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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander

Performance


#15 out of 15 in Compact SUVs

MSRP
$24,895
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 5.6

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander doesn't inspire confidence on the road. None of its three powertrains deliver impressive power or acceleration, and most competitors have smoother rides and superior handling. Gas mileage is OK, which represents the high-water mark for the Outlander's performance.

  • "Handling is uninspiring no matter which model you get." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "The Outlander's handling is clumsy. The car is reluctant to turn, and requires a hefty steering input to coerce it to negotiate corners. Body lean is pronounced and sets in early, and the steering lacks feedback. These characteristics make the Outlander feel like a much larger vehicle and detract from confidence and driving enjoyment." -- Consumer Reports (2019)
  • "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 (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The base Outlander comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The Outlander GT features a 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine is underpowered, delivers poor acceleration, and makes plenty of noise at higher RPMs. A few critics think the CVT helps the Outlander return better fuel economy, but most find it is a detriment to the vehicle's performance. The GT's V6 engine provides noticeably more power, but it still doesn't make the Outlander into a speed demon. There's also a plug-in-hybrid powertrain, which we detail in the Alternative Fuels and Charging section below.

According to EPA estimates, the Outlander gets 25 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with its base engine and front-wheel drive (mileage drops by 1 mpg with all-wheel drive). Those are middle-of-the-pack ratings for the compact SUV class. GT models earn ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

  • "With three powertrains that include a class-exclusive PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) model, the Outlander has something for almost everyone – unless zippy acceleration and engine refinement are important, that is. The base four-cylinder that we tested was unimpressive, with lethargic performance and an apathetic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that lets the rpm soar and the engine moan." -- Car and Driver
  • "With only 166 horsepower from the engine residing in most trims, the midsize 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander isn't the most powerful SUV in its class; in fact, it's one of the weakest. … The standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a good one and helps the Outlander achieve respectable fuel-economy figures nearing 30-mpg highway. If you find you need more muscle, we suggest moving up to the GT trim with its 3.0-liter V6 engine and conventional 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy drops only a few mpg, which we think is a good trade-off for the added power." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine does the job -- nothing more, nothing less. We clocked a 0-60 mph time of 10 seconds which isn't particularly swift. What's more, the sensation behind the wheel is even less thrilling than the figure suggests due to the transmission's nature. The continuously variable automatic transmission tends to cause engine revs to shoot up before any meaningful acceleration takes place. Trying to merge decisively or climb a grade ends up with you getting assaulted with unpleasant engine noise." -- Consumer Reports (2019)

Alternative Fuels and Charging

The Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that combine to produce 197 horsepower. It has a single-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.

This plug-in hybrid can go up to 22 miles on electric power, and it earns 74 MPG-equivalent in combined city/highway driving when operating as an EV. Under gasoline power, the Outlander PHEV gets 25 mpg city/highway combined.

With a 120-volt household-style power outlet, charging the battery takes between eight and 13 hours. A 240-volt outlet reduces that time to 3.5 hours, and with DC Fast Charging, you can recharge up to 80% of the battery in 25 minutes.

Handling and Braking

This Mitsubishi has noticeable body lean when going around turns, and many class rivals are more agile. The Outlander's ride is firm, and the suspension doesn't do a great job absorbing impacts.

Front-wheel drive comes standard. All-wheel drive is available in all trims, and it comes standard in GT and PHEV models.

  • "We've driven Outlanders with all three powertrains, and they've all had a quiet and comfortable ride on the diversified road surfaces around southeast Michigan. However, overly soft suspensions contributed to excessive body motion that diminished composure when cornering. While Mitsubishi's unique all-wheel-drive system is intended to improve cornering capability, all our test vehicles used this setup and still felt less poised than rivals. The Outlander GT had competitive cornering grip, but its lifeless steering felt like holding hands with a forlorn lover – cold and disconnected with an uncomfortable twitch every now and then. All three Outlanders we drove felt the same, which underscores their unremarkable driving dynamics." -- Car and Driver
  • "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 (2019)
  • "The Outlander is reluctant to corner, requiring lots of steering-wheel twirling. And with copious body lean, it's one of the clumsiest vehicles we've recently tested. The soft suspension makes the ride feel initially absorbent but can get unsettled to the point of occupants experiencing motion sickness. That's not exactly a recipe for a family friendly vehicle." -- Consumer Reports (2019)
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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander

MSRP: $24,895 - $41,695

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