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#23

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $22,995 - $27,795
Invoice: $22,024 - $26,621
MPG: 25 City / 31 Hwy
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Mitsubishi Outlander Performance

Reviewers say that the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander's available engines aren't very powerful and its continuously variable transmission is unrefined and noisy. One test driver says the Outlander handles fairly well for a crossover, but others say that rival SUVs have better handling. Another writes that the V6 model is more pleasing to drive, thanks to its peppier engine and six-speed automatic transmission.

  • "The Outlander is actually entertaining to fling around, not on the level of a BRZ but definitely in the same league as the Mazda CX-5; excellent company for a crossover." -- AutoWeek
  • "The one upside for the powertrain is an observed 23 mpg in mixed driving, a respectable figure for an SUV." -- Truck Trend
  • "Out on the road, the Outlander GT is the model that, for us, stood out from the crowd. The 224 horsepower 3.0-liter V6 carried over from the last-generation GT remains peppy and sporty sounding. While it isn't the best on fuel (rated at 20/28 mpg with a combined score of 23) with its six-speed automatic transmission, the GT's eagerness to please left us with a smile." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The Outlander comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 166 horsepower, which is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A 224-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 comes on the top GT-S trim and is paired with a six-speed automatic. At 25/31 mpg city/highway, the Outlander's fuel economy is good for a three-row midsize SUV.

Reviewers report that the Mitsubishi Outlander's acceleration with the base four-cylinder engine is largely unimpressive, and say that while the V6 feels stronger, it still isn't quite as potent as the V6 and turbocharged four-cylinder engines found in rivals. Critics also complain that the CVT makes an unpleasant droning sound when the Outlander is accelerating.

  • "While the economy improvements are unmistakable, expected to be on the order of 2 mpg each city and highway, a hard stab at the throttle still results in unimpressive acceleration and loads of droning engine noise. That said, it's not out of line with the experience found on many I-4 CVT vehicles these days from competitors such as Subaru and Nissan, so we suspect our objections aren't noticed by most of the crossover-buying public; in fact, during the kind of driving the average commuter experiences, the four-cylinder Outlander was perfectly adequate." -- AutoWeek
  • "Acceleration with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder won't stir your soul. If you mainly drive in town, you'll find its performance adequate, but there's really not enough power here for pleasurable highway travel. In addition, due to the nature of the CVT, accelerating up to freeway speeds has the engine at high rpm for prolonged periods of time, and the resulting noises are less than appealing. The V6 certainly sounds better and is more powerful, but it's still not as potent or enjoyable as the V6s and optional turbocharged four-cylinder engines found in rival models." -- Edmunds
  • "The surprise of the day was that we preferred the smaller engine and the CVT to the more expensive options in the GT." -- Autoblog
  • "The CVT is unfortunately the embodiment of all the negative stereotypes of the breed, and results in droning, monotone acceleration. Tests don't paint a much rosier picture, with a leisurely 9.4-second stroll to 60, and a 17.2-second quarter-mile run at 82.3 mph." -- Truck Trend

Handling and Braking

The Outlander comes standard with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is optional. Some reviewers say the Outlander has a comfortable ride, but not all agree about how good its handling is. One test driver says the steering requires a light touch, which aids turning in low-speed situations, but isn't as favorable for highway driving. This critic also says the brakes have sufficient stopping power, but that the brake pedal provides very little feel.

  • "Much of the 2014 Outlander's solid driving dynamics can be traced to a high-tensile steel diet, resulting in 220 lbs shed from last year's model, and a three-row crossover that weighs less than competitive two-row models like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. From behind the wheel, improved chassis stiffness and a decent electric power steering system actually make the weight loss feel even more pronounced." -- AutoWeek
  • "Handling around turns is secure, but overall, the latest Outlander isn't quite as sporty as its predecessors. If off-pavement driving is a priority, the Outlander has a leg up on many competitors in this price range, as its all-wheel-drive system offers selectable modes that provide a bit more capability on dirt roads and in deep snow." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling is also average, if not slightly below, for the class at 0.77g. The one upside is the Outlander has a surprisingly compliant, quiet ride for a small SUV." -- Truck Trend
  • "The non-variable-boost electric power steering delivers low-effort directional changes at all speeds, which is great for parking lots but not so great for the open road. The front strut, rear multilink suspension maintains composure during mild maneuvering, but understeer grows more pronounced as cornering forces build. Although we recorded a reasonable 175-foot 70-to-0-mph braking measurement, the Outlander's stop pedal is uncommunicative." -- Car and Driver
Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

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