If you're looking for a family-sized crossover, there's quite a bit to choose from. Nearly every manufacturer has gotten into the family-hauler game over the last few years, and competition is stiff. Right in the middle of that race is the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander. At first glance, the Outlander looks as if it could hit the spot thanks to its three rows of seating, appealingly low price tag, strong safety scores, and plenty of standard and optional features. But take a test drive, and you'll find that this refreshed Mitsubishi is still behind the curve.
For starters, it isn't very fast or very fuel-efficient. Either one we could forgive, but as a combo, those facts are hard to ignore. The Outlander's third-row capability also disappoints some. Yes, you can fit up to seven passengers, but that third-row seat is one of the most cramped in the crossover class. It's definitely a kids-only seat. And though the Outlander does get several new desirable features this year (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic high beams and a 360-degree camera), most of them are optional and available only on the highest, most expensive trim levels.
As a potential alternative, check out the 2017 Kia Sorento. It's more expensive but earns its keep thanks to its welcoming interior, roomier third-row seat and available turbocharged power. If the Sorento costs too much, a more affordable option with a third-row seat is the 2017 Nissan Rogue. Compared to the Outlander, it offers more cargo room and third-row space. And if you don't absolutely need the third row, there are several very appealing crossovers, with models such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 headlining the list. In the end, the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander scores some points with its features list and third-row seat, but overall we think you'll be happier with one of the aforementioned alternatives.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander include antilock disc brakes, a rearview camera, traction and stability control, hill start assist, a driver knee airbag, front-seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags for the first and second rows.
Optional electronic safety features include a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
During Edmunds performance testing, in a simulated panic stop from 60 mph, an all-wheel-drive Outlander SEL came to a stop in 121 feet. An Outlander GT also stopped in 121 feet. Both are average results.
In government crash testing, the Outlander with all-wheel drive earned atop five-star rating for overall crash protection, with four stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. Front-wheel-drive Outlanders have the same front and side ratings, but one fewer star for overall protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave all Outlanders the best possible rating of Good in the small-overlap and moderate-overlap front-impact tests as well as a Good score for the side-impact, roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander is a seven-passenger crossover SUV that comes in four different trim levels: ES, SE, SEL and GT. The GT gets the 3.0-liter V6 engine, and all other trims get the 2.4-liter four-cylinder. All-wheel drive is standard on the GT and optional on the ES, SE and SEL.
The base ES comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights and taillights, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding second-row seat that slides and reclines, a 50/50-split third-row seat, a rearview camera, voice controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, a CD player and a USB port.
Stepping up to the SE gets you foglights, body-color side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition and entry, an electronic parking brake, heated front seats, and an upgraded audio system with a 7-inch display, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The SEL adds roof rails, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, gloss-black interior trim, leather upholstery and a power driver seat. The SEL also has some optional equipment that you can't get on lower trim levels. The Premium package adds a sunroof, a power liftgate, power folding mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. The SEL Touring package includes the Premium package contents plus LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a heated steering wheel, lane departure warning, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
The GT comes standard with all of the above options except the advanced safety technologies (adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning), all of which are included in the optional GT Touring package. Exclusive standard features on the GT include chrome exterior beltline accents and steering-wheel shift paddles.
Stand-alone options for all trims include remote engine start, a tow hitch and a rear-seat entertainment system. All trims except the ES are eligible for LED foglights and front and rear parking sensors.
The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered with one of two available engines. The ES, SE and SEL get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque) that is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). All three trim levels are available with front- or all-wheel drive. In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive SEL accelerated to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, a slower time than many rivals.
A 3.0-liter V6 is standard on the all-wheel-drive GT. It produces 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a conventional six-speed automatic (with shift paddles) and all-wheel drive. In Edmunds performance testing, an Outlander GT went from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is average for a crossover of this type with an upgraded engine.
EPA fuel economy estimates for the Outlander weren't available at publishing time, but last year's four-cylinder, front-drive Outlander posted 27 mpg combined (25 city/31 highway), dropping to 26 mpg combined (24 city/29 highway) with all-wheel drive. The V6-powered GT received an EPA estimate of 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway). Mileage estimates for the Outlander are acceptable but a little below average for the class.
With the four-cylinder engine, towing capacity is limited to 1,500 pounds, but the V6-powered GT can handle a more useful 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
For power, the Outlander has either the standard 2.4-liter engine or the available 3.0-liter V6. They're both adequate for city driving, but neither is an overachiever. The four-cylinder's CVT makes this engine especially noisy during full-throttle acceleration (think freeway on-ramps and passing scenarios, or even long uphill grades) as it keeps the engine's speed at a steady, high rpm. The V6 sounds a bit better, and we prefer its conventional six-speed automatic transmission to the CVT. Unfortunately, you can only get it with the GT trim.
The 2017 Outlander is easy to drive on long trips, with slightly less cabin noise at speed thanks to some recent updates to sound-deadening. It's also refreshingly easy to see out of, with good sightlines out the windows and big views from the mirrors. Around turns, this Mitsubishi is stable and secure.
If you're going off-road on a regular basis, the Outlander's all-wheel-drive system offers selectable modes that provide a bit more capability on dirt roads and in deep snow. The system can be used for mild off-roading but not much more.
The interior of the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander is one of its more likable features. The dashboard design is attractive but subtle, and it's covered with a refined soft-touch material that's matched by supple trim on the door panels. Infotainment features are class-competitive, highlighted by standard voice controls and a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface that's standard this year (previously optional). There is also an available 7-inch display that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto this year. The smartphone integration is a welcome addition, but overall neither infotainment interface is very user-friendly.
Up front, there's plenty of space in the first two rows for the driver and passengers. The seats are well-padded enough to keep you comfy on a long road trip, even if they don't provide much lateral support. Headroom and legroom in the first two rows is sufficient (less so with the optional sunroof), and the second row can slide and recline. The Outlander's third row provides some added versatility compared to other two-row crossovers, but be aware that it's very cramped and suitable for small kids only.
Behind the third row, the Outlander offers 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Behind the second row there's 34.2 cubes, which is on par with what's behind the second row in crossovers such as the CR-V and Rogue. Fold the second and third row down, and you'll get a respectable 63.3 cubes, but competitors such as the Kia Sorento and Nissan Rogue are roomier still.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.