Danielle Villeneuve

Toss Up: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

For 2014, Mitsubishi executed an extensive redesign for the Outlander. SUVs have always been popular, requiring manufacturers to burn the midnight oil to come up with fresh ideas that will draw the attention of consumers. The latest design from Mitsubishi is one that will give people a reason to consider the Outlander. It has a more stylish and well-thought-out look about it. But what about the interior and performance? As a whole, does the new Mitsubishi Outlander come up heads or tails?

Mitsubishi Outlander 2

Inside, the Outlander portrays a cheap-and-cheerful SUV. The interior is more appealing and uses better quality materials than the Mistubishi Lancer we tested earlier. Our Outlander came with wood-grain appearance trim panels which have a plasticy look about them. For this type of vehicle, brushed aluminum may look better. But the number of soft-touch interior parts found in the front are an added improvement. Although I found the seats to be a bit on firm side, the leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, part of the expensive GT Touring package, meet the mark for interior expectations. That package also adds a power driver’s seat and sunroof. Like the Dodge Durango, the Outlander has a third row seat. However, the shorter Outlander leaves less room; they may be only suitable for children and extremely small adults. Even I did not fit and I’m 5’ 3”.

There is not a lack of technology in the Outlander thanks to the GT Touring package. It includes the navigation system with a 7” high definition touch screen, lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and the Rockford Fosgate premium sound system. The navigation system comes with some new features like 3D mapping and the Diamond Land Guidance system. The latter finds the fastest routes using carpool lanes. They enhance the driving experience, making it even easier to get to your destination. The Rockford Fosgate system is quite a gem that Mitsubishi puts in their vehicles. It’s one of the best systems for the money. Once subtle touch is the angle of the Outlander’s center console. They’re angled at the driver, making the driver’s seat feel more like the captain’s chair. Its a nice touch that puts everything at hand. The GT Touring package also yields luxuries like a power liftgate, which is always appreciated in SUVs.

Mitsubishi Outlander 7

For 2014 Mitsubishi made a concerted effort to improve the Outlander’s gas mileage. The vehicle is now offered with two different powertrains. The ES and SE trimlevel have a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and comes standard with continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Our top-trim GT gets a peppier 3.0 liter V6 that generates 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. Those real gears can be controlled by paddle shifters behind the wheel. Another nice touch in the Outlander, they’re the same paddles you’ll find in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

During the week we had the Outlander, we averaged the combined EPA estimates of 23 mpg. Although the gas mileage has improved for 2014 the engine felt sluggish. This was especially true after being spoiled by the massive torque from the VW Touareg TDI’s V6. The overall ride quality is similar to most SUVs in this segment. Its ride is comfortable with minimal amounts of road noise. Handling is often not a strong suit for SUVs but the Outlander remains composed around turns, leaving the driver feeling confident. It outdoes the competition when it comes to its off-roading capabilities due to its all-wheel-drive system with selectable modes (normal, snow, lock, and eco). When going off-road, simply select the lock function for Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control system and you’re on your way. Taking a spontaneous trip down an overgrown logging road won’t be an issue. With an easy low-range gearing system, the Outlander can truly take you wherever you need to go.

Mitsubishi Outlander 4

So, did the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander come up heads or tails? It’s difficult to say, there were some things we loved about the new Outlander and also things we thought could use a little more work. We enjoyed the smart new look and the technology that came as part of the GT Touring Package. But the V6 just came up short for such a heavy vehicle. There is one area where the Outlander shines; value. For someone who is looking for a lot out of an SUV, the Outlander GT remains a great value and comes optioned with just about everything you could want. That value, plus its IIHS 2014 Top Safety Pick rating, give it a solid head’s up.

-Danielle Assenheimer

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
GT Touring Package $6,100
Destination Charges $825
As Tested MSRP $34,720

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