The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander has a price advantage over major rivals and a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, but even the top-of-the-line 3.0 GT S-AWC sport utility lacks the promotional firepower of competitors.
Mitsubishi says it has made more than 100 improvements to its 2016 Outlander to make it more stylish and to provide better comfort and quietness.
The new Outlander has a redesigned fascia that gives it a more aggressive look, although some might say it looks overly aggressive. It also has a more refined feel due partly to a beefed-up structure. There also are chassis improvements, and added sound insulation results in a quieter interior. In all, occupants feel more isolated from the road.
The interior is upgraded to give it a more upscale appearance and there are a fair number of cabin storage areas. A third-row seat provides seating for seven.
I tested the $30,995 2016 Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC with its all-wheel-drive system called “Super All-Wheel Control” with an active front differential. The base front-drive Outlander, which I didn’t test, costs $22,995 with a 2.4-liter, 166-horsepower four-cylinder engine and less equipment.
The Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC has a strong 3-liter 224-horsepower V-6 and stable handling. It also has a power glass sunroof, remote power hatch and a premium 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system with nine speakers.
Additional equipment includes a color multi-information display, touch panel display audio system, supportive heated leather power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescopic wheel and power folding side-view mirrors to prevent damage in parking lots.
The Outlander also has cruise control, a pushbutton start, rearview camera, a roomy split 60/40 second row seat and a 50/50 third-row seat.
The third seat is mainly for kids and is tough to enter or leave, but folds flat to provide an impressively large cargo area.
In fact, getting in the Outlander 3.0 GT’s first- and second-row seats calls for a little extra effort because of a high floor, but occupants sit high and have good all-around visibility.
My test Outlander had a $3,350 option package that included a navigation system, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning.
Helping keep this SUV stable are active stability control and traction control “logic.” Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist provide good stopping power. The electric power steering has the right amount of quickness for a high, heavy SUV.
The ride is supple, but gets a little bouncy over some irregular surfaces.
The V-6 provides fast acceleration, while the 166-horsepower Outlander may have a hard time moving its 3,500 lb. weight.
The V-6 works with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted via steering wheel paddles. The four-cylinder model has a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
While the V-6 provides faster acceleration, the four-cylinder beats it on fuel economy, delivering an estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on highways. Figures with the V6 are 20 city and 27 highway.
Safety features include a driver’s knee air bag and side curtain air bags.
Nissan is buying a major stake in Mitsubishi. So expect Mitsubishi to become more visible in the United States, likely because Nissan will help give it more nameplates. The improved Outlander may get the extra exposure it deserves.
Check out this TFLcar video of a few of the Outlander’s competitors, the VW Tiguan and the Hyundai Santa Fe, taking on the Gold Mine Hill off-road challenge: