2018 Mitsubishi Outlander
Now in its third generation, the Mitsubishi Outlander is a seven-passenger crossover that straddles the line between the compact and midsize segments. It stands out as the most refined off-roader ever to wear a Mitsubishi emblem on the grille.
Mitsubishi gave the Outlander a new infotainment system for the latest model year. It also added more tech and safety features to the list of standard equipment.
The Outlander boasts an aerodynamic design that helps boost fuel economy. Its front end features wide angular headlights, a twin-slat radiator grille and two pieces of C-shaped chrome trim on either side of the bumper.
Out back, the SUV is fitted with LED tail lamps connected by an elegant strip of chrome trim as well as faux brushed aluminum accents and nearly vertical fog lights. Overall, the facelifted Outlander is markedly more upscale than any of its predecessors.
Recognizing the importance of a practical and high-quality cabin to crossover buyers, Mitsubishi created a simple, functional dashboard with user-friendly controls. Gloss-black trim, wood grain accents and soft-touch materials impart an upscale aesthetic, as do optional features like a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate stereo and an optional navigation system with weather, fuel price and real-time traffic info.
An available FUSE infotainment system lets drivers use voice commands to stream music from their MP3 player, place or receive calls and store contacts via Bluetooth. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are available.
The Outlander is one of the few crossovers in its competitive set to offer three rows of seating. The third row is handy for carrying children or smaller adults in a pinch, although it can seem cramped for longer journeys. Cargo space measures 10.3 cubic inches with all the seats in place; fold down the rearmost row, and there's 32.4 cubic feet, while 63.3 cubic feet are available with just the front seats upright.
The standard engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that pairs with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and produces 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque.
Buyers after more power can select a 3.0-liter V6 with 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. It shifts through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Four-cylinder Outlanders come standard with front-wheel-drive and offer all-wheel-drive as an option, while the V6 comes exclusively with all-wheel-drive. The AWD system, which Mitsubishi dubs Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC), runs in 2WD mode to save fuel until road or weather conditions call for AWD traction and features brake-based torque vectoring that helps to quell understeer.
Buyers seeking better fuel economy can select the gasoline-electric PHEV. Its drivetrain consists of a 117-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a pair of electric motors linked to a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Mitsubishi quotes an all-electric range of up to 22 miles. The battery can take an 80 percent charge in 25 minutes when using a quick charger, though users plugging in at home will need to wait 13 hours for a full charge.
Standard and optional features
The Outlander is offered in ES, SE, SEL and GT S-AWC trim levels.
The entry-level ES model comes standard with the four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, automatic headlights, heated door mirrors, tinted windows, 18-inch steel wheels, a temporary spare tire, cloth upholstery, a six-way adjustable driver's seat, a four-way adjustable passenger's seat, automatic climate control, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and hill start assist.
Stepping up to the SE model brings features such as keyless entry, heated front seats, a 6.1-inch touch screen, a rear-view camera and dual-zone A/C. It comes standard with front-wheel drive, and it can be upgraded with all-wheel drive at an extra cost.
The SEL model ups the ante leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and black roof rails. Also powered by the four-cylinder engine, it comes standard with front-wheel drive and it can be upgraded with all-wheel drive.
Finally, the range-topping GT model includes the more powerful V6 engine, a power glass sunroof, a 710-watt nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, a power liftgate, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with a HomeLink transceiver, power-folding mirrors, a windshield de-icer and LED headlights.
All Outlander models come standard with dual front, front side and 1st/2nd row side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag, traction and stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system.
As mentioned above, optional safety systems include a forward collision mitigation system that uses a radar to detect obstacles ahead of the Outlander and apply the brakes to prevent or lessen the severity of a crash, and a lane departure system that warns the driver if the crossover wanders into an adjacent lane.
If seven-passenger seating is a must for your future crossover, then the only similarly-sized alternatives to the Outlander are the Kia Sorento and the Volkswagen Tiguan.
If two rows of seating will do, then the list of rivals grows to include a plethora of excellent models such as the Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V, the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester.