$18,556 - $28,099

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 6.8

"Unexceptional" best describes the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander's performance. Of the three engine options, the base four-cylinder is underpowered but easy on the wallet, while the energetic V6 and plug-in hybrid are attached to $32,000-plus sticker prices. On the highway, the Outlander is reasonably stable, but it isn't the cushiest ride around.

  • "Handling is uninspiring no matter which model you get." -- Edmunds
  • In terms of civility and ride comfort, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander moves from far below par to about average for the crossover segment. A Honda CR-V is still more comfortable and a Mazda CX-5 is more fun to drive, but the Outlander is no longer the outlier in its class." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)
  • Interior quality and driving dynamics are now competitive in the hard-fought compact crossover class, but engine performance is still lacking, even for the V6." -- Autotrader

Acceleration and Power

For 2018, the majority of Outlander trim levels come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. For budget-conscious shoppers, this 166-horsepower engine is livable, partly because its fuel economy rating (25 mpg city/30 mpg highway) is above average for a 3-row SUV. The powertrain is noisy, however, and it's slow to get up to speed.

Under the hood of the Outlander GT is a 224-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It accelerates with more oomph than the base engine and increases towing capacity from 1,500 to 3,500 pounds. Gas mileage drops to 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which isn't bad for an SUV with three rows of seats.

Finally, the Outlander PHEV is a plug-in hybrid that pairs a four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, a single-speed transmission, and all-wheel drive. Its all-electric driving range is 22 miles. When running on the gasoline engine, the SUV achieves 25 mpg combined city/highway.

  • "The gas pedal is initially jumpy, which gives the impression that the Outlander has more power than it really does. But the engine's 166 hp simply isn't enough. Getting to 60 mph takes 9.2 seconds. You'll need to think twice about pulling into fast-moving traffic." -- Edmunds
  • The base 4-cylinder engine is uninspiring, although the same could be said for most base engines in this class. More troubling is the CVT's tendency to maintain a high engine speed during acceleration, producing an intrusive drone. The V6, by contrast, is a joy, providing eager thrust along with a cool little snarl above 4,000 rpm. The V6 uses a conventional 6-speed automatic instead of the CVT, which only helps its cause from a performance standpoint." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "Mitsubishi's 2017 Outlander SUV is one of the few vehicles we'd recommend with its 4-cylinder engine over the optional V6. The 2.4-liter's 166 horsepower is managed by an excellent CVT automatic transmission, delivering surprisingly strong off-the-line acceleration and fuel economy up to 30-mpg highway. Unfortunately, those who tow or haul a full passenger complement won't be impressed by the 4-cylinder's passing power or uphill climbing ability. For these situations, the V6's extra 40 horsepower and 53 lb-ft of torque are indispensable, although the V6's 6-speed automatic doesn't manage the extra power as well as the CVT." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Outlander comes standard with front-wheel drive. You can add all-wheel drive to lower trim levels for $1,500 to $2,000, and the Outlander GT and PHEV come standard with it. Ride quality is not as comfortable as many of its rivals, mostly because the suspension system struggles to absorb larger road imperfections and limit body roll.

  • "The ride isn't as cushioned as the underwhelming handling would suggest. The Outlander handles mild bumps pretty easily, but city potholes and bigger bumps at speed upset its composure significantly. It comes down to a lack of suspension design refinement." -- Edmunds
  • On the road, we found the Outlander's ride on the firm side, its steering somewhat numb on-center and its handling acceptable, but still not on par with the Mazda CX-5." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • The Outlander does float and bounce over dips and crests more than we'd prefer, but at least the retuned electric-assist steering provides a greater sense of straight-line stability." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

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