By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 6.0
With veteran players such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 – not to mention newer rivals like Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe – the compact crossover SUV segment is among the most competitive for automakers. Among those battling the established players is the Mitsubishi Outlander. Now in its third generation and all-new for 2014, the Outlander is a capable SUV that offers commendable fuel economy, high-tech safety features and a long warranty. The Outlander's exterior now has a more rounded, conservative look that differs from its past angular and aggressive design. The Outlander still lacks the power, refinement and name recognition of competitors, but stands out with standard seating for seven and a starting price under $24,000.
If you're looking for a smaller SUV with seating for seven and commendable fuel economy, the 2014 Outlander is worth considering. Outlanders are also noteworthy for their impressive warranty, available safety features like automatic braking and lane-departure warning, and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system that's very adept in the snow.
The Outlander isn't the most powerful or most refined crossover SUV on the market. The Kia Sorento also has seating for seven but more potent engine choices, better amenities, and a more comfortable ride than the Mitsubishi.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is all-new for 2014 with a fresh exterior and interior, improved fuel economy, and available safety features that include lane-departure warning and automatic braking. Gone is the past Outlander's innovative 2-piece tailgate design, replaced by a traditional liftgate with optional power operation.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander has two engine choices to get it moving: a 166-horsepower 4-cylinder or a 224-horsepower V6. Driving each version back-to-back, we didn't notice a startling difference when...it came to passing power and acceleration. That's not so much a nick against the V6 and its 6-speed automatic transmission as it is a testament to how well the 4-cylinder works with the Outlander's continuously variable transmission (CVT). Still, if you regularly carry multiple passengers or need to tow more than 1,500 pounds, the V6 is the better choice. Steering is decently weighted, but the Outlander isn't much fun on twisty roads like more dynamic vehicles such as the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape. On smooth highways, the Outlander is a comfortable cruiser. The optional lane-departure warning system works well, but we quickly turned it off on twisty roads due to its sensitivity. The Outlander's sophisticated all-wheel-drive system made for surprisingly composed off-road driving.
ADVANCED SAFETY FEATURES
Not long ago, systems that could warn drivers drifting into another lane or that had the ability to automatically stop a car from rear-ending another were the domain of luxury models. Both features are now available in the all-new Outlander. We tested these systems and were impressed with their responsiveness.
IMPRESSIVE AUDIO SYSTEM
We've long been fans of Mitsubishi's available Rockford-Fosgate premium audio. That system now has a welcome feature called Dolby Volume, which analyzes incoming music and evens out sound levels across devices. This way, you won't be blasted out of the vehicle when one recording is quiet and the next one isn't.
All 2014 Mitsubishi Outlanders have seating for seven across three rows. The third row is very small. When not in use it folds flat. Though not as cavernous as the past Outlander's cargo hold, space is still adequate in the more streamlined 2014 version. Folding all rear seats creates over 63 cubic feet of room. Up front, the dash and controls are clean and simple, but rather plain. The "soft-touch" dash materials are just barely that. Base ES models are even drabber, with dead spots taking the place of buttons reserved for higher trims. The available fake wood trim works, but the faux carbon-fiber accents don't.Exterior
The 2014 Outlander wears all-new and much different sheet metal than its predecessor. Though nearly the same size as the last-generation version, the new Outlander is defined by curves, not angles. Instead of sporting the sharp lines and attitude of the previous generation, the new Outlander now blends in with others in this segment. Call it the mainstreaming of Mitsubishi. Another major departure is in back. Gone is the helpful split-opening liftgate and tailgate that made loading a snap, replaced by a one-piece liftgate in the new Outlander. The tradeoff offers ease in its own right with optional power opening and closing.
The 2014 Outlander is available in three trims: ES, SE and GT. Base ES models are the least expensive and come with automatic climate control, keyless entry, a 140-watt AM/FM/CD audio system, and 16-inch steel wheels. SE and GT models come much better equipped with heated front seats, a color information screen, 18-inch wheels, a touch-based audio system, dual-zone climate control, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Those two higher trims also receive a standard backup camera. GT models come with all-wheel drive and a V6 engine in place of the 4-cylinder, rain-sensing wipers, and paddles for manual shifting. 2014 Outlanders carry Mitsubishi's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Among the more impressive options available in the 2014 Outlander are its forward-collision mitigation system and lane-departure warning, two advanced safety features that can prevent an accident. Thankfully, you don't have to buy a pricier top-end GT model to obtain these features – they are available in the mid-level SE trim, bundled in the Touring Package. The package also includes navigation, a power driver's seat, adaptive cruise control, a power sunroof, leather upholstery, and a power tailgate. Music lovers will enjoy the punch of the available 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system with nine speakers and a built-in subwoofer.
Outlander ES and SE models use a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower and powers either the front wheels or all four. The fuel-efficient engine runs on regular unleaded and has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. The Outlander GT uses a 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 224 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel drive. That more powerful engine uses premium gasoline and has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds. All Outlanders are equipped with automatic transmissions, either a CVT in 4-cylinder versions or a 6-speed automatic when equipped with the V6.
166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, estimated: 25/31 mpg (front-wheel drive), 24/29 mpg (all-wheel drive)
224 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
214 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, estimated: 20/28 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a base 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander ES is $23,820. Better-equipped SE models start at $24,620, and V6-powered GT trims start at $28,620. A top-of-the-line 2014 Outlander GT with the Touring package that includes safety features like automatic braking can reach nearly $35,000. Compared with the Outlander's closest competitor, the Kia Sorento, the Mitsubishi's starting price is more than $1,000 less. The larger Dodge Journey, meanwhile, starts around $20,000. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander. In terms of resale value, the Outlander has traditionally held up well with residuals on par with or even better than the Sorento, better than the Dodge Journey, but below 5-passenger crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson.
By suz on Friday, May 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Lots of premium options for the price i got,comfort and cargo area is great when i fold down the 3 seating area.The leather heated seats are primo! Got all the bells & whistles for 22,000.Sticker price was listed at 31,000.Got a great trade in on my '07 Outlander.Gas milage is around 28mpg's or more.The moon roof opens pretty wide,navigation is a plus especially when i back up and it shows a wide angle so i don't hit anything.I'm pleased!"
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Sissy on Tuesday, May 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,250overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Warranty, options"
Cons: "Too many electronics"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have only owned this for 2 months, 1250 miles. In the last 18 months have owned 2012 Camby, 2013 Escape, 2013 Rav4 & this Outlander. Loved my Escape, but lousy mpg (22). Believe or not but the Rav4 got the best mileage at 27.5, just praying Outlander does that or better, if so I would never trade it. The Rav4 cut out on me 3 times doing over 70, so I went with the OL. Love the warranty, love the highway drive and all the options. Just don't care for all the eletronics!! I like guages much better. Have gotten anywhere from 24 to 29 mpg, but this car is a keeper!!"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Bishe on Saturday, March 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel mileage, Body Integrity, excellent A/C & Heat"
Cons: "Can not adjust Navigation functions when moving"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Excellent in snow. First Outlander I owned that did not nick the sides from salt and cinder. Good on gas. 26 MPG country road driving. 28-30 highway. After 12K just normal maintenance needed."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Mo3551 on Thursday, March 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good visibility, lot of bang for the buck"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Looked at a couple of suv's. Went with the Outlander and have not regretted it for a minute. the CVT transmission is smooth, the engine (4cyl)has ample power and it is a joy to drive! Don't know what the big fuss is over the second row seat, it's really not that bad. Different but not necessarily bad. Getting about 28 mpg which is about what I expected. Recommend that anyone who is looking at a RAV4 or CRV check out the Outlander for thousands less. In this case, paying less does not mean that you get lower quality."
9 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By BB on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,580overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive"
Cons: "Bad design in 2nd row folding (or lack of)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"So my wife and I drove every midsized vehicle out there when shopping and it came down to this or the Kia Sorento. We chose the Outlander and we have been very happy with just a few cons. First the good. 1: Excellent mpg for class of vehicle. Averaging 25mpg mixed and on trips we have gotten 29-30mpg consistently. 2: Smooth quiet ride. Not a 10/10 but I was very impressed on how quiet rode and engine noise was. Also very smooth shifting with CVT transmission, barely know its shifting. 3: Good pep when not in ECO mode. I have found that in ECO mode you get a few mpg back but I don't like it when driving because there is a lag in acceleration, nice feature though. 4: Has been very reliable and absolutely no issues yet with performance and almost at 10k. 5: Amazing warranty options for vehicle 100k/10years power train standard and we paid $1200 more to bump bumper to bumper from 60k/5years to 100k/10years. 6: Really good 2nd row legroom, adults can easily fit compared to most vehicles we drove. 7: 3rd row is nice for convenience of hauling extra small kids (no adults though), also with 3rd row down trunk space is very spacious. 8: Love the dual air, makes for happy wife and me at same time, also dash and front layout is very clean and well done. 9: Nice to have rear view camera and HD radio (standard with SE) 10: Handles really well and love the feel of the vehicle on the road on trips, front seats are very comfortable for long trips. (We have done several already as we have only had vehicle for 7 months). 11: As someone else mentioned, I also do a lot of my own vehicle maintenance/work and the engine compartment and layout is impressive. The most roomy and spacious/well laid out that I have seen. Absolutely no complaints. 12: Have already driven in 3 snowstorms (6"-1foot snowfall) and I have been very impressed at handling (we only have 2WD), no complaints, haven't gotten stuck yet. The cons: (not many) 1: As someone else said, it is a shame that they didn't include better cargo space in car, and the trunk space in width is a little awkward for packing suitcases (can't fit 2 full sized suitcases side by side). If only it was 2-3" wider. 2: Don't mind the tire on underside myself because it would give more trunk space, yet they didn't give more trunk space.....high in the back. 3: Finally...the 2nd row seats don't fold down, they only fold forward and slide forward... so you do increase trunk space by like a foot or so but you have a really awkward 2nd row that is slid forward and not flat...very annoying and didn't notice it or was shown it at the dealer. Figured it out on first trip 1 month later. *FAIL* Overall, really really happy except #3 on cons. I would buy again and we love it overall. We have fit 5 adults and 2 kids in it very comfortably, but you don't have much trunk space at that point so would recommend roof rack for trips if you are going to drive full of passengers. Hope this helps! My personal opinion after the research I done is that it is the best in its class for mid $20k price range."
13 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By frederikfly on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, fuel efficient car, great for hauling"
Cons: "Seat folding complicated, premium recommended."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a lot of car for very little money. Even base GT provides lots of bells and whistles usually found on much more expensive cars/expensive add on packages (backup camera, dual zone AC, rain sensing wipers, all wheel drive, paddle shifters, automatic high power headlights, and keyless entry and engine start). Most important, its fun to drive. High driving position, solid road feel, and unlike many others, virtually no blind spots, thanks to great window design and huge outside mirrors. It has a fantastic instrument panel, one of the clearest and most easily readable I've ever seen. Appearance and powertrain are clearly optimized for gas milage but results speak for themselves (much better than other V6 cars, esp. considering AWD, 23 mixed, seen up to 27.7 on highway). Nonetheless, car accelerates fast and effortlessly. Its solid construction feels very capable of handling pretty much anything and it has much better load rating (GVWR) than others of its size. Thanks to being able to move the second row seats, third row seats are handy to have and 5-6 people have a lot of space and comfort. More importantly, seats fold flat. The suspension absorbs competently minor bumps while still maintaining a solid feel for the road. 18" alloy tires for better road grip, over 8" ground clearance, super small turning radius, very roomy inside, even at my 6'4", unobtrusive placement of the 12V outlets and proven reliability track record backed with 5-10 year warranties. We were checking out the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and test driving a Subaru Outback (very similar in most aspects but feels essentially designed as a passenger car, less capability for hauling loads), Ford Escape (great car, but more expensive, feels more complicated and still unproven reliability) and Ford Flex (great car, more space but not nearly as fuel efficient and ended up being to pricey for us). I feel the car combines many of the best aspects of all of them for less money."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful