2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is a vehicle that tries very
hard to not be just another compact crossover SUV. Just
check out that odd bit of black and silver plastic above
the front grille.
consider that, despite its 183.3-inch length, the
Outlander has three rows, whereas most competitors have
two. While this might be a salient selling feature, in
practice, it reduces legroom in the second row and
diminishes cargo volume to a Lilliputian 10.3 cubic feet
when in use.
give them points for trying. Besides, the second row has
a comfortably high seating position, even if headroom is
tight. The front seats are the roomiest, although they
are relatively flat and lack support.
it turns out, Mitsubishi’s attempt at cramming three
rows into a space better suited for two is its most
unusual feature. The rest of the vehicle is
Outlander’s cabin is better than past Mitsubishi
products, with a padded instrument panel and attractive
piano black or wood trim. But its design doesn’t
particularly stand out.
said, the 7-inch touch screen, part of an optional
Touring Package, is lined on either side with an array
of convenient, if small, buttons. A tuning knob for the
radio is welcome, as are the clean, easy-to-read
graphics on the screen.
system’s phone interface is poor, however. When in
use, all screen information, including the clock,
disappears. It just reads "telephone." It
doesn’t list to whom you’re talking, or the phone
number. Even worse, the system doesn’t allow you to
use other phone features while driving. Instead, you
must use voice commands. Since the system never
accurately understood my voice, I couldn’t use the
phone in the car.
are three Outlander trim levels: ES, SE and GT. Base ES
models and mid-level SE come with front-wheel drive.
All-wheel drive, which Mitsubishi — for some unknown
reason — calls "Super-All Wheel Control," is
offered on the SE and is standard on the top-of-the-line
and SE models are equipped with a 166-horsepower,
2.4-liter single-overhead cam four-cylinder engine and
continuously variable automatic transmission. GT models
get a 224-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 and six-speed
automatic transmission. The four-cylinder uses regular
unleaded; the V-6 requires premium.
sent an all-wheel-drive SE with the Touring Package,
which adds lane-departure warning, forward-collision
mitigation, adaptive cruise control, power glass
sunroof, leather seating surfaces, a 710-watt Rockford
Fosgate audio system, satellite radio, power driver’s
seat, fake wood trim, power tailgate, automatic
headlights and rain-sensing wipers.
a lot of gear, most of which I really appreciated. The
audio system furnished great sound, the automatic
tailgate and rain-sensing wipers were handy. And the
safety systems were appreciated, although the
lane-departure warning sounded every time I clipped an
apex while cornering. But turning it off, or, for that
matter, resetting the trip computer, meant leaning
around the steering wheel to hit the buttons buried on
the left side of the instrument panel.
annoying: the parking brake that’s on the right side
of the center console, rather than the left.
for this vehicle’s performance, it was, like the rest
of the vehicle, rather ordinary.
four-cylinder engine’s power is adequate at best,
furnishing just enough acceleration to prevent other
motorists from getting impatient. It’s aggravated by
an Eco mode that slows performance even further. And
flogging the engine only makes it moan louder, as the
transmission sluggishly responds to your request for
more power. Add road and tire noise, and you have a
rather noisy cabin.
ride is firm and body motions are well-controlled, but
the Outlander’s overall manner isn’t particularly
athletic. Whatever nimbleness it possesses comes from
said, if things go wrong, rest assured this vehicle is
safe. It has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety’s highest safety award.
there’s nothing terribly wrong with the Outlander,
there’s nothing to recommend it over its many
similarly priced competitors. It’s just another
unexceptional consumer product.
2.4-liter SOHC four-cylinder
space: 10.3-63.3 cubic feet
rating (city/highway): 24/29 mpg
consumption: 27.5 mpg
price, base model, excluding destination charge: $22,995
price, test model, excluding destination charge: $25,795