By on December 26, 2014

Mitsubishi Outlander whitePriced at $40,538 in Canada, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT I drove around for a week in December was disturbingly overpriced.

In the United States, Outlanders start at $24,050. But the GT S-AWC starts at $29,045 with all-wheel-drive, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a V6 engine in place of the 4-cylinder/CVT combo. A $6100 Touring package for buyers who want leather, sunroof, upgraded audio, a powered driver’s seat and tailgate, navigation, and a handful of active safety features takes the price up to $35,145.

(Bizarrely, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC Touring includes lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, but no blind spot monitoring.)

The issue isn’t the manner in which the Outlander’s MSRP compares to the price of other similarly sized two-row utility vehicles. Rather, the problem as I see it is Mitsubishi’s desire to charge the kind of money other automakers are charging for genuine three-row family crossovers.

Mitsubishi OutlanderGranted, the Outlander isn’t deserving of criticism because it fails so miserably in any one facet. In fact, the Outlander is simply mediocre in every way. It therefore quickly becomes forgettable, not worthy of mention for any reason other than the combination of tidy exterior dimensions with seven-passenger seating.

Perhaps we got off to a rough start, the Mitsubishi Canada-supplied Outlander and I. Although I’ve read multiple accounts from other publications describing the fits-all-sizes comfort of the Outlander’s driver’s seat, I spent a week failing to find the proper setup for my lanky frame. It’s a personal concern, one which may not apply to your body type, but a seat cushion lacking length and a limited amount of overall adjustment led me to a state of constant discontent.

Second row space is acceptable, however, and access into the third row isn’t as awkward as I expected in a vehicle that’s only five inches longer than a Ford Escape. Yet once back there, well, who goes back there? Who in my life is deserving of that kind of punishment? There’s a decent amount of space for a load of groceries behind the third row (it’s difficult to expect more from most three-row crossovers regardless of size), so Mitsubishi could shove the seat back a smidge. As it stands, this isn’t so much a third row for emergencies as it is a third row for emergencies in which you literally take prisoners. The same can’t be said for the third row in the Dodge Durango, which can be had for less money.

TTAC 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT wheel V6 badgeRegardless of the row you inhabit, the overall sensation delivered by the 183-inch-long Outlander’s interior does not pertain to smallness or largeness but to cheapness. This feels like 2007-grade material quality. Although all of the third-generation Outlander’s body parts are different from the second-gen’s, at its core, this feels like a lighter, updated version of a vehicle which debuted in second-gen form for MY2007. Interior controls are simple enough, but the buttons surrounding the Rockford Fosgate radio unit are tiny and chintzy. The cabin isn’t what you’d call loud, nor is it quiet. One unfortunate caress of the headliner will lead you to believe Mitsubishi sourced the fabric from the late 80s. There are hard, scuffable plastics everywhere you look and touch. This is not the interior of a Toyota Highlander, which can be had for less money.

In motion, the Outlander does redeem itself somewhat. The electrically assisted power steering is nicely weighted and promptly responsive. Ride quality isn’t reflective of the Outlander’s 105.1-inch wheelbase as the comfort-minded suspension and stiff structure don’t allow particularly harsh impacts to transfer to the Outlander’s occupants.

There’s even an initial sense of discreet sportiness, although the Outlander doesn’t possess the limits of the Mazda CX-5, for instance. Instead, when pushed only slightly, the Outlander is more composed than many of the most dynamic small crossovers, but it falls apart more quickly if you decide to drive more enthusiastically than most small crossover owners would.

Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive technology features special lock, snow, and eco modes. Called S-AWC for Super All-Wheel Control, the Outlander’s all-wheel-drive system is not available on the ES, it’s a $2000 (USD) option on the SE, and it’s standard on the GT. Although the Outlander’s 6-speed automatic is a willing partner, the naturally-aspirated 3.0L V6 (227 horsepower at a lofty 6250 rpm, 215 lb-ft of torque at 3750 rpm) with which it’s paired doesn’t have what it takes to match turbo four-cylinder powerplants, lacks all manner of low-end punch, and becomes coarse and unruly at higher rpm. By comparison, the 3.3L V6 in Hyundai’s three-row Santa Fe, which can be had for less money, feels like all-American muscle.

TTAC Mitsubishi Outlander GT interiorI wouldn’t bother to draw attention to much larger competition like the Durango (201 inches long), Highlander (191), or Santa Fe (193) if the Outlander lived up to its window sticker, its spec sheet, and its options list.

But at this price? For a vehicle of this size? The sunroof is small; not remotely panoramic. The LDW tended to beep when no beep was necessary and failed to beep when it should have. In complete contradiction to its intended purpose, Mitsubishi’s keyless go – they call it FAST-key – required me to remove the key from my pocket almost every time I tried to get in the Outlander. A third row this snug is not a selling feature. A V6 engine could be a key selling feature, but not when it’s the second-least powerful V6 engine on the market today. (Lexus’s 2.5L in the IS250 makes just 204 horsepower.) The Outlander’s 227-horsepower V6 drinks premium fuel at a rate of a gallon every 21 miles, just like the 340-horsepower Porsche Macan S in which we averaged 21 miles per gallon.

The Porsche can’t be had for less money.

If you can find your local Mitsubishi dealer, you’ll discover that the Outlander won’t be the slowest or the thirstiest SUV. It won’t be the smallest, nor will it be the largest. The Outlander isn’t the most overindulgent, nor is it the most under-equipped. It’s not the prettiest, nor is it the ugliest. It’s not fun to drive like some small crossovers, but it’s not annoying like some others. As a result of its failure to do any one thing particularly well, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC is thoroughly underwhelming. I’m not inclined to call it a bad vehicle – the Outlander is average in too many ways to earn such a label. Its price, however, is not average. For less money, you can do better.

Perhaps we shouldn’t expect modern results without modern kit underhood. And perhaps we shouldn’t be charged modern prices for outdated vehicles. So say the tens of thousands of small crossover buyers who reject the Outlander each month. For every Outlander sold in America over the last eleven months, its three most direct three-row competitors – Rogue, Sorento, Journey – have generated 30 sales. But can Mitsubishi do better? You bet they can, and a plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander is coming in the near future. If nothing else, that level of technology will be something that sets the Outlander apart.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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54 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “comfort-minded suspension and stiff structure don’t allow particularly harsh impacts to transfer to the Outlander’s occupants.”

    Finally, a car Fit-for-pete

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’m so accustomed to seeing the bargain basement versions of their vehicles I forgot that Mitsubishi made loaded up versions.

  • avatar
    natrat

    the plug in should be the game changer, it’s doing well in europe. No other phev suvs so it should help mitsu in this country

  • avatar
    mhickman73

    I have a 2009 Outlander V6 XLS. Yes, the interior has a sea of cheap plastic, and the engine can be noisy at 4000 RPM. However, I find it to be a superior vehicle to a CR-V and on par with a RAV4. And of course it was $5000 less than an equal year/option/mileage RAV4.

    A used one can definitely be a Steve Lang “Hit em where they ain’t” value. Although, I agree with Mr. Cain…that’s an exorbitant price for a 2015. You’re starting to approach Acura MDX money.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      Bravo for defending your investment with strong words. The majority of Earth disagrees with your assessment, but I can respect someone who flies in defiance of the norm.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      > a superior vehicle to a CR-V and on par with a RAV4

      I admire your frugality, but you are being delusional there. In what ways is an Outlander superior to a CR-V? Certainly not engine/drivetrain, NVH, quality of materials, or resale value. RAV4 might be a closer call in some categories, but not “on par”.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        God any Mitsu these days has worse resale value than any other competitor in its class, no matter which model you’re talking about.

        Don’t nobody got time for no Diamante.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Far and away the worst rental cars I’ve had this past year were a a) Mitsubishi Outlander and b) Mitsubishi Lancer. Both had high (for a rental car) mileage of 30k, and both felt like they were falling apart. The cars’ CVTs made some very worrying groaning noises, the Outlander had some sort of exhaust-related rattle, and a slight clunk in the suspension. Speaking of suspension, the Outlander was uncomfortably stiff, everyone in the car remarked on it. The lancer was a bit softer but still pretty firm and did infact handle on ramps with gusto. Both cars had very horrible, cheap plastics. Made my 2012 Civic feel like an Audi.

    Quite literally the only selling point these cars have is that Mitsubishi will finance them to anyone with a pulse.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    How the hell is this company still alive?

    I actually had a 2000 Galant which was one of the worst cars I’ve ever owned. The only thing worst than its reliability (I won’t even get into interior quality) was the fact that its resale value plummeted.

    OTOH, personal property tax was very inexpensive every year, lol.

    My BIL had an Endeavor, an ’05 model. It rode like hell, had the same early 2000’s grade of interior *BUT* actually held up fairly well and was fairly reliable. They got rid of it with 180k (which much to my surprise, it was still running very good, and my in-laws do very little to maintain their cars).

    But almost $40K for a Mitsubishi?

    LMFAO

    I will say that I have ALWAYS heard good things about the Montero/Pajero. In fact, I wouldn’t mind to have one.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yes to Montero/Pajero. Must keep in mind those are the sort of “international” models which other countries take very seriously, and use in serious ways. And they were built in a different factory to the passenger cars.

      Montero must be 03-06 because of the ESC they added, which made it much less tippy.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’ve never even ridden in a Mitsu, and they certainly seem to be the curve breaker (on the downside, LOL) of the Japanese makes. But the astounding number of ratty Eclipses bombing around driven by teens and underemployed 20-somethings seems to indicate at least that model has some robust durability.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Mitsu is definitely the “curve breaker” (on the downside, LOL) of the Japanese makes. But the large number of ratty Eclipses running around piloted by teens and under-employed 20-somethings implies they have some durability in that model.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Mitsubishi cars has gone the way of Mitsubishi TV sets, they were tops back 20 yrs ago,now you barely see any at the stores.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      That’s because they invented the rear-projection television, not much market for those dinosaurs

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        did not keep up with changes, so they lost out, much the same way Kodak did when digital came to be.

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          My folks still have a Mitsubishi rear projection widescreen. It’s a biggin’.

          Works great after all these years.

          I think they make HVAC stuff and if I’m correct, Mitsubishi is also involved in finance/banking somehow.

          Perhaps like a small scale GE conglomerate?

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            Are/were also involved in building planes, ships, even steam locomotives. I think they also built construction equipment. A very large conglomerate indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “My folks still have a Mitsubishi rear projection widescreen. It’s a biggin’.”

            I bought one many years ago at a Salvation Army Thrift Store in a beautiful solid oak cabinet, worked perfectly for a $1

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            Yup.

            Those were the days when televisions didn’t have expiration dates. Unlike these flattened flimsy plastic thingies we have now.

            Jesus, with one statement, I’ve become 30 years older.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yeah, I remember when 30 years was a long time… I’ll take those flimsy TVs over never having to pick up a cathode ray tube TV again

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Large-scale GE conglomerate. Mitsubishi is one of the traditional Japanese keiretsus. The carbuilding operation is a rather small piece of their overall industrial empire, which is why it doesn’t get a lot of focus and will not likely ever go away entirely.

  • avatar
    PJmacgee

    “(Lexus’s 2.5L in the IS250 makes just 204 horsepower.)”

    Yeah, but she sher do like to rev and sound purdy doin it.

    Long live the small-bore 6/8-cylinder!

  • avatar
    EAF

    I’ve seen the Mitsubishi logo on canned foods, no lie.

    I would not buy this iteration of the Outlander, but you must admit, the exterior is sexy as hell. It sports that trendy front bumper that everyone else copied. (I first saw it on the Evo 10 btw).

    They should have put their 4B11 turbo engine with twin clutch awd automatic and blew the doors off of their competition. They refuse to listen to me!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    A couple of years ago a buddy of mine was told he needed a new six passenger SUV. Their old RAV4 was getting too small for the family and another kid was on the way. He was looking for the absolute cheapest way to get into a larger SUV. His wife wanted a new Pilot, but didn’t want to pay new Pilot prices. Nor did she want a used Pilot, as it was somehow beneath her.

    We racked our brains trying to find something that would fit the two conflicting demands. The poor bugger spent several weekends driving and trying out different SUVs. One we both liked was the previous Outlander. IIRC, this new one is heavily facelifted from that car. It held seven, kids can fold up and get in the way back seat no problem, the car came with a good amount of equipment and the price was right, with incentives of course. It didn’t matter, she didn’t like that one either.

    I used to like Mitsubishi cars about 20 years ago or so. They were advanced, lightweight and usually quick machines. The V6 motors didn’t hold up so well, and I think a lot of folks bought these as unkillable Japanese cars, believing they didn’t need to maintain them. Many of them turned to junk this way and then a bad reputation got assigned to them.

    Earlier this year we were researching small SUVs, we took a look at these again. The cars look nice, but the specs don’t look so hot. After reading this review, my suspicions are confirmed. It’s really a shame, they once were nice cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I kind of like the small Outlander Sport, but know zero about it

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I agree on the 20 year old cars. They were really pushing the technological envelope back then. I’m surprised they abandoned that philosophy. I think people are willing to pay for a bit of unreliability if your pushing the technological barrier.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      what killed mitsubishi is the fact that they bought market share by financing everyone,much like gm. The difference being that when mitsubishi said change the timing belt and water pump at 75k they were not kidding. these things got paid off at the same time their interference timing belts exploded their engines.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I’ve done my share of AWD launches in Eclipses and one heavily-modified Eagle Talon.

    I’ve also drooled over a lion’s share of 3000GT VR-4’s.

    I’d still love to have a Galant VR-4, even if they are a handful to keep running.

    Oh, alright, Mitsubishi. You can stay a while. This guy right here won’t make fun of you anymore.

  • avatar

    The Mitsubishi Outlander’s *real* competitor is—wait for it—the seven-passenger Dodge Journey…and for that reason, it should be priced *much* lower.

  • avatar

    Correct, Mitsubishi is an industrial conglomerate and also a fairly substantial bank. It sells cheapo vehicles to BRICK countries and is good at it. The US consumer is not their typical customer, the POS Mirage is the typical Mitsubishi vehicle, and it tells you something that most of the world purchases Mirages which are much less tricked out than what North America gets. The real reason Mitsubishi sells rubbish in empty outdated showrooms here, is to have market presence. If Suzuki had Mitsu’s checkbook they would still be here, and they had a better product. What puzzles me is market presence for what? It must be a Japanese thing. Is Nissan keeping the Titan in the hopes it finally gets Joe America. Is Mitsu going to understand us?

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    About the price: The Outlander PHEV is the cheapest 4×4 of its size in Norway due to its environmental credentials, including a claimed mileage of 1.9l/100km (124mpg).
    http://www.mitsubishi-motors.no/outlander-phev/

    It is priced at 409000 NOK, which is 55000$ with the current weak krone. A Volvo XC90 easily costs double that amount.

  • avatar

    Take away the Mitsubishi zaibatsu and how its a big conglomerate and a plug-in version it doesn’t offer here and how many cars they sell in 3rd world countries where the alternative was a Zhiguli, this car is woefully uncompetitive to anyone who financially qualifies for anything else in its class.

    That a car with a V6 that pumps out 227hp ON PREMIUM GASOLINE in 2015 is utterly laughable. My father’s fifteen year-old Bonneville produces 240hp on 87 with a cast iron block boat anchor with a supercharger bolted to it.

    I love also how leather is bundled with $8700 worth of mandatory add-ons. I could buy a 2 year-old i-MIEV with 8k miles for that much. No. For serious. I could.

    And for $35,000 as-equipped? You know you can tick every box and get this sled up to $42,745? For an OUTLANDER? An Outlander that’s worth nothing in a few years?

    That’s not even a joke anymore – its downright offensive.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Sad, really. I still enjoy my 2004 Lancer Sportback Ralliart (just wish they had made the little wagon with a manual trans) and find that it has held up remarkably well. But when I look at Mitsu these days, I see a vast sea of “Meh.”

  • avatar
    slow-rion

    Every time I see a person in a mitsu, old or new, I think: their credit sucks. It sucks so bad KIA won’t take them.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Mitsubishi is trying too hard to please the North American market that it’s backfiring. They don’t know how to do it anymore. It’s too bad because Mitsubishi makes very good autos like the Pajero that’ll never hit our market. Instead they’re coming up with nonsense for our market.

  • avatar
    grsupercity

    Negativity hides bad journalism. Bad review of a good car. They seriously just rag on Mitsubishi because its easier then writing real articles.

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