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Be the first to review this 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.

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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
New Car Test Drive


The Mitsubishi Outlander is a seven-passenger SUV designed with restraint to be practical for families, not intended to be bold. It’s revamped for 2016 with exterior changes to make it look more distinctive, including a new nose, alloy wheels, and LEDs uses for the tail lights.

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander cabin features 31 improvements, including more sound insulation, better door sealing, and upgraded windshield and door glass, making the it one of the quietest cars in its crossover class. Mechanically there’s a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) and refinements to the suspension to improve the handling and ride.

Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional.

The Outlander is an easy-driving crossover that’s quiet, comfortable, and well-mannered, although it’s also soft and detached from the road.

The Mitsubishi Outlander is about the same size as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester. Inside, however, it seems roomier. Its standard third-row seat is very low and only big enough for kids, much like the optional third rows on the Nissan Rogue and Kia Sorento.

The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 166 horsepower and gets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg combined, with a responsive new CVT that enables it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph about one significant second quicker.

The Outlander GT model uses 3.0-liter V6 that makes 224 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel drive, and it sounds nice, but it offers only mediocre performance on premium fuel and gets just 23 mpg combined. It can tow 3500 pounds, while the Outlander ES and Outlander SE models are rated for just 1500.

The Outlander gets top ratings in every category of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) tests, earning the coveted Top Safety Pick+ status. In government tests it gets four stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact. Available active safety features include forward-collision and lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control.

Model Lineup

The Outlander comes in three models: Outlander ES ($22,995), Outlander SE ($23,995), Outlander GT ($30,995).

Outlander ES comes with climate control, fabric upholstery, Bluetooth, and six-speaker 140-watt sound system. Options include leather, premium audio, and a power lift gate.


The new front end of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander has flair, with styling the company calls its Dynamic Shield, derived from the good-looking Montero SUV. The hood has been made smoother by eliminating the center crease, and there is more chrome, reminiscent of fangs, to make it look more assertive around the new bumper. The Outlander’s new design is not entirely sporty, but it does pop like never before. In profile it might even be compared to the beautiful new Volvo XC90. Although not in detail, as all the shiny plastic and chrome looks a little cheap.


The interior feels spare and understated, not particularly eye-catching or harmonious, but warm and accommodating. It’s highly functional, with a simple and refreshingly straightforward instrument panel that doesn’t have a lot of buttons.

For 2016, the furry old headliner has been replaced by a smoother and more modern material. The upholstery fabric is improved, instrument cluster gets contrast stitching, leather-trimmed steering wheel gets accents, and center console gets padding, and plastic faux wood has been eliminated. The Mitsubishi cabin is now equal in quality to the competition.

Every Outlander has three rows of seating, and the first two rows are supremely comfortable. The front seats are supportive for taller folks and offer a great driving position. The second row isn’t flat and hard, and although it doesn’t slide forward like other three-row cars, it easily folds flat for a large cargo area, with a small storage compartment in the floor, good for hiding a laptop or purse.

The third row is nearly five inches wider than before, with 2.4 inches more legroom, but it’s still too low to be useful by adults.

Driving Impressions

The four-cylinder engine that comes standard in the Mitsubishi Outlander does not deliver much motivation for a 3,500-pound vehicle, but at least the new transmission makes it quicker than before, because that CVT is considerably more responsive. It’s the latest unit, called the CVT8, with a lower ratio for a better launch from a standing start as well as reduced rpm on the freeway. It’s at ease on flat roads at lower speeds, but it’s indecisive on uphill grades, and we’d say it’s barely adequate for this seven-passenger vehicle.

The 3.0-liter V6 that comes in the GT is disappointing for a couple of reasons. Its torque only comes on at higher revs, and not only is it thirsty at 23 mpg, it needs Premium gasoline. At least its 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters spices up the drive.

The suspension is typical for a crossover, with MacPherson struts in front and a new multi-link rear geometry. To improve the ride and handling, Mitsubishi reinforced the front suspension crossmember, changed the front and rear spring rates, retuned the front shocks, and replaced the rear shocks with larger ones. Mitsubishi says the suspension is sportier, but we’d say it’s still far from sporty. However it’s less harsh than before, and will better satisfy shoppers in this class.

The electric power steering is precise and firm, making the turn-in confidence-inspiring.

Mitsubishi has many years of experience with all-wheel drive, including professional rally racing. The latest system is called S-AWC, and features an electronically controlled center coupling and open rear differential. It uses a separate active front diff to get the optimum torque split in every situation, including when just one wheel is on ice. We were able to test the Outlander off the highway and found the suspension and AWD are quite capable on unpaved trails.


Despite its flaws, if you need a seven-seat affordable family crossover SUV, the Outlander SE is the best bang for the buck.

Driving impressions by Bengt Halvorson. Sam Moses contributed to this review.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
New Car Test Drive


The five-passenger Mitsubishi Outlander Sport makes a play with its economical price and sportier-than-average styling. Not to be confused with the regular Outlander, the Outlander Sport is shorter, lighter, and easier to maneuver and park. The junior crossover in the lineup, it’s more of a lifestyle vehicle than a family hauler, likely to appeal to active singles and young couples.

The Outlander Sport has been around since 2011. The 2016 Outlander Sport receives a new grille and wheels to keep things looking fresh. The inside gets some updates for 2016 as well, including a redesigned steering wheel and larger infotainment display screen. There’s also a new 2016 Outlander Sport SEL with leather upholstery standard.

The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 148 horsepower and comes with your choice of a 5-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

However, most models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which puts out 168 horsepower and comes only with the CVT. All-wheel drive is available with both engines, but requires the CVT.

When equipped with the 2-liter and CVT, the Outlander Sport is EPA rated at 24/32 mpg City/Highway and 27 mpg Combined, the best showing in the lineup. With the more powerful 2.4-liter under the hood, you’re looking at 23/28 mpg City/Highway and 25 mpg Combined. Adding all-wheel drive to either engine drops these ratings by about 1 mpg.

Model Lineup

Outlander Sport ES ($19,595) comes standard with the 2-liter engine, plus features like heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system. ES models are available with the 2.4-liter ($21,295).

Outlander Sport SE ($22,495) gets the 2.4-liter engine as standard, plus heated front seats, keyless ignition, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and an upgraded sound system.

Outlander Sport SEL ($23,995) adds more in the way of comfort and convenience, including leather upholstery, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers and headlamps, and shift paddles for the CVT. Outlander Sport GT ($25,995) receives a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlamps, ambient LED lighting, and a Rockford Fosgate sound system. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)


Outlander Sport looks a little more refined and sedate for 2016 thanks to the revised front end, which was cribbed from the larger Outlander. The previous bluntness has been cured, albeit at the loss of some sportiness. The addition of LED running lights and thick chrome trim goes a long way to disguise the Sport’s bargain mission.

The Outlander takes up no more space than a compact passenger car. In fact, its width and height are about the same as that of a Mitsubishi Lancer sedan. The overall shape is similar to a tall wagon or hatchback, but the standard 18-inch wheels and chunky lower-body moldings keep it looking like a proper crossover. Although the styling is familiar, it remains rather attractive, even charming depending on your perspective.


Clever interior packaging yields more passenger room than expected in a vehicle of such tidy dimensions. Two adults or three children can fit comfortably in the back, and there’s a nifty center pass-through that lets you carry long items and two people at the same time. All seats are positioned relatively high for fine visibility and topped with nicely contoured headrests.

The car-like ride height makes it easy to get in and out, and takes the strain off your back when loading groceries and toddlers. With the rear seat folded, the Outlander Sport offer 49.5 cubic feet of flat cargo space. That’s not bad for the smallest class of crossover, but well shy of standard compacts like Ford Escape or Honda CR-V.

The upright dashboard features faux carbon trim, red-lit gauges, and a few bright accents. The layout is clean and uncluttered, though not particularly beautiful. You’ll still find plenty of hard plastic surfaces, even though most competitors have gone soft-touch. The quality of materials is closer to what we expect in an economy car rather than a family vehicle. This is one area where the Outlander Sport’s easy price becomes apparent.

Driving Impressions

Perhaps the Outlander Sport’s strongest suit is how it handles the road. Steering is light and very responsive. You’ll find none of the unwanted body motions that sometimes haunt taller vehicles. When it comes to overall agility, especially in urban settings, the Sport surpasses the average crossover by a significant margin.

The same can’t be said of engine performance. The 2-liter feels just adequate with the manual transmission and sluggish when paired with the CVT. It’s also quite chatty most of the time and downright noisy under full throttle. The 2.4-liter engine makes the Outlander Sport significantly quicker, though it’s not much quieter. Mitsubishi added more sound insulation last year, but the Sport is still a loudmouth compared to small crossovers from the big brands. We suspect this issue will linger until it’s blessed with newer, more refined engines.

In better news, braking performance was impressive for this class. The Outlander Sport stops with confidence, and the pedal feels just firm enough to be reassuring. Add in its nimble handling, and the Sport feels decidedly spunky in city driving.


The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport accomplishes what it sets out to do: provide genuine crossover style and versatility for the price of a hatchback. As tempting as that sounds, buyers should know that a high level of refinement isn’t part of the equation.

Sam Moses contributed to this report, with driving impressions by The Car Connection.

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