2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
Amid dwindling sales, vehicle choices, and dealers, industry watchers have predicted the demise of the Mitsubishi brand for years. But, not so fast. Sales are suddenly on the rise with new models like this 7-passenger Outlander utility, and the return of the Mirage sub-compact is imminent. Indeed Mitsubishi is fighting back. So let’s see if the campaign is worth it.
While Mitsubishi’s fate in America isn’t totally resting on the new 2014 Outlander, if it sells respectably well, it will certainly help the cause, keeping the brand relevant as they rebuild their lineup. And if the Outlander is a successful compact crossover, one major reason will be the great layout of the interior.
Advanced safety features available include Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Mitigation and Lane Departure Warning. While one main rival, the Toyota RAV4, has dropped its 3rd row option, the Outlander has seating for 7 standard on all models.
But don’t think this is a compact crossover parading as a mid-sizer. Cargo capacity at 63.3 cubic feet with the 2nd and 3rd rows folded, and 34.2 behind the 2nd row, is less than the RAV4, CR-V, and others. But thanks to a weight loss plan Jenny Craig would be proud of, even with seven seats the Outlander weighs less than 35-hundred pounds; that’s under most competitors; with extensive use of high-tensile strength steel for body panels.
Base powertrain is a 2.4-liter I4 with 166-horsepower and 162 lb-ft. of torque, connected to a CVT powering the front wheels. Our SE included Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive, now updated with an ECO mode, brake control system, and electronic power steering control.
The weight loss and the CVT help deliver Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 24-City, 29-Highway, and 26-Combined. We were spot on at 26.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
And unlike most compact rivals, Mitsubishi still has a V6 option, a very sporty 224-horsepower 3.0-liter with a true 6-speed automatic. However, we don’t expect too many buyers to opt for it; and we don’t blame them, as the efficient 4-cylinder gets the job done adequately.
Though, by our clock, just barely. Despite good response off the line, our tester took 10.2-seconds to reach 60, and 17.9-seconds to the end of the quarter mile at 81 miles-per-hour. Handling was better, with good grip and very responsive steering, though we sure could use a little more feel through the wheel.
If there’s one potential hiccup in Mitsubishi’s plan it could be exterior design; as the Outlander’s pseudo-rugged softly rounded style, though aerodynamic, just doesn’t have much punch. Still, it is also a relief from the overly aggressive grilles and facias that dominate today’s crossover field.
And, price is a plus as Outlanders begin at just $23,820, and that’s with seating for seven. Our well-equipped SE all-wheel-drive starts at $26,620. So, it is a class bargain.
Even with that, success for the Outlander won’t be easy, as the small crossover segment is fiercely competitive. But, it’s also a large pie, so the Outlander, being somewhat unique, should be able to cut out a small slice for itself.
With the Outlander, the already well received Outlander Sport, plus the new Mirage small car, Mitsubishi obviously plans on sticking around for a while longer. They’ve even announced a plug-in hybrid Outlander for next year. So, put away the black arm bands, the 2014 Outlander seems proof that Mitsubishi is coming back.
Engine: 2.4-liter I4
Torque: 162 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 10.2 seconds
1/4 mile: 17.9-seconds @ 81 mph
EPA: 24 mpg city/ 29 mpg highway