2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Starting MSRP: $22,995 - $30,995

Estimated MPG: 25 city / 31 hwy

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander distinguishes itself by being somewhat of an anomaly: It's a compact crossover offering third-row seating and accommodations for up to seven passengers. With its comfortable ride, ample tech amenities and attractive presentation, this Mitsubishi deserves consideration if you're seeking a crossover that delivers big passenger capacity in a smallish footprint.

By Warren Clarke
Last Updated 09/20/2016

For 2016, the Mitsubishi Outlander gets a mid-cycle refresh that adds panache to its sheet metal via revised front and rear fascias. Interior upgrades include a redesigned steering wheel, and the folding rear seat benefits from enhancements that foster smoother operation.

On the performance front, the Outlander's suspension has been retuned, and the SUV receives a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) designed to enhance acceleration and torque delivery.

Four trims are available: ES, SE, SEL and GT S. Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models are offered, and models with S-AWC in their monikers are all-wheel-drive variants.

Exterior

Exterior
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Compact SUVs are often cheerfully "cute ute" in their design, and we love them for it. However, if you've been hankering for a more assertive alternative, Mitsubishi has your SUV.

Viewed head-on, the Outlander intrigues with a Darth-Vader-style fascia reflecting its new-for-2016 Dynamic Shield design language. A color-keyed front bumper with gleaming silver accents makes a bold visual statement.

The Outlander's lines are long and sleek, and it all comes to together to give this crossover a look that's distinctly wagonlike from the side. All models feature color-keyed outer door handles.

A peek at the back reveals square, high haunches and angular design. All models come with LED rear combination taillights that border the broad rear windshield.

Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights, LED positioning lights, heated side mirrors, rear privacy glass and a rear window wiper and washer. Available features include rain-sensing wipers, silver or black roof rails and a power glass sunroof with one-touch open and close.

Our SEL S-AWC test vehicle was equipped with optional power-folding mirrors that tucked neatly into place whenever we exited the vehicle. This amenity was appreciated, as it gave us the peace of mind that comes with knowing the mirrors were unlikely to be bumped or bruised while the vehicle was parked.

Interior

Interior
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All Outlanders provide three rows with seating for up to seven passengers, and this is an unusual trait in the compact SUV segment. Still, given the cramped dimension of the 50/50 split-folding third-row seat, two of those seven passengers had better be pretty small in stature or they're not going to be happy stuck in the least spacious part of this SUV. Merely getting to the third row requires a fair amount of contortion.

Elsewhere, the 2016 Outlander is more accommodating. The 60/40 split-folding second-row seat reclines to optimize passenger comfort, and even base models come with an adjustable driver's seat and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel crafted to help the driver secure an ideal seating position. The second row flips down to make room for cargo, and upgrades for 2016 make this easier to accomplish than with previous models. There is ample legroom, especially in the first row.

The cabin is easy enough on the eyes, with attractive stitching and pleasant materials.

With the third row in place, the Outlander offers 10.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Lower the third row and this swells to 34.2 cubic feet. With both the second and the third rows folded, you'll have 63.3 cubic feet available to tote your belongings, and there's also additional storage capacity offered under the floor of the cargo area.

Our test vehicle was equipped with an optional remote power liftgate that made loading and unloading cargo a snap. With the touch of a button, the liftgate raises or lowers automatically, making it easy to access the hatch if you've got an armful of groceries.

Standard features include cloth seats, a four-way-adjustable front-passenger seat, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and soft-touch panels and door trim. Available upgrades include heated front seats, leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Performance

Performance
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Most Outlanders are equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine providing 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A 3.0-liter V6 is standard on the top trim level, and it offers 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. The four cylinder is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while the V6 is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Though the engine isn't quite as muscular as others in this segment, our test SUV's four cylinder did a solid job of providing the crossover with the power needed for acceleration and passing maneuvers. We enjoyed having access to the different drive modes provided. You can leave the car in Normal mode, or choose the Sport setting for slightly sharper response. There's also an Eco mode for maximum fuel efficiency.

The EPA rates front-wheel-drive Outlanders with the inline four at 25/31 mpg city/highway, and this is above-average for the segment. Add all-wheel drive and the four-cylinder Outlander gets 24/29 mpg city/highway. The all-wheel-drive V6 model gets 20/27 mpg and requires premium gas.

Technology

Technology
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The Outlander provides appealing technology amenities. All models come with a Fuse Hands-Free Link system with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and steering-wheel-mounted controls. A six-speaker 140-watt stereo is also standard, and it features CD/MP3 compatibility.

Optional features include a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system, satellite radio and HD radio. A navigation system is available on the SEL and higher trims, and it features a 7-inch touch screen, voice command, 3D mapping, point-of-interest information and real-time traffic updates.

There's also an available 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium sound system equipped with nine speakers, including a 10-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer. Our test car was equipped with this audio system, and sound quality was clear and sharp.

Safety

Safety
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In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, the all-wheel-drive Outlander scored a perfect five stars overall, while front-wheel-drive models earned four out five stars.

In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Outlander scored a top Good rating in all categories and an Advanced rating for front crash prevention. The crossover's scores earned it a 2016 Top Safety Pick+ designation.

The Outlander’s suite of standard air bags includes side curtain air bags, a driver's knee air bag and advanced dual-stage front air bags. All Outlanders come with stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and antilock brakes. Available safety features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The base Outlander ES starts at $22,995, not including an $895 destination charge. SEL S-AWC models like our test SUV start at $26,995, and the range-leading GT S-AWC starts at $30,995. Unless you need all-wheel drive, we'd recommend the SEL trim, since it provides access to the navigation system, the upgraded stereo, the power liftgate and the active safety features. These are bundled in with various packages.

An Outlander SEL equipped with all these amenities will cost just over $31,000. A similarly equipped Hyundai Santa Fe - a rival model that also seats seven - costs over $38,000, and the Santa Fe has a starting price of $30,400.

The Outlander offers seven-passenger capacity and a long list of features at a relatively affordable price.

Overall

Overall
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The compact crossover segment is still relatively new, but it's popular with car shoppers, and this led manufacturers to provide a diverse array of choices. Whether you're looking for luxury or performance, there is something in this segment to meet your requirements.

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander will be a satisfying companion for those with certain needs. It's a solid choice for families who need compact seven-passenger transportation that's both affordable and loaded with amenities, and it delivers these attributes with a fair amount of style and flair.