REVIEW: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is a 7-Passenger Bargain

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Mitsubishi had a banner year in 2017 with its fifth consecutive calendar year of sales increases. Sales were up 7.7 percent over 2016 while the industry was down 1.8 percent. How’d they do it? Look no further than the Mitsubishi Outlander.

This three-row crossover has room for seven passengers with an affordable price tag even in its top trims. The base Outlander ES is priced at $23,945 making it a bargain-hunter’s dream. The top Outlander GT maintains the brand’s reputation for affordability with a starting price of $32,245.

Our test model was the SEL 2.4 which sits just below the top GT trim. Base price on this Outlander is $27,995 with an impressive list of standard features. There are halogen headlights, fog lights, heated power side mirrors, and roof rails.

Looking for a new or used Mitsubishi Outlander? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

Inside there are leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, and dual USB ports. A 7-inch touchscreen is now standard even on the base ES with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all but the base model. The Outlander excels at giving you a lot of car for your money.

Power comes from a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The GT gets a 3.0-liter V6 with 224 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed automatic. Our test model was the SEL with the smaller engine and it is the Outlander’s weak spot.

This is a 7-passenger crossover and it needs more power. It takes its time getting up to speed and passing on the highway is a challenge. The engine does deliver solid fuel economy with up to an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined. That said, you’re probably not buying a crossover for its performance. You’re buying it for it’s versatility and affordability, and on that front the Outlander delivers.

The second row split-folds 60/40 while the 50/50 split-folding third row folds flat for a level load surface. There’s 10.3 cubic feet for cargo behind the third row, 34.2 cubic feet behind the second row, and 63.3 cubic feet behind the third row. The Outlander can also tow up to 1500 pounds. That’s a lot of versatility for people and cargo.

Seating is comfortable up front, but a bit stiff for the second row. The third row is only suited to short trips for adults, but it’s just fine for the kids. It’s the kind of thing you can use on occasion, but adults are not going to want to sit back there for very long.

The ride is comfortable, but you will feel the potholes and rougher road surfaces produce noticeable road noise. This is an economical crossover and its affordability means it’s not as smooth or as quiet as more expensive competitors. How much this matters to you will help you decide whether it’s worth the tradeoff.

When it comes to safety, the Outlander does very well. It is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick with its highest rating of Good in all crash test performed. It also received a top rating of Superior for optional front crash prevention technologies.

Standard safety on the SEL includes blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, hill start assist, and multiple airbags. The SEL Touring Package at $3,000 added forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a multi-view camera. It also added a 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, heated steering wheel, and LED headlights and fog lights. Again, Mitsubishi is giving you a lot for your dollar. This isn’t a cheap package, but it’s a huge upgrade.

Looking for a new or used Mitsubishi Outlander? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is an affordable option for those in need of a 7-passenger crossover. It has a comfortable interior with flexibility for cargo and a solid infotainment system. Although performance is lacking, it’s affordability and strong safety ratings make it a worthwhile choice.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin