By on January 22, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT side

To say that Mitsubishi has been struggling on the North American market would be an understatement. Long gone are the days of the capable Montero, hot-selling Galant, and the exotic 3000GT. For years the Outlander Sport has been the company’s bread winner and the Lancer Evolution its only icon. In order to jumpstart its sales, in 2014 Mitsubishi dove deep into the highest volume markets with the introduction of the inexpensive Mirage and the third generation of its three-row CUV, the Outlander.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT front

It has been said many times over that there is no such thing as a bad modern car on the North American market. Or may be there are, I don’t know anymore. The truth is that a purchase of any new car will result in a product that is safe and one that will provide years of reliable service. The new Outlander is probably not an exception, as it is a reasonably priced vehicle with a 5-year warranty and good crash test results. The question is, is it a good vehicle?

From the driver’s perspective, the dash layout is simple and rather similar to other vehicles in its class; two big gauges with a screen in-between, infotainment system with a bigger screen, two knobs and some buttons, and simple HVAC controls below. Unfortunately that middle screen does not display much information, the big screen has some small font, the Rockford-Fosgate system does not like to stream the Pandora app from my iPhone as it kept defaulting to the music stored on the phone, and there are no separate climate controls for the rear of the vehicle. Other frequently used buttons, such as the power hatch and display change button for gauge cluster screen are obscured by the steering wheel. Furthermore, the power windows, door locks, and mirror buttons are poorly illuminated and difficult to use at night.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT dash

Taking your eyes up from the dash and its mismatched piano-black and wood plastic trim, the visibility is good in all directions, certainly better than average. This is probably thanks to Mitsubishi’s liberal use of high strength steel. The Outlander is also a smaller vehicle than other three-row CUVs in just about every dimension, making it easy to maneuver. That smaller size and the use of that high strength steel translates into significantly lower curb weight than other three-row CUVs, and similar to that of many smaller CUVs, such as the Honda CR-V.

Seats are covered with a mix of fabric and hard leather. Front seats are and generally comfortable, heated, but only the driver’s seat is powered. The middle row has less legroom than other comparable vehicles and the rear doors do not open as wide or are as big, making getting kids into their seats more challenging for already tired parents. The biggest problem is with the third row seats, however, which have hardly any legroom when middle row in its native position, slid all the way to the back. Sliding the middle row forward give third row passengers more legroom, but at the expense of comfort of the people sitting in the middle row. The cargo area is also smallest in class no matter which seats are folded down and there are no visible HVAC vents anywhere in the back.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT rear seats

Lower Outlander models come with a four cylinder engine, but this GT model came with Mitsubishi’s 6B31 which has been around for some time. The 60-degree SOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter V6 engine is port-injected with variable cam timing and is rated at 224hp and 215lb-ft of torque, the least in its class. It is matched up to a six-speed automatic transmission and Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC®) all-wheel drive system. This combination is rated for 20mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway. In my leisurely mixed city/highway/mountain driving I observed 24mpg, which is very good for a three-row CUV.

My driving was leisurely because the Outlander never seems to be in the hurry. The transmission is conservatively programmed to always be in the lowest gear possible, which I found especially annoying in the mountains of Vermont, both on the way up and down. There are four transmission modes; eco, snow, lock, and normal. I have only used the normal mode, supplemented by the paddle shifters in the mountains. The engine does have plenty of power to move the Outlander, but requires a lot of motivation from your right foot.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT trunk

There are many new car buyers for whom nothing matters more than the bottom line. The base Outlander ES starts at $23,195. The reviewed GT model starts at $28,195. The GT Touring Package, which includes nav system, lane departure warning, forward collision migration, sunroof, leather, power tailgate, and premium audio costs $6100. With $850 destination charge, the total comes to $35,145. A quick look at TrueCar shows that actual selling price is few grand lower.

The three-row CUV market is one of the most competitive in the industry and any company with limited resources will have difficulties offering the best vehicles. It is unfortunate that in the world of good cars, there have to be some that relatively aren’t. What frustrated me the most about this vehicle was that it could have been better with some engineering changes that would have minimum impact on overall engineering costs. While the Outlander isn’t perfect it does have some good things going for it, such as five-star overall score on NHTSA crash tests, 5-year/60,000 mile warranty with 10-year/100,000 miles for the powertrain, and the price.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT rear

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. provided the vehicle for this review.

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64 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander 3.0 GT S-AWC...”

  • avatar

    My favorite Aunt bought one of these (first gen) when they first came out. She loved it. Two of her kids bought them too – they love them too. Never heard of any issues with any of them around the holiday table, Aunt is about to buy another one.

    And I think you meant that the transmission always wants to be in a “higher” gear, not a lower one. Typical annoying auto tranny behavior, and why I prefer to shift for myself.

  • avatar

    I can honestly say: I’d rather have a Kia Sedona minivan. Crikey this thing is bland.

    • 0 avatar

      The new or old one?

      The new one is probably the best looking van on the market right now….interior and exterior.

      • 0 avatar

        And the previous generation is quite comfortable, good pickup from the V-6 (if anything I was quite surprised how it moves out), and at 95k my ’08 has been decently reliable. I’m quite please with it. Will give serious consideration to the current generation in a couple of year when I’m due for a replacement.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          We really like our 09 Sedona, but it will probably be our last minivan since the kids are gradually moving on.

          Right now, it sits under a car cover waiting for its next call of duty. I keep it because of its hauling and towing capability, and it’s paid for.

          As for the Outlander, I see no reason to squash my passengers into one, when many other cars will do better for the same money.

    • 0 avatar

      I would rather have a Dodge caravan, which isn’t nearly as nice as the new kia.

      Dodge journey seems to be the primary competition to this thing.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d rather spend less than half that amount on a different Mitsubishi.

      A very nice 2006 Montero Limited!

      • 0 avatar

        “A very nice 2006 Montero Limited!”

        A man of fine tastes, ladies and gentlemen.

        It’s too bad that every single one I’ve looked at has been extremely neglected, with oil leaks (valve cover gaskets) and torque converter chatter (wrong ATF fluid). They handle and ride better than a big SUV has any right to, credit to the reinforced unibody and front and rear independent long travel suspension. Spectacular visibility as well with a huge upright windshield and really low hood relative to where you sit.

        • 0 avatar

          I think to find a good one, you gotta be willing to either drive a long way, or buy on Ebay where they’re relatively plentiful in great condition.

          The ’95 model I test drove once drove very well, I was so surprised at how comfortable it was.

  • avatar

    Wow….that wood trim on the dash. Recycled from the 80’s?

    • 0 avatar

      +1: The interior looks at least 15 years out of date.

      How is MitMoCo still in business?

      • 0 avatar

        They dont need to sell that many cars in the US to stay in business. The Mitsubishi Group is a massive organization. The Mitsubishi Keiretsu/conglomerate is bigger than most automotive companies, and is close to vertical integration. Not to mention they sell plenty of cars elsewhere in the world.

        • 0 avatar

          What else does Mitsubishi even sell in the US? Seems all they’ve got is cars, Fuso trucks, and maybe HVAC systems? They definitely don’t sell televisions here any more.

          • 0 avatar

            Funny thing about Mitsubishi-Fuso Trucks… They are currently owned by Daimler-Benz on their Truck Side of the business. Daimler-Benz also owns Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Thomas Built Bus (in the US), Setra Bus (outside the US), and BharatBenz of India.

          • 0 avatar


            Their mini-split HVAC systems are the Mercedes of mini-split systems. Ours works very well.

    • 0 avatar

      I was thinking the wood looked like an afterthought, much like you found on the SLX version of the Trooper.

    • 0 avatar

      …or recycled from my ’03 Buick.

    • 0 avatar

      Soviet grade interior. You can tell your kids in the back to shut up, drink their wolf milk and watch Soviet cartoon – Shoe and Shoelace

      Shoe and Shoelace – one is meaningless without the other.

      (credit to Family Guy – but that interior is horrible – the cargo area shot looks cheap by any standard – I’m talking GM at is worst late 90’s bad)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The continent’s most irrelevant CUV is getting a lot of attention around here lately. I would imagine an automotive reviewer couldn’t help but just sigh in resignation when handed the keys to one of these.

    1990s dashboard? Check. Outdated and inharmonious powertrain? Check. All capabilities and attributes met or exceeded by some other entry in the segment? Check.

    If you can buy one for dirt cheap and have enough confidence that Mitsu will stick around long enough to maintain it during its lifetime, its probably not a bad deal. Otherwise, I don’t see any selling points for this rig.

    • 0 avatar

      No, I actually did not know what to expect. The last Mitsu I drove was an Eclipse GSX.
      In terms of writing, it is a lot more challenging to review something that is remarkably good – see my Audi A6 review, I hated that car because I liked it so much.

  • avatar

    To call this pig a “GT” is a slap in the face to driving enthusiasts everywhere. Why not add 25 horses to it and call it an “Evo”?

    • 0 avatar

      Hard to call it a pig when it uses a lot of high strength steel and is lighter than everything in its class. Fuel mileage seems good too. The author doesn’t comment on the actual driving experience (beyond the tranny) so it’s hard to tell how it fares there. My guess would be: it fares well..

      • 0 avatar

        Aside from Mazdas and high priced ones, none of the modern CUVs are amazing or amazingly bad in any way. They don’t roll over just as they don’t pull a g on the skidpad. They’re all good, for the lack of better terms.

  • avatar

    From the angle of the last shot it looks vaguely range rover-esque to me.

  • avatar

    The incentive page lists $1000s in incentives so the actual out the door price is likely much lower than the already low MSRP.

  • avatar

    224 horsepower? In 2015? What is this bullsh*t?

    I remember Mitsubishi used to have at least a 260hp V6, so why isn’t that in this thing?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I can’t help but feel that if I were in the market for such a vehicle and not the least bit enthusiastic about cars I doubt I would care about any of the shortcomings. But, likely, my main concern would be that it was made by the wrong Japanese company (though I doubt most would know Mitsu is Japanese).

    How does it ride? Fine
    Bluetooth? Yup
    MPG? Decent
    Reliable? As any other CUV
    Toyota/Honda? Uh… no
    No thanks!
    I’ll get a Rav4 for $7000 more.

  • avatar

    Looks like an Audi Q from the side. I think you want to say it holds the HIGHEST gear possible. Looks like a really practical car, but I’d be afraid of depreciation and want something with more power.

  • avatar

    The outside is actually not bad, actually handsome erring on the side of bland. But that interior shot, with the piano black AND wood plastic side-by-side?!!? godawful! just pick ONE…

    “forward collision migration”, mitigation?

    • 0 avatar

      No, it’s a new tech exclusive to Mitsu. It detects if you are about to have a rear-end or side collision and spins the vehicle so that any potential damage is migrated to the front, which has more crumple zones.

  • avatar

    In my most recent car buying excursion I tried very hard to buy a 2010-2012 version. Evo grille, split tailgate, just enough weirdness to overcome its ingrained shortcomings.

    This refresh went to far toward the mainstream. For the money the are charging, there are better options out there.

  • avatar

    I think this SUV would be a great buy used with low mileage. In my area of Queens NY which is not a poor area i see quite a few of these every day. One i see just about every day is loaded with just about every chrome accessory you can think of from the factory.I sometimes pass their house on my way to the local park and they are washing the car every week like they love it. I agree the price must make the deal. Our local dealer used to be a Saturn dealer go figure.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m from Queens NY as well and my experience exactly mirrors yours. I see large numbers of these parked outside of my place of employment. If you were using this sample size you would think Mitsubishi sales were booming or at least on par with competitors like the Rogue or Highlander, for example.

      S-AWD is the same system used in the Evolution X, I know many owners first hand who rant and rave about it. Although I have zero first hand experience with this later iteration, owners claim it is on par with Subaru and Audi systems. I’d be interested in learning more or being schooled on the topic. (Don’t read me what Wiki says!)

      Mitsubishi has a 3.8 Mivec V6 that makes 265hp and 260ft-lbs, why use this 3.0?

  • avatar

    “[A]nd the rear doors do not open as wide or are as big” is an example of faulty parallelism. The meaning can be deciphered, but it takes multiple readings. A better way to word it would be something like “and the rear doors are neither as large nor as wide-opening”.

  • avatar

    I must say, I could tell you weren’t going to like this car by the time I’d read two sentences. You used a different writing style here than in your positive reviews. The sentences were shorter and more blunt, and you kept things very simple without any enthusiasm. It’s not how you normally write.

  • avatar
    El duce

    Handsome CUV. The fully optioned models are advertised for around 31k in Mass. At that price, I would take a chance on one.

  • avatar

    The outside looks pretty nice.

    (Also: “there are no visible HVAC vents anywhere in the back”.

    Does that mean there’s no rear-row HVAC, or that the vents are cleverly hidden?

    If the former, it’s best to say so outright as an anti-feature.

    If the latter, well, that’s not really a problem, is it?)

  • avatar

    Thanks for the review, Kamil…up until today I had forgotten they actually sold Mitsubishis.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    One of my BIL’s dads works for Mitsu in IL, so both BILs drive Mitsu SUVs. They’re reasonably nice cars for what they paid (somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% off) but I can’t imagine paying anywhere near the $35k sticker for a loaded ’11ish Endeavor or a high-$20s sticker for an Outlander sport. But near $20k, these things aren’t bad. Interiors are cheesy as heck, but reliable as anvils.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I looked at the Mitsubishi SUVs when shopping for crossovers, because why not? They don’t drive terribly and have a long warranty. If you don’t care about the brand and are okay with cheaper materials, 18k for an AWD Outlander Sport or 21-23K for an AWD Outlander isn’t a terrible deal. Just looked now at a dealer by me, and they are selling the 2015 Outlander GT AWD for 24k, which does get you a lot of features for the money.

  • avatar

    OUTLANDER!!! We have your woman!

  • avatar

    Why do the specs on the motor sound suspiciously like that of a 20 year old design…I’m pretty sure knowing that the motor in my vehicle was equivalent in technology to a car from the 90’s would be rather depressing.

    Holeee crap, I just looked it up and Mitsubishi actually recommends PREMIUM for this V6?! Wow.

  • avatar

    Always had a respect for Mitsu. A Gearhead friend of mine once told me their engines were second to none. The turbo 4 Galants were awesome. Shopping for a SUV that isn’t $60,000+ and ugly as sin. I’d like to see a clean lined alternative with some balls nicely appointed and solid. Maybe Mitsu can deliver, I hope so.

  • avatar

    Was the stereo loud? I thought it was supposed to be one of the more powerful factory units out there in the under $50K range.

  • avatar

    While I’m certain that there are a few people that purchase Mitsubishi products because they truly like them over competitors, to me, they fall into that bottom-feeder category of IATICA or ‘It’s All That I Could Afford’ based mainly on generous, low interest rates offered to those with less than stellar credit ratings. A lot of Dodge, Nissan, and GM stuff would qualify, as well.

    In fact, one of the best examples of IATICA was the old Cavalier, along with it’s successor, the Cobalt. I doubt anyone would have bought either of those cars if they could have afforded something else.

  • avatar

    This thing is sold as a Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle over here. It gets 30 km’s on batteries. It’s very repulsive to look at. There’s two on my street. Horrible panel gap differences. Definitely not a high quality car, but probably a nice car if your employer forces it on you (happens a lot here thanks to govt subsidies).

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