The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is an aging entry in the competitive arena of affordable crossovers. A 2018 refresh brings some much-needed technology and safety updates while keeping the Outlander at a very competitive price point. It’s not for everyone, but Mitsubishi's largest crossover is still a decent bargain.
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2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Overview
What's New for 2018
A new seven-inch infotainment screen is the main interior upgrade, but there’s also some new ornamental stitching. All other changes are in the available options, as the upper trim levels gain access to more luxury features. Safety gets a boost as well, with new options like collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and automatic high beams.
Choosing Your Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi has made an effort to make the Outlander more appealing to a wide range of buyers, and the feature set reflect that effort. All models come standard with a rearview camera, the new touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, and the option for all-wheel drive (standard on the GT trim). The Outlander remains one of very few budget crossovers to seat seven, though the third-row seats are cramped.
Two engines power the Outlander lineup. The base engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder unit producing 166 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque, which is always paired with a CVT. According to the EPA this engine gets up to 25 mpg city, 30 highway, and 27 combined, which is neither the best nor the worst among similar crossovers. All-wheel drive drops fuel economy to 24/29/26 mpg. The premium GT trim (with standard AWD) gets the more powerful 3.0-liter V6, which routes 224 hp through a six-speed automatic transmission and gets 20/27/23 mpg.
If you're worried about mileage, Mitsubishi also makes a plug-in hybrid version in the Outlander PHEV. The PHEV comes in SEL or GT trim and is almost identical to the regular Outlander, other than its powertrain. That powertrain is a hybrid-electric unit producing an estimated 195 hp from a 2.0-liter gas engine and two 60-kW electric motors. Power runs through a single-speed automatic, and the PHEV is capable of traveling 22 miles in electric-only mode. EPA estimates a combined fuel economy of around 74 mpg.
There are four trim levels to choose from: ES, SE, SEL, and GT.
The competition for crossovers is stiff, and there are more polished cars on the market (Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, for example). There are two main reasons to look at the Outlander: standard 7-passenger seating, and the price. To take full advantage of both, keep prices as low as you can—the SE trim is our pick.
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
A generous helping of standard equipment along with an upgraded infotainment system on base models in the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander are offset by a sketchy design, over-burdened powertrain, and a third row suitable only for small children.
Pricing for the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander begins at $25,075 for a front-wheel-drive ES and can easily top $37,000 for an all-wheel-drive model in GT trim. Most Outlanders are equipped with a 166-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Select the GT trim and you'll find a 224-hp 3.0-liter V6 paired with a six-speed automatic under the hood.
Even in base trim, the Outlander comes well equipped with the typical power features as well as a new seven-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, LED positioning lights, rain-sensing and speed-sensitive windshield wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, a keyless ignition with push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a rearview camera.
But as prices rise, the Outlander's value proposition drops. Consider this: the most advanced safety features can only be accessed by choosing the SEL model then opting for the $3,000 Touring Package. We feel the biggest bang for your buck means skipping over the base model to the SE, which adds a leather-wrapped shift knob, heated front seats, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
Here's how we'd build it:
- Model: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SE
- Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
- Output: 166 hp / 162 lb-ft
- Transmission:CVT automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- MPG: 24 City / 29 Hwy
- Options: Sunroof Package ($600)
- Base Price:$28,075 (including the $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$28,675
The Outlander features a CVT automatic that offers spirited off-the-line performance, and steering that's sharp and responsive. At the same time, and unlike some competitors, both all-wheel-drive systems – especially the Super All-Wheel Control system found on SE and above models – offer competent off-road performance.
But that's pretty much where the goodness stops, as neither engine powers the Outlander with much authority. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder, hampered by a raucous CVT that's programmed for city driving, labors in merging and passing at highway speeds. For its part, the 3.0-liter V6 doesn't reach max torque until high in the rev range and requires premium fuel, to boot. Driving the last nail in the performance coffin is a miniscule towing capability of just 1,500 pounds.
An innocuous exterior that's neither bold nor offensive is wrapped around a cabin that feels large for its size that's capable of transporting five adults in comfort. A 2016 refresh brought with it higher-quality fabrics and hard trim, more supportive seats, and additional sound-deadening materials. Cargo room behind the comfortable second row is a decent 34.2 cubic feet, and expands to 63.3 cubic feet with the second-row seats folded flat.
At the same time, storage behind the third row is a paltry 10.3 cubic feet, making the "way back" suitable for small children only. Even given that, access to it is limited and, like most vehicles in this class, reaching it requires the grace and pliability of an Olympic gymnast.
The Best and Worst Things
The Outlander's otherwise solid feature set is overshadowed by the expense required to add advanced safety features.
Right For? Wrong For?
A long list of standard features should strengthen the Outlander's appeal to value-oriented buyers.
The lack of advanced active safety features available across the lineup will have safety-conscious buyers looking elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
Despite a strong catalog of standard features and a roomy-feeling interior, a pair of lackluster powertrains, a cramped third row, and expensive safety features place the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander near the bottom of its class.
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