Debuting a few years after the start of the new millennium, the first-generation Mitsubishi Outlander was a late arrival to the small-SUV segment. Like many of its peers, it had a car-based design that translated into good handling and a comfortable ride on paved roads, but limited off-road capability. With so many competitors, Mitsubishi tried to set the Outlander apart with distinctive styling and a sporty demeanor. Compared to popular models from Honda and Toyota, however, the older Outlander models offered less interior space, and their breathless four-cylinder engines failed to live up to Mitsubishi's sporting image.
These problems were addressed in the larger second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander, which gained more interior space and an available V6 engine. Even so, the Outlander still lives in the shadows of its more successful contemporaries, whose reputations for overall quality and reliability are well-known to consumers. In spite of its lower profile, the second-generation Outlander is a competitive small SUV. It has the available all-wheel-drive system, high driving position and versatile cargo space consumers have come to expect in this segment, and sets itself apart with distinctive styling, advanced technology and a lively personality.
Current Mitsubishi Outlander
The Outlander is available in three trim levels: ES, SE and GT. Outlander ES and SE models are powered by a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while the GT receives a 230-hp 3.0-liter V6. 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 Outlander trims are available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The AWD system is notable for its various configurations that allow drivers to select 2WD for maximum fuel economy or 4WD Lock for maximum traction in slippery conditions.
The base ES is equipped with air-conditioning, CD player, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a full array of safety features and an auxiliary audio jack. The SE adds alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, a sliding second-row seat, a third-row seat and upgraded upholstery. The GT gets automatic xenon headlights, automatic wipers, automatic climate control and upgraded interior materials.
Many options are grouped into packages and include a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, Rockford Fosgate audio system, the Fuse hands-free electronics interface, a rearview camera, a rear-seat entertainment system and a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates.
In our reviews, we've praised the Mitsubishi Outlander for its energetic V6 engine as well as its family-friendly design and moderately sporty handling. Negatives include a ride quality that may be too stiff for some and second-row seating space that is merely adequate. Passengers in the third-row fare even worse, as that seat is frighteningly flimsy, very thinly padded and cramped even for small children. We wouldn't recommend using it. Overall, buyers seeking value, style and fun-to-drive characteristics in a package that doesn't sacrifice daily usability will find the Mitsubishi Outlander to be a decent choice, but we'd recommend that you consider its competitors.
Read the most recent 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mitsubishi Outlander page.