2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

Despite some virtues, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is outclassed by some superior rivals.
6.6 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander provides the answer to a very specific question: What should I buy if I'm looking for one of the least expensive three-row crossovers on the market? Indeed, the Outlander is one of just a few vehicles in this price range to offer a third-row seat. You get a lot of features as part of the deal, too.

Now for the fine print. The Outlander isn't particularly exciting to drive; it's also not the most modern, fuel-efficient or comfortable vehicle in its class. That third-row seat is pretty small and difficult to access.

If you're looking for an all-weather-capable three-row crossover on a budget, the Outlander is probably worth a look. But these days, just about every manufacturer is making a competitive crossover, so we recommend shopping around before settling on the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander.



What's new for 2018

Most of the changes on the 2018 Outlander relate to trim levels and features. For instance, there's a new Limited Edition (or LE) trim level slotted between the SE and SEL trim levels. It adds some safety equipment and aesthetic touches in the middle of the lineup. Also, the base ES trim level now receives the 7-inch touchscreen as standard and the top-trim GT gets a top-down, 360-degree parking camera and heated steering wheel included as standard equipment.

We recommend

The Outlander we'd go with is the midlevel SE. It sits just above the base ES and gets extra features such as foglights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and heated front seats. The top-trim GT has the more powerful and more desirable V6 engine that increases the tow rating, but the GT is also the most expensive Outlander. That makes it hard to recommend over more refined rivals. Luckily, the SE still has the third row of seating and available all-wheel drive, along with the relatively reasonable price that makes the Outlander appealing in the first place.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is a seven-passenger crossover SUV that comes in five different trim levels: ES, SE, LE, SEL and GT.

The Outlander's base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque) paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

Standard features for the ES include 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 7-inch touchscreen display, a CD player and a USB port.

Stepping up to the SE gets you foglights, body-colored side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition and entry, an electronic parking brake (all-wheel drive only), heated front seats, and an upgraded audio system with satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

The LE (Limited Edition) mostly adds a few aesthetic upgrades (such as black roof rails and black exterior trim) and also gets you blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The SEL starts with the SE's content and adds automatic headlights, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, gloss-black interior trim, a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror 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 LED headlights and LED foglights, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree parking camera system, and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system. The SEL Touring package includes the Premium package contents plus automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking, and a lane departure warning system.

The GT comes standard with all of the above options except the advanced safety technologies, all of which are included in the optional GT Touring package. Exclusive standard features on the GT include a 3.0-liter V6 (224 hp, 215 lb-ft) paired with a conventional six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, 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.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL (2.4L inline-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Mitsubishi Outlander has received some revisions, including the addition of some standard equipment such as a bigger 7-inch infotainment screen and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Other changes are relatively minor, relating to features content on individual trim levels. Our findings remain applicable to the 2018 Outlander.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall6.6 / 10

Driving

6.5 / 10

Acceleration6.5 / 10
Braking6.0 / 10
Steering7.5 / 10
Handling5.5 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10

Comfort

7.0 / 10

Seat comfort6.0 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10

Interior

7.0 / 10

Ease of use6.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.5 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility8.5 / 10
Quality6.0 / 10

Utility

6.5 / 10

Small-item storage6.0 / 10
Cargo space6.0 / 10

Driving6.5

All Outlanders except the GT come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Mashing the gas results in slow and loud acceleration. Handling is uninspiring no matter which model you get.

Acceleration6.5

The gas pedal is initially jumpy, which gives the impression that the Outlander has more power than it really does. But the engine's 166 hp simply isn't enough. Getting to 60 mph takes 9.2 seconds. You'll need to think twice about pulling into fast-moving traffic.

Braking6.0

The brake pedal has a spongy feel and doesn't give great confidence. But the brakes aren't touchy, and our test vehicle stopped in 121 feet from 60 mph, an average distance.

Steering7.5

The steering has a natural feel. It turns in quickly enough that you can have some fun on a back road, yet the effort is appropriately light for around-town driving. It's easy to keep the Outlander steered straight on the highway.

Handling5.5

The tires provide enough grip around turns to drive at a moderate pace. The Outlander is adequately competent on real roads, but it was a sloppy mess on our test track's handling course.

Drivability6.5

Pressing the Eco button is the only way around the surging throttle. The engine lacks power in critical situations, though it's still pretty easy to drive. Adaptive cruise control isn't a smooth operator.

Off-road7.5

Mitsubishi calls the Outlander's all-wheel-drive system Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC). The four different modes (Eco, Normal, Snow, Lock) affect the system's parameters, with Lock being the high-traction mode for off-road driving.

Comfort7.0

It's not as refined in most areas as competitors. The seats could use more cushioning. The third row, in particular, is suited to kids only. Given the less than stellar handling, we expected a more absorbing ride. Other than the loud engine during acceleration, it is a pretty quiet vehicle.

Seat comfort6.0

The front seats are far from plush and only OK in terms of comfort. The door and center armrests are nearly unpadded. The rear seats are also not overly comfy, and the middle seat is hard. The third row is situated low, which puts your knees up into your chest.

Ride comfort7.0

The ride isn't as cushioned as the underwhelming handling would suggest. The Outlander handles mild bumps pretty easily, but city potholes and bigger bumps at speed upset its composure significantly. It comes down to a lack of suspension design refinement.

Noise & vibration8.0

Wind noise is well-controlled, and the tires are exceptionally quiet. There's some suspension noise over big bumps. The engine stays at low rpm at steady-state highway speeds, but in slower running that low rpm causes unsettling vibrations in the cabin.

Interior7.0

The first two rows offer plenty of space for adults, but the third row is only suitable for small kids. Build quality is still a bit disappointing as well. Outward visibility is excellent.

Utility6.5

While it isn't the most utilitarian car in its class, the Outlander does have some versatile features such as third-row seating and a decent tow ratings (depending on engine selection). Despite its large-for-the-class size, several rivals better it in terms of cargo capacity and interior volume.

Small-item storage6.0

For an SUV of this size, the Outlander has good-size door pockets, but the front bin is far away and the center-console cupholders have no anti-tip function.

Cargo space6.0

The second-row seats fold in a three-step process. The trunk measures 10.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 63.3 cubic feet with all seats folded.

Towing7.5

The Outlander SEL 2.4 is rated to tow 1,500 pounds when properly equipped. Opt for the V6-powered Outlander GT and you can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Technology

Mitsubishi in-car tech isn't our favorite, especially when it comes to the usability of their Rockford Fosgate systems. They simply seem dated and tacked on. For 2018, the bigger 7-inch screen is standard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all but the base ES trim level.

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.