This week, I am driving the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander. In a month or so, we should see a completely new version of the Outlander that will launch as a 2014 model. In the ultra competitive Compact Crossover segment, this model is outdated, so the new version will be welcome. Available with either 5 or 7 passenger seating, front wheel drive or all wheel drive, the Outlander is one of the bright spots in the Mitsubishi lineup.
Outside, the Outlander looks sharp, that is if you like the polarizing grille. Otherwise, the Outlanders lines are sharp and aggressive. In the past, Mitsubishi was known for good looking design, with models like the Eclipse and the Montero leading the way. I have seen spy shots of the new Outlander, and they look promising.
Inside, the Outlander’s cabin is spacious for its segment. Mitsubishi says that the third row seats are useful, but I tend to disagree. The seats are too flimsy anyway, so why have them? Without the third row, the cargo areas is one of the biggest, and very useful. The dash and center stack is well set up, but I wish the NAV and Telematics system used knobs instead of rocker switches. While it works well, it is unnecessarily complex.
The layout and design overall are good, and my test model GT was comfortable on a trip. I did appreciate the cupholders and abundance of cubbyholes and storage bins. What I didn’t like was the center armrest’s sliding cushion that slid back and forth whenever you leaned on it.
On the road, the cabin was unnecessarily noisy for a $33k vehicle. Some added sound deadening would be very welcome. Otherwise, ride and handling was sporty and good. Performance was very good courtesy of the 230 hp, 3.0 V6 and the six speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are included, but I never wanted to use them and wondered why they were even there. The All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) has three settings: Tarmac/Snow/Lock that seemed to work well.It also had Active Front Differential, and Hill Start Assist.
EPA fuel economy estimates for this vehicle are 19 city/ 25 hwy. I averaged 18, hopefully, the new model will do better.
All in all, there were a lot of things I liked about the Outlander, and several things I didn’t like. I think for one, the new model needs to be priced a lot more competitively to be successful in its ultra competitive segment.
I give it a 3 out of 5 stars.