Previous experience with Mitsubishi products may have tainted my perception of the brand for the worse. Not that they’re terrible cars, or that I’ve heard rumor that they are unreliable. No, it’s just that they feel a bit gimmicky, as if they’re angling to grab the attention of young buyers more interested in disco lights and subwoofers than a quality driving experience. Has Mitsubishi changed their tune for 2018?
First impressions upon climbing behind the wheel might be, “wow, there’s an awful lot of plastic used inside this car.” The dash lacks a little design continuity from one side to the other, but how often do you sit and meditate on your dash? Set in the dash is a seven inch touch screen infotainment interface that features Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Relative to other infotainment options, Carplay is a dream to operate, which is a plus for the Outlander. The Rockford Fosgate stereo pushes 710-watts through nine speakers including a subwoofer in the rear cargo area. The sub seems like a holdover gimic from a time when Mitsu angling for the young and hip, but audiophiles may appreciate it.
The second and third row seats lay flat for an open cargo space. Pull the handle to fold the second row down and the seat bottom leaps forward on springs. It’s a small joy to behold. This is technically a seven seater, but the third row seats are not really a viable option for adults. The interior does feel a little chintzier than other crossovers in its class, but if you have a load of kids and their friends tearing it apart, maybe you’ll mourn the stained upholstery and sticky cup holders a little less
The body was updated in 2015. This wasn’t an all out makeover, but more of a gentle massage. It holds up though, and definitely looks better than the over-bite aesthetic pre-2012 predecessor. It looks a little dated today, but mostly because it’s not chasing current trends. For example, it has reasonably sized brand marques on the grille and liftgate rather than the jumbo logos found on lots of other brands.
The 224 horsepower V6 in the GT S-AWD is enough to deliver adequate acceleration. However, the six speed auto transmission does feel a little indecisive at times. The adaptive cruise control could be smoother, but it hardly merits mention. Steering feel is above average for a crossover but is a bit let down by the marshmallowy suspension that allows pretty noticeable body roll. Honestly though, if you’re looking for a vehicle to carve up windy roads, you’re probably not shopping for crossovers in this price range.
The GT touring package features cross traffic alert and bird’s eye view which makes negotiating parking lots a breeze. Inside the cabin it is quiet and comfortable at highway speeds.
When you consider the the price to seating ratio, the Outlander seems like a lot of car for the money. When you begin racking up the optional extras, the deal seems even sweeter. And if going green is your thing, Mitsubishi offers a plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander. Relative to its smaller sibling, the Outlander Sport, this vehicle feels a little more grown up, which is a move in the right direction for Mitsubishi. It’s a three row SUV starting under $24k, keep that in mind and you won’t be disappointed.