Vital Stats

3.0L V6
230 HP / 215 LB-FT
6-Speed Auto
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,780 LBS
14.9 / 72.7 CU-FT
19 City / 25 HWY
I'm not a gambling man, but if there were a pool for an automotive death watch, my money would be on Mitsubishi... Lincoln is a close second. To understand the plight of Mitsubishi, you only have to look at its current lineup; they all just look, feel and drive about 10 years older than they really are. With the departure of the Endeavor and merciful killing of the Eclipse (the Galant lives on, but is on hiatus for the 2013 model year), one of the worst remaining offenders is the Mitsubishi Outlander, which I recently drove in top-level GT trim for this Quick Spin.

If we had a time machine and took the 2013 Outlander GT back to 1998, it would be revolutionary. If we could take it back to 2004, it might be near the top of its class. But in the current highly competitive crossover segment of today, the Outlander just falls short. Yes, the all-new 2014 Outlander is on its way later this year, but from what we've seen both inside and out, the new design would look great in 2008. That being said, spending a week with any vehicle can point out surprising highs as well as lows, and there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy Mitsu's midsize CUV.

Driving Notes
  • Unfortunately, I have to kick off my driving impressions on a negative note. There are few utility vehicles on the market that make the third row an enviable seating position, but the Outlander GT's rear-most seat is downright insulting. Not only is this the worst third-row seat currently on the market, it could very well be the worst ever created – that includes the uncomfortable rear-facing third row of a certain 1977 Impala station wagon I was relegated to as a kid during family road trips. The operation is clunky, the padding is lacking and the snap-on headrests are as tall as the seat back itself.
  • On the opposite end of the scale, the best part about the Outlander GT is its drivetrain and platform. Replacing the base four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission, the GT trim level brings a well-aged 3.0-liter V6 paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Since it shares its underpinnings with the Mitsubishi Lancer, the Outlander also has a pretty good ride quality in just about any road condition.
  • My tester was equipped with Mitsubishi's dynamic Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) sending the engine's 230 horsepower to all four wheels, improving traction or performance depending on which driver-selectable mode has been chosen (Tarmac or Snow), and there is also an active front differential that that splits engine torque across the front axle or fully locks (in Lock setting) for better off-road performance. I didn't have the chance to do any serious off roading in Outlander, but I was able to test out the S-AWC along sandy, gravelly roads, which the Outlander handled like a champ.
  • Thanks to a 2010 styling refresh, the Outlander is one of the better-looking budget crossovers on the market. With its gaping grille and angular HID headlights, the Outlander GT has a pretty imposing face, and the clear-lensed LED taillights are also a stylish touch to the overall look of the Outlander. While this tester's dark blue color didn't do its lines any favors, it's is still a reasonably handsome midsize CUV.
  • Try as it may to look like the Lancer Evolution, the Outlander does not live up to its "GT" trim. Its car-based platform and raised stance just make it feel like a tall car rather than a sporty crossover. I didn't have the time to put the performance aspect of S-AWC to the test, but you can tell that the Outlander is designed to be the budget-minded crossover in its segment rather than performance-minded. Speaking of budgets, the Outlander GT's fuel economy rating of 19 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway is about par for V6-powered vehicles in this segment, but it also requires premium gasoline.
  • Aside from the after-thought of a third-row seat, the rest of the Outlander's interior isn't all that bad. Front occupants can enjoy heated seats (with the button buried between the seat and the center console) and Mitsubishi's easy-to-use Fuse hands-free system as standard equipment. Even the middle row provides a surprising level of comfort with a 60/40 split seat that can slide and recline allowing ample legroom and space for the unfortunate passengers in the way back. Another quirky benefit of the Outlander is the fold down tailgate that sits flat with the cargo floor making it easier to load and unload bulky items.
  • Then there's the matter of price. Even though the Outlander starts at a reasonable $22,695, this GT tester came practically fully loaded with a $2,500 Touring Package and a $2,000 Navigation Package, which boosted the as-tested price to $33,920. You can get a lot more utility from a more stable brand for that much or lower.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      nowhere man
      • 2 Years Ago
      As the original owner of an 07 with 85K miles on it, i can say i'm satisfied with the purchase. I have not had any problems so far, only performing regular maintenance. The third row is what it is, 2 legal seats when we have our kid and their friends to haul somewhere. And it folds up nicely when not in use. If you need 7 seats regularly, then this isn't the vehicle for you. The EPA ratings are accurate, we can exceed the 25 mpg rating on the highway. Not bad for midsize CUV with a V6. I really don't have any complaints about the powertrain, the V6 has plenty of power, 6 speed auto with nice metal paddles. Mine doesn't have this new, upgraded AWD but it is excellent in the snow. The ability to lock the center differential shouldn't be overlooked, it really improves the traction and makes it very predictable. I don't remember our sticker but we paid just under $28K for a fully loaded one like the one tested.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had hoped for some time now that Mistubishi would have a Mazda like turnaround and reinvent their US image. Bring back the small light Eclipse, the galant VR4, and a 3000GT replacement as a Halo car. Lofty dreams it seems
        • 2 Years Ago
        return of the 3000GT and a worthy Eclipse successor would be very exciting
      Andy Smith
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sad to see Mitsubishi going this way. I had 2 evo's, - an VIII and then a IX MR, and have never had as much fun with my clothes on.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andy Smith
        Amen.... I had an 06 Apex Silver IX 5spd that I bought for 22,500, drove it daily for a year, and sold it for $24,000 with 59,000 miles on it. Never once made money on a car before in my life..... Now I bought a new 2012 X GSR and since I bought new, I plan to keep it forever and then restore it when I'm older. Agreed.... never had so much fun with my clothes on until I test drove the Evo IX.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Never been a fan of anything Mitsubishi save for the Evo as of late. And the old 3000GT VR4's and Eclipse GSX.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have no problem with the Outlander GT, but I wish Mitsubishi would bring back the Montero (Shogun/Pajero) with a proper diesel powertrain.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Word on the street is that the Montero is possibly coming back to the North American Market...keep an eye out for it!
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you are someone who only occasionally uses a third row, though it looks like...umph, just say bad...I love how it disappears into the floor.
        The Wasp
        • 2 Years Ago
        I was going to say the same thing -- the seat looks terrible but at least you can make it completely disappear. I think many people even who do have kids don't ever use the 3rd row seat.
      • 2 Years Ago
      One of the biggest banks on the whole planet belongs in to the same Mitsubishi conglomerate, and their car industry in general is profitable. By other words, they are not going anywhere, they are much less in trouble than american car industry. Also it is sad to see the writers lack of view, only watching the US market. Should see the whole picture, when talking about chances of a company to succeed in a long run. What Mitsubishi has, is very strong engineering and technology in several special fields. Now a lot of their models at US market are old, but I believe it's only a matter of time, when will new models arrive. The Outlander GT may be ugly, but a good side it is one of the best handling SUV's in it's class still today.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mitsu is introducing a new Outlander this fall, we will all see how it looks and drives. They just invested huge money into their plant in Normal Ill to build the Outlander Sport for the U.S. market and for export and recently increased the build at the plant to meet demand for the vehicle. I am guessing they will also build other products at the Normal plant in the future to reduce their costs. If they do so and bring some of their latest product to the U.S. they will be fine, their products do not break and the people that own them repurchase at a high rate.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even the pictures look old...
      • 2 Years Ago
        • 2 Years Ago
        Why? The more the better, competition helps keep prices in check. Besides, all I know about Mitsu is that they're generally pretty reliable. My 1998 Mirage has been the best beater commuter I've ever owned. Damn-near 200,000 trouble-free miles.
          • 2 Years Ago
          This is hardly competitive.
          • 2 Years Ago
          Have you driven one and directly compared it to others in the segment? Truth is, they all kinda suck. IMHO, of course.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have one, I don't complain about anything, is comfortable, quick, super reliable and the fuel economy is good. Mitsubishi is so underappreciated in the USA.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Agreed. When I encounter new people at work who are "car enthusiasts", one ride to lunch in my Evo that most haven't heard of has them thrilled about the car and suddenly they "get it". Before that however, they mostly act like I'm crazy or on crack.... similar you most of you here. Then we go out to lunch and they come back changed..... almost supporting my cause when fellow coworkers ask "what did you think?" It's marketing. They don't really market. Chrysler + Mitsu back in the DSM days caused more problems that people never really forgot about (crankwalk). Competitors market. They sell cheaper rounded knives that get the job done cheaper, although less refined. The market wants a cheap knife..... very few appreciate a good one when they see it.... too busy looking at the handle when the working parts are somewhere else. That's the reality. Our public wouldn't know something good if they seen it. If you can't "spin the tires", "swing the rear end" around corners, or make loud deep noises; America doesn't want it. They like cheap knives.....
          • 2 Years Ago
          Also, V8 > any Mitsu 4-cylinder ever.
      • 2 Years Ago
      My father-in-law has 2007 outlander with over 88,000 miles on the clock and never had any problems with it. We drove all the way to Niagara Falls over summer. Good quality car this is.
        • 2 Years Ago
        i am only at 50k on my 07, but I concur it's been trouble free.
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