2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

by The Car Family

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Scientists are being paid millions of dollars to create invisibility and Mitsubishi has accomplished that for a starting price of around $23,000 with the all new Outlander SUV. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a bad looking vehicle, indeed it has an understated beauty. However, to the general public, and more importantly, to law enforcement, the Outlander is nearly invisible. Pity, because it can better most of the competition in one way or another from its utility to its super easy to understand technology to its room for seven to its terrific warranty.

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We liked the previous Outlander for its handling and sporty nature. This version is more for grown ups, but it certainly handles well and puts a Honda CRV to shame whether it be useful features or utility. The 2014 Outlander has a 1500 pound towing capacity or 3500 pounds depending on the model and keeping the “U” in SUV there is over 60 cubic feet of storage. Fuel mileage is also at the top of the segment with the base engine and front wheel drive models able to push the 30 mpg mark thanks to some subtle exterior changes that make the Outlander more invisible to the wind as well.

There is nothing not to like with this Mitsubishi and there is a lot to like making this a must drive vehicle. If you need the all-wheel-drive feature the Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system is from the sensational Lancer Evolution. The price for the fully loaded version with the V6 engine does push above $30,000, so you are going to have to drive both the base and GT models to see if it is worth the extra funds. Either way there is a lot of content in the Outlander. We also strongly recommend you might want to consider the Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) that Mitsubishi is planning for a later introduction. The hybrid would make Mitsubishi a class leader and also provide dealers with access to those practical buyers who consider 30 mpg a starting point when considering vehicles.

Mom’s view: Always being on a diet, and with little success, I was astonished to find that the new Outlander even with its seven seats and abundance of features has lost weight over the last version. The interior, as the exterior, simple and refined. The seats are comfortable and outward visibility is fabulous. The instrument panel sits low and is centered around a seven inch, high definition, touch screen monitor. The GPS visuals are as good as it gets offering a split screen that offers points of interest while the other side has the normal map. There are ancillary controls on the steering wheel, a voice activated system, and good old fashioned knobs on the dash to make basic operations simple to master, unlike the overly complex system on Fords

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Safety wise, the Outlander has s four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control, seven airbags, a rollover sensor, and ABS. Other features that are available are a Forward Collision Mitigation, which warns the driver when there is an obstacle in front and can actually stop the vehicle at slow speeds. The Lane Departure Warning gives an audible warnings above 40 mph and the Outlander also has a Hill Start Assist that keeps the vehicle in place on steep grades. I loved this feature. You don’t even have to have your foot on the brake. Perhaps it is damning the Outlander with faint praise, but this is the most minivan like SUV that I have ever tested. So if you don’t like the minivan look, this is the best SUV you can buy that holds seven, gets good gas mileage, and not overwhelm you with electronic gadgets.

Dad’s view: You have to make a difficult choice when considering the Outlander because the base model is very good. The more upscale GT has the more powerful 3.0-liter V6 with 224 horsepower, but requires premium fuel. The standard drivtrain has a 166-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that achieves 30 plus mpg. Both engines provide satisfactory performance, but the V6 really isn’t that much more potent in daily driving. However, if you want all-wheel-drive and are willing to sacrifice a little at the pump the V6 is the version to own especially noting its greater towing rating. The three Outlander versions are the ES models, which is your least expensive option and comes only with front-drive, the SE which gives you a plethora of electronics as well as an AWD option, and the GT with everything.

Roomy is the word I would use to describe the interior. There is plenty of cargo space and leg room, although the third row of seats is a little tight. Out GT had an automatic lift gate that worked well, but short people may have a problem reaching the close button. The key fob works just as well and is more handy. The ride is sedan like, the steering a bit vague at times, and the noise levels low.

What is very interesting about the Outlander is what does not draw your attention such as the remarkably low coefficient of drag of 0.33 thanks to subtle change in the body. There was also an ECO mode helps conserve fuel and gives the ES and SE models the 31 mpg rating on the highway with the CV transmission. This is a cruiser and not a bruiser.

The Outlander handles soft off-roading easily, despite its girth, and is sedan like on the road, but it is nothing like the older model Outlander which were more tuned for sporty driving. This is a car for families and the paddle shifters on our GT model were left untouched for the most part. The interior is fairly quiet, the steering mellow, and the overall effect is more utility and less sport.

Young working woman’s view: That third row of seats is worth it by itself. When they are folded into the floor the large, flat cargo space is extremely useful and when you need the extra seating it is easy to flip them back into position. It is a huge bonus and what separates the Outlander from the completion. Obtaining good fuel mileage is just the icing on the cake, and with the low liftover it is simple to load that cake into the Mitsubishi. Even the base model is well equipped with automatic climate control, a multi-information display, keyless entry, and a 140-watt sound system. The Mitsubishi is like the new kid on the block. He may not attract you at first, but when you get to know him there is a lot to like.

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Young working male’s view: Although the base model is well loaded, you don’t get Bluetooth and other features that make the more upscale models more attractive such as the ES, with hands free technology, a much better stereo system, and the invaluable rear view camera. The SE and GT use a touch screen display that is very large and the GPS is excellent.

Family conference: Mitsubishi is clearly moving upscale with the Outlander and has done a good job of providing a lot of standard features and ample space. The ride is good and the all-wheel-drive unit is impressive. Overall, this is an excellent family vehicle with compact car gas mileage and electronics that are easy to understand. That being said, Mitsubishi has indicated it is going to bring out an Outlander Plug-In Hybrid and this could be the tipping point for potential buyers depending on the price point. The new version will have front and rear mounted electric motors, a 2.0-liter gas engine and all-wheel-drive. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, Mitsubishi is going to bring out an environmentally friendly SUV that can run on battery power alone around town, get hybrid type fuel mileage on the road, and hopefully, offer seating for seven. Now is going to be quite a package and proof Mitsubishi is here to stay.

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