By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.0
As one of the larger vehicles in its segment, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander strikes a satisfying balance between compact and mid-size SUVs. The Outlander differentiates itself from the competition with an array of optional tech features along with aggressive styling, generous cargo space and available seating for seven. While its bold exterior design can certainly talk the talk, the Mitsubishi Outlander also walks the walk thanks to a sport-tuned suspension system, lightweight aluminum roof and available all-wheel drive (AWD) with three driver-selectable modes.
If you are looking for a small SUV with one of the most spacious cargo areas in the category, an optional third-row seat and arguably the best all-wheel-drive system available for a non-luxury vehicle, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is worth your consideration.
While the Outlander returns adequate fuel economy figures, the Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox and the all-new Mazda CX-5 deliver greater fuel efficiency. Furthermore, the Outlander's taut suspension may be unsettling for drivers looking for a more relaxed, forgiving ride.
For 2012, the Mitsubishi Outlander adds a new ECO indicator light that illuminates when the vehicle is being driven at peak efficiency and shows you when your right foot is getting the upper hand. Additionally, Premium and Touring packages now integrates the backup camera display into the rearview mirror.
Driving Impressions On the road, the Mitsubishi Outlander's excellent steering and brake feel, sport-tuned suspension and supportive front seats deliver a balance of comfort and confidence that will accommodate a range of...driving styles. And though many of its competitors like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape can tackle road imperfections with greater poise, we found the Outlander's lively handling characteristics to be worth the insignificant drop in ride quality. While the standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is right-sized for basic daily driving tasks, most will find the available 230-horsepower V6 is more accommodating to heavy loads and spirited driving. On the fuel economy front, 2012 Outlander GT models offer a unique piece of fuel-saving technology called Idle Neutral Logic that automatically shifts the transmission into neutral when the vehicle arrives at a complete stop.
Fuse Voice Recognition
Similar to Ford's voice-activated Sync system, Mitsubishi's Fuse allows voice control of Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones for hands-free phone capability as well as streaming audio. The system also provides advanced voice recognition commands for iPods, including Genre, Artist, Album or Playlist.
An SUV with an abundance of cargo space and fold-flat seating is great for large cumbersome objects, but a protruding rear bumper can make loading such cargo an aggravating experience. Every 2012 Outlander features a unique tailgate-style rear bumper that folds level with the cargo floor, making it easier to slide bulky objects in and out.
Inside the Mitsubishi Outlander is a clean layout with distinguishable controls and plentiful storage space. With the rear seats folded, the Outlander can accommodate nearly 73 cubic feet of cargo – comparable to the class-leading Toyota RAV4. The Outlander's versatile interior offers a variety of configurations for occupants and their gear, including a 60/40 split/fold-flat rear seat with a sliding function for enhanced passenger comfort and a small, yet handy, stowable third-row seat for SE and GT trims. The Outlander's principal shortcoming would be the ES and SE model's abundance of hard plastics and flat surfaces that emit a budget feel when compared to competitors like the Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V and the new Ford Escape.Exterior
The 2012 Outlander commands a much larger presence than most vehicles in this category, led by its "jet fighter"-inspired trapezoidal grille and bulging fender arches. LED taillights and available xenon headlights (standard on GT trims) help communicate a level of refinement while GT models enhance the Outlander's athletic demeanor with a pair of chrome exhaust tips and a black-out front bumper insert. The wheel lineup ranges from the ES grade's 16-inch steel wheels to the 18-inch 7-spoke alloys found on SE and GT models.
The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered in three trims: ES, SE and GT. Standard across the board is rear privacy glass, LED taillights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a 60/40 split/fold-flat second-row seat and auto-off headlights. SE models add magnesium paddle shifters, 18-inch alloy wheels, a Fast Key entry and starting system – the key fob never needs to leave your pocket or bag – and a fold-flat third-row seat. The range-topping GT models add a 230-horsepower V6 engine, xenon headlights that are up to three times brighter than conventional halogen bulbs, and automatic climate control. Safety features include six airbags, active front head restraints and a reinforced body structure for enhanced collision protection.
All Outlander trims offer an available 40GB hard drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones, and Mitsubishi's Fuse voice recognition system. SE and GT models offer all-wheel drive, a rear backup camera, a power tilt/slide moonroof, and a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system with a 10-inch subwoofer. The GT's exclusive Touring Package includes leather-trimmed seating, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.
Mitsubishi provides a choice of a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing, or a more powerful 230-horsepower V6. Despite the Outlander GT's fuel-saving Neutral Idle Control feature, ES and SE models and their 4-cylinder powerplants deliver an observable increase in fuel economy over the V6. The 4-cylinder engine drives through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) while the V6 is fitted to a manually selectable 6-speed automatic accompanied by steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Outlander ES and SE
168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
167 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 22/27 mpg (AWD)
230 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
215 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/25 mpg (AWD)
By RunningOnEmpty on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "versatility, cargo space, MPG"
Cons: "comfortable but lackluster interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The outlander has performed admirably on my long road trips (granted, its not the chushiest of interiors) as well as my excursions up and down mountain roads. It's not meant as an off-road vehicle, but its got just enough extra clearance to get me to my dirt-road camping spots. The little 4cyl does just fine on big hills and gives me 32 mpg highway / 28 mpg total average. I don't think there's another vehicle with that MPG that has space for my gear (camping / biking / dogs / backpacking / trips to Home Depot, Etc.). The price was right, but you can feel some of the lackluster materials inside. Overall - I'd buy it again in a heartbeat."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By DennisK on Thursday, January 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Durability, reliability good handling, utility"
Cons: "Cheap interior and seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 2008 Outlander LS in September 2008. It has been without a doubt the most reliable, trouble-free vehicle I've ever owned. In 100,000 miles, I have had one repair - the catalytic converter heat shield rusted out, and started rattling, which wasn't covered under warranty, and cost me $190 to fix. Other than that, just maintenance and normal wear items. It still drives like new, tires last 40-45K miles, brakes 70-80K. The 3.0 V6 runs like a charm, and the rest of the vehicle is easy to work on. My only criticism, like most Mitsubishi owners, is the cheap interior. It has worn well, but is cheap and drab-looking. If you're looking for a rock-solid, reliable, if not terribly exciting vehicle, the Outlander is hard to beat."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By 3 Boxers on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love the style, the handling & shifting paddles"
Cons: "Resale and value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Outlander Gt 2013 with every bell and whistle. I researched for months. I knew this car would have to last me. I got my Outlander 2013 in March of 2014. There was only 5 new ones left on the east coast. I used every website and found out that I was buying this one for way below book and dealer cost. It listed for a little over $35,000 and I got it with all taxes, fees, gap insurance for $31,200.00 . So, now my question and concern. Even though I have no plans on selling it, the resale and trade in is like $21,000. I'm beside myself and can't believe how this can happen. What about the people who got an Outlander in 2013 for closer to the sticker price? They most be in the same boat. Has anyone heard of this before with any other car company or is this a sign that Mitsubishi is in trouble and on its way out. This buy truly makes me sick sick sick. I know I'm holding on to it, kind of have to now but everybody wants value in their cars. Does anyone have past experience with Mitsubishi buying or can you tell me you think this happening with this model ?"
16 people out of 33 found this review helpful
By Blackbear in TX on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, good family vehicle"
Cons: "cheaply made, noisy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"When I first purchased my vehicle, I bought it with the intention of doing some minor hiking, kayaking, hauling around teenagers, etc. After installing the roof racks, it did great hauling my kayaks, but the microsuede interior was a pain to clean after any of these adventures. I also had problems with some of the plastic interior pieces being cheaply made which I discovered after making a small move. Furniture I would load/unload easily popped off the plastic liners found on the seats and the back of the third row seat. I also have a lot of problems with my media system. Sometimes when I connect my iPhone via bluetooth, it either takes forever or doesn't connect at all. When I decide to charge my phone and hook it up via USB, it usually takes about 5 minutes to connect and then once I do can only control the music through my console. Lastly, my vehicle did sustain some minor body damage when there was an ice storm and to my surprise it immediately started to rust! So to sum it up, this vehicle is good for transportation, light travel, etc. I guess I just expected something a little more rugged and reliable for my money."
10 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Sluggo on Thursday, May 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value, good handling, decent mileage ,"
Cons: "Engine drone is terrible, very uncomfortable."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This vehicle is great for short drives, but very hard to sit in for long. The rear seats are for enemies only (forget about the 3rd row seat!). I need to trade mine in before the horrible drone of the engine drives me crazy. Otherwise it is a typical well built and highly functional Japanese vehicle."
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By Terre on Saturday, April 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty, fun to drive, distinctive look"
Cons: "none that I've found"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I absolutely love my Mitsi ! I had an Eagle Talon for 18 years, which was Mitsubishi underneath, so when it finally died I had no reservations about buying a Mitsubishi vehicle. Reliable and sturdy, sporty and a blast to drive. It looks small from the outside, but there's tons of room inside. My husband is 6.1 and very comfortable in the driver or passenger seats. The snout gives it attitude and makes the Mitsi stand out from all the other SUVs. I have the base ES, but it has enough options in my opinion. The CVT transmission takes a minute to get use to, but I love that it slows down on its own, which saves on your brakes. The 4 cyl is peppy and responsive. I have no trouble merging onto the highway. Plus it has a timing chain vs a belt, which saves you $$$. Gas mileage averages 22 in town and 30 on the highway. I've had no major or ever little mechanical problems with this SUV. I just keep up the regular maintenance schedule. I get many positive comments about it, and recommend this vehicle to anyone who wants a reliable, all around great SUV! I look forward to many more miles with this gem."
13 people out of 16 found this review helpful