Mitsubishi Outlander RE (2012–present): Review, Problems, Specs

Launched in fall 2012 in Europe and the United States in early 2013 as a 2014 model, the third-generation Mitsubishi Outlander is a practical but rather unremarkable SUV. The plug-in hybrid Outlander PHEV has gained traction with buyers recently, but Mitsubishi also offers gasoline and diesel engines (the latter not available in the United States). The Outlander is a tempting proposition in the compact SUV segment for those buyers that are more interested in a good deal than attracting attention in the parking lot.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Good value for money
  • Spacious, practical interior with standard three-row seating
  • Decent interior features and quality
  • Fuel-efficient diesel and PHEV models (Europe)

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Bland styling (pre-facelift model)
  • Underwhelming performance
  • Third-row seats are cramped

Stay Away From
  • Mitsubishi Outlander GT (expensive and thirsty)
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • There have been no recalls issued for the 2014-2016 Mitsubishi Outlander so far
Car Details
Powertrain

The Mitsubishi Outlander offers two conventional gasoline engines in the United States: an entry-level 2.4-liter four-cylinder unit with 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and a 3.0-liter V6 with 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. Both units are offered with all-wheel drive, but the 2.4-liter can only be had with a CVT (the V6 gets a conventional six-speed auto). While both engines are underpowered, the four-cylinder unit is more economical and significantly cheaper to buy. In Europe, the Outlander is offered with a 150 PS 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline, a 150 PS 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel and a PHEV variant – the latter will arrive in the U.S. as well from the 2017 model year.


Handling

No one expects the Outlander to offer thrills on twisty mountain roads, so the fact that handling around turns lacks excitement will not be news to anyone. However, the SUV feels safe while cornering and the steering is surprisingly responsive for the segment, offering a pleasant experience to the driver. If you like exploring off-road trails or live in a cold climate area, you should have your Outlander fitted with the optional all-wheel drive system. The AWD system offers selectable modes that improve capability on dirt roads and in deep snow. Don't go too far, though, as the Outlander is only good for mild off-roading.


Safety

The third-generation Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the safest SUVs in its segment. The IIHS gave the 2015 Outlander the "Top Safety Pick+" rating, with the model getting the top "Good" rating for all criteria, as well as the "Advanced" rating for front crash prevention thanks to the optional Forward Collision Mitigation System. In government testing, the 2014 Outlander received a four-star overall rating. In Europe, the Outlander was assessed in 2012, with Euro NCAP giving it a top five-star rating. The Japanese SUV received a 94% rating for adult occupant protection, 83% for child occupant, 64% for pedestrian and 100% for safety assist systems.

Comfort

According to most reviews, the Outlander delivers a comfortable ride, although a little firm. The SUV is pretty composed, but tire noise does protrude inside more than in rival models. Mitsubishi claims it has made the Outlander quieter and more refined starting with the facelifted 2016 model. However, most reviewers claim the improvement is not that significant for anyone to notice. The seats are quite comfortable, and the controls are easy to use. The high driver's seat is something most buyers want from a SUV, but finding a comfortable driving position is not easy because of limited height adjustment.


Quality

Interior quality is not bad, and the cabin feels well-built, particularly from the 2016 model year onwards. While the Outlander lacks the freshness of a new model – even with the 2016 update – one can't deny the fact that the materials are nicer, and the design is cleaner than before. Mitsubishi has also given the Outlander a more premium feel thanks to new dark bamboo-like accents on the doors and dashboard. The plastics used inside are softer than on the previous-generation model, but they look a little cheap compared to rivals like the Toyota RAV4, for example.


Practicality

Interior space is probably the single best feature of the Outlander, which offers seven seats as standard equipment. Space is generous in the front and the middle row, even for tall passengers (six-foot plus). However, the third-row seating area is only recommended for small children, given that space is in limited supply. The PHEV version only comes with five seats to make room for the battery pack. The Outlander's trunk is not the biggest in its class, but covers most needs with the third-row seats folded down. The SUV offers 10.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row of seats, 34.2 cu ft behind the second-row seats and 63.3 cu ft with only the front seats in the upright position.


Infotainment

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander models offer an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen navigation system as an option on the SEL and GT grades (as part of the SEL Touring and GT Touring packages). The infotainment system has complex menus and small icons, which means accessing its functions is not very user-friendly. Lesser SE models are equipped as standard with a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that has similar menus and icons, not to mention a lower resolution. The Outlander lags behind competitors when it comes to the infotainment systems it offers.

Efficiency

In the United States, the most fuel-efficient Outlander on sale so far is the base 2WD model with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT, which returns 27 mpg combined (25 city/31 highway). Adding 4WD lowers fuel economy to 26 mpg while the Outlander GT with 3.0-liter V6 is rated at 23 mpg combined (20 city/27 highway). The recently-launched PHEV version has not been EPA-rated yet. Europeans get much more economical versions than these. On paper, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the most fuel-efficient model in the lineup, with a combined fuel consumption of 1.8 l/100 km (according to the automaker's own measurements). However, that's impossible to achieve in real life, which makes the 2.2-liter diesel version more credible at 5.1 l/100 km.


Equipment

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is available in four trim levels in the United States: ES, SE, SEL, and GT. Except the V6-powered GT, all other grades come exclusively with the 2.4-liter engine. Standard equipment for the base ES model is decent and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED DRLs and taillights, heated mirrors, cruise control, automatic climate control, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Mitsubishi's "Fuse" voice-command system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with CD player and USB port.


Acquisition

The base 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander ES retails for $22,995 in the United States, excluding destination and handling fees. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option, while the range-topping, V6-powered GT model (with standard AWD) starts from $30,995. The Outlander is one of the least expensive three-row SUVs on the market, but if price and seven-seat capability are not your most important buying criteria you should also look at the sportier and more fuel-efficient Mazda CX-5 or at the Honda CR-V.

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