SEATTLE. There’s no doubt that Mitsubishi has made some strides with the Outlander over the past few years. For its price, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC offers a host of features and conveniences often reserved for more costly vehicles. It’s a three-row crossover SUV that has a seating capacity for seven.
- Engine: 2.4 liter inline 4, SOHC, 16 Valves
- Horsepower: 166hp
- Torque: 162lb./ft.
- Fuel Consumption: 24MPG City/29 MPG Highway
- Price as Tested: $32,280
Need for speed?
Our test model has the standard 2.4-liter engine that has only 166 horsepower with 162 lb-ft of torque. With a zero to sixty time over just over 9-seconds, it’s easily one of the slowest vehicles we’ve tested in this class. In fact, you could say that its highly underpowered engine is the Achilles heel of the Outlander. Its standard issue continuously variable transmission (CVT) doesn’t help here either. There is an available V6 engine with a six-speed transmission, however. But it’s only available in the GT model.
While engine power isn’t exactly the forté of the Outlander, it does have a great deal going for it in addition to its attractive price point. First off, it’s the only seven seater crossover we know of for under $25,000 and it has gone through some nifty refinements over the past few years.
In addition, its EPA rating is 25 miles per gallon around town and up to 30 mpg on the highway. That’s quite good for a vehicle of its size and weight. So while the Outlander doesn’t have a lot to offer in available power, it may still be attractive to drivers wanting a 7-seater that still gets reasonably good gas mileage.
Mitsubishi Outlander interior refinements
Inside the Outlander, you’ll find some great-looking leather surfaces that combine with other elements that give it the overall look and feel of a vehicle costing much more. Its Rockford Fosgate-powered infotainment system features a 7-inch screen, is very responsive to touch and provides really nice audio performance. Of course, with a dedicated sub-woofer, its bass response is excellent. High frequencies come soaring through its speaker system as well. The sound only gets a bit muddled in mid-range frequencies.
There’s also subscription-ready AM/FM/Sirius Satellite Radio and CD/MP3/WMA playback as well as Bluetooth audio. Getting your phone synced with Bluetooth is a snap. But it doesn’t make much sense that hands-free calls volume is only available via the right-hand speakers. On the plus side, the built-in navigation is intuitive and can have its mapping updated via an SD card.
Adaptive cruise control is a part of the SEL touring package and works reasonably well. However, it can be a bit quirky at times. It can speed-up and then brake for seemingly no reason while you’re using it on extended freeway trips.
Also include in the touring package: lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, auto high-beam, tilt-slide sunroof, the aforementioned Rockford Fosgate audio system, heated steering wheel, multi-view camera and LED fog lights/headlights.
Ride and handling issues need work
When it comes to ride and handling, there’s remains a great deal to be desired in this vehicle. The Outlander does exhibit quite a bit of body roll. And its ride can come across as being a bit too harsh when you encounter those inevitable bumps in the road. On the safety side, though, braking is solid and the Outlander stops reasonably quickly without any noticeable brake fade, even under heavy use.
All in all, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander offers decent value for those who want an affordable, seven-seat crossover SUV, even though it is gutless without that optional V6. We’d recommend test driving the Outlander and making up your own mind. If you do, we’re quite certain you’ll want to opt for the V6 engine available in the GT model.
On balance, it’s been great to see the positive evolution of the Outlander over the past few years, and the 2018 model year is easily the best so far. When you factor in its price and features, it certainly does prove to be a crossover SUV that’s worth a look.
— Headline image: Exterior view, 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander.