2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander - Outlander designed to outshine competition


 For 2016, the dynamic Mitsubishi Outlander crossover wears a bold new design and more than 100 improvements. As example, the exterior power mirrors are small things when it comes to buying a new vehicle, but those on the GT model of Mitsubishi's 2016 Outlander grab one's attention.

They automatically fold out when entering the vehicle. And, of course, they automatically fold in when exiting the sport utility vehicle. This folding feature is unique in the highly competitive and somewhat inexpensive midsized SUV/crossover market.

Three other obvious features make this a desirable vehicle in the highly competitive midsized sport utility vehicle market.

There are three rows for seating for seven, the two rear rows fold absolutely flat and an Eco mode contributes to livable fuel economy.

All seven seating positions have been completely reconfigured for improved comfort/ergonomics as well as for ease of operation of the fold-flat seats (2nd and 3rd-row seating sections).

Also, new this year is standard FUSE hands-free link system with USB port and Bluetooth hands-free phone system.

The cargo area expands from 10.3 cubic feet to 63.3 cubic feet when the two rear rows disappear. The carpeted flat floor means a more useful storage area. In some competing vehicles, the second row folds almost but not entirely flat. Not the Outlander. After folding the third row into a cavity, the seat bottoms of the split second row flip up and rest against the backs of the bucket seats in front. Then the headrests and backs of the rear split seats fold down and flat.

All Outlanders are front-wheel drive, but can be ordered with Mitsubishi's super all-wheel drive control system. A new brake control and electric power steering are standard for outstanding performance and stability

The tested $30,995 2016 GT S-AWC model of the Outlander has an Eco mode and, with that in use, the average fuel usage during test week was 25.5 miles per gallon. Regular unleaded fuel is recommended for the 15.8-gallon tank.

According to the manufacturer, Outlander models equipped with Super All-Wheel Control or S-AWC, and the tested GT was, the ECO mode allows the vehicle to function in two-wheel-drive until sensors determine that four-wheel-drive is necessary. The result is not only better fuel economy, but also lower emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency rates the GT at 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. During the test weeks, no more than two adults were on board. Driving was evenly split between the Interstate system and suburban two- and four-lane roads. Using Eco mode, there is a reduction in power. The GT has a 3-liter, 224-horsepower, inline single overhead cam V6 engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. The GT has been media tested in racing from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8.8 seconds, which is among the leaders in this compact SUV/crossover segment of the market. Disc brakes have been tested bringing this 3,593-pound vehicle to a stop from 60 mph in a distance of 113 feet. Again, this is a remarkable feat in the GT's segment of the market.

Whether in Eco mode or not, power is evident in this V6 engine. It accelerates quickly around slower traffic. The GT can tow a 3,500-pound trailer. The other models with the 2.4-liter engine are limited to towing a 1,500-pound trailer. All models, except the GT's 3-liter, V6 GT have a 2.4-liter, 166-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. The GT is the most expensive Outlander. Pricing begins at $22,995 for an ES base model. Between the ES and GT are the SE and SEL.

Drawbacks, as well as Outlander virtues, are in evidence. The four doors close with a metallic clunk and not with a more sophisticated thud. Insulating materials for the cabin are adequate but not great. Engine noise is especially noticeable upon its start.

On the plus side of the tested Outlander GT, a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate nine-speaker sound system is superb. Ingredients include a 6.1-inch color touchscreen, AM-FM-satellite radio, hands-free Bluetooth for phone use, USB and auxiliary ports and compact disc player. There are manual knobs for tuning and volume. The tilt and telescoping (manual) steering wheel has redundant audio controls. 

An option package, including a navigation system with annual updates, and three safety features (forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning) can be purchased for an additional $3,350.

Not only are there four power windows (express up and down for driver), power door locks and heated exterior mirrors, but, on the GT, both front seats move by power and so does the glass sunroof. In addition there is a power liftgate. Overhead is a roof rack and underneath are shields to protect the powertrain when off-roading.

The 2016 interior incorporates soft touch features that also includes a redesigned steering wheel, a new Mitsubishi multi-communication, navigation and display audio system and accent trim for the doors and dashboard, along with improved seating surfaces and headliner (all models) and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink (GT model).

Niceties in the GT are leather trim, remote keyless entry, smart start, cupholders in the three rows, heated front seats, automatic climate control with micron air filtration, rear heater floor ducts, an overhead roof rack, cruise control, air conditioning (zoned), two 12-volt outlets, storage trays including a large one beneath the dashboard, retractable assist grips, front map lights, center dome light, rear carpeted cargo lighting, and color-keyed door handles and bumpers. There are intermittent wipers, front and rear.

Mitsubishi's advanced safety systems are now available at a lower price point for the 2016 Outlander (available for SEL and GT models). The safety systems include forward collision mitigation; lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, hill-start assist, traction and stability controls, antilock braking system, airbags in front, sides in front and for the driver's knee, plus overhead curtains for three rows, and a tire pressure monitoring system. The 225 tires are supported by 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels. The spare is a temporary.

Mitsubishi has a comprehensive warranty package. The limited warranty is five years or 60,000 miles and the powertrain is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Roadside assistance is offered for five years but with unlimited mileage. Drive the vehicle 100,001 miles or more within the five-year term, and owners can tap into, if necessary, roadside assistance.

Mitsubishi is in a life and death sales struggle in the United States and the Outlander. Hopes for the company to remain viable in this country rest on the Outlander. No wonder the Outlander is equipped as it is, and that is to revive sales in a market dominated by others. Among those more dominant competitors are the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V.

Mirage, Lancer, iMIEV and Outlander Sport are other Mitsubishi products sold in the U.S.


Vehicle: GT S-AWC model of 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Type: three-row, seven-passenger, all-wheel-drive compact sport utility vehicle/crossover

Price: $30,995

Engine: 3-liter, 168-horsepower, single overhead cam V6

Transmission: continuously variable through six speeds

Fuel tank: 15.8 gallons

Fuel: regular

Wheelbase: 105.1 inches

Length: 171.5 inches

Width: 71.3 inches

Height: 64.2 inches

Weight: 3,593 pounds

Ground clearance: 8.5 inches

Leg room: 40.9 inches first row, 37.3 inches second row, 28.2 inches third row

Cargo: 10.3 cubic feet behind upright third row, 34.2 cubic feet behind upright second row, 63.3 cubic feet when second and third row are flattened

Turn circle, curb-to-curb: 34.8 feet

Assembly: Japan

Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles and 10 years or 100,000 miles powertrain, roadside assistance five years but unlimited mileage

Information: www.mitsubishicars.com

M.J. Frumkin and J.E. Kuyper

M. J. Frumkin and J. E. Kuyper covered the auto industry for decades. Frumkin was with Consumer Guide for 14 years, has authored four books and co-authored three more. He is also the historian/archivist for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association/Chicago Auto Show. Kuyper has been an automotive writer, editor and columnist for newspapers in the Chicago area the past 25 years. His reviews currently appear in the daily Northwest Herald newspaper. Frumkin and Kuyper are founding members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.