seat rocked back and forth slightly, and a rear sway-bar bushing came loose during some off-roading.
At its base price of $27,795, the Outlander GT comes with awd, paddle shifters, heated mirrors, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control and a rearview camera.
Our tester had the GT Touring package, with navigation, a 7-inch touchscreen, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and a power tailgate, bringing the price to $34,720.
The EPA rates the Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC at 23 combined mpg (20 city/28 highway). These numbers are slightly above average for this class of crossover.
Mitsubishi gives the Outlander a hearty warranty. The basic coverage is for 5 years/60,000 miles, while the drivetrain is covered for 10 years/100,000 miles.
The Outlander comes with roadside assistance for 5 years/unlimited miles. But we worry we might have to actually use it. And the dwindling dealer network could prove a hassle.
Fun To DriveThe Outlander GT's name implies some sporty characteristics, but in reality this is a crossover SUV with few, if any, distinguishing aspects that make it fun to drive. The Outlander GT it replaces was fun.
While the Outlander GT driving experience is acceptable, we were bothered by the rocking driver's seat and the noisy engine at high revs.
Throttle blip downshifts (after all, it has paddle shifters) and handling that was less floaty, more precise, would've given the Mitsubishi Outlander GT some personality.
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