Among compact crossover SUVs, the Mitsubishi Outlander offers distinctive styling and remains one of the few models with a third-row seat. Introduced for 2003, the Outlander is now in its third generation and comes with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive.
2014 to Present: Mitsubishi Outlander
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a compact SUV that’s slightly larger than other vehicles in its class. The related Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is slightly smaller, with dimensions that are more typical in this segment.
All Outlander models are marked by a bold front fascia featuring a narrow upper grille and a larger lower grille opening. Along the sides, the Mitsubishi Outlander has a sloping roofline, upper character lines, lower body sculpting and steel or alloy wheels. At the rear, the fascia is marked by large, wraparound combination lights and reflectors.
Inside, the Mitsubishi Outlander offers room for seven with three rows of seats. The third row has minimal legroom, even for young teens. With all seats up, the Outlander has just 10.3 cubic feet of storage capacity. However, with the third-row seat folded the Outlander offers a generous 34.2 cubic feet of storage space, which is expandable to 63.3 cubic feet behind the first row.
The Outlander’s dashboard offers a clean design that includes an instrument panel featuring a pair of analog displays for the tachometer and speedometer. Most of the remaining vehicle information appears in a digital display.
In 2015, Mitsubishi released several updates to the Outlander, including a new grille design. The automaker also added a USB port and Bluetooth to the base Outlander, as well as its Fuse hands-free link system. Other changes made a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob standard.
For 2016, Mitsubishi once again updated the Outlander’s front fascia, redesigning the front fenders and the LED position lights. Changes to the lower door sections, rear fascia and LED taillights are also apparent. Inside, Mitsubishi made a new navigation system available and redesigned the third-row seat for easier folding. The steering wheel was redesigned and the seating surfaces were improved.
The base engine is a 166-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A 224-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 engine is available and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Outlander’s chief competitors include the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox and Nissan Rogue. Buyers might also compare the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester and Kia Sportage.
Earlier Mitsubishi Outlander Models
The first-generation Mitsubishi Outlander was introduced in 2003 and stayed in production through 2006.
Upon its release, the Mitsubishi Outlander was powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 140 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard at launch. The automatic became optional for 2005 as a standard five-speed manual transmission was introduced.
For 2007, Mitsubishi released the second-generation Outlander, which grew in size with nearly two extra inches between the wheels. The extra space made it possible to add a third-row seat, which was something offered by competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe. That seat, however, is quite small and is best used by children and for short trips.
The second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander introduced several new features including an available a 650-watt audio system, navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system and Bluetooth connectivity.
At launch, the second-generation Outlander came with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 3.0-liter V6 engine making 220 horsepower. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine returned for 2008 and is paired with a CVT.