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2016 update - 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport / 2015 Outlander brief drive


regfootball

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  • 4 weeks later...

DRIVEN

 

2015 Mistusbishi Outlander Sport ES AWD and ES MT FWD

 

I've previously reviewed the Outlander Sport a few times.  If you scan prior threads and compare you will note that Mitsubishi has made improvements every year.

 

(PISSED OFF DUE TO SPONTANEOUS WINDOWS SELF RESTART ERASED ALL MY TYPING)

 

HIGHS

 

Still great front seats.  Comfy and wide enough for Amurchan butts.  Front row of cabin nicely spacious.

Console, dash, shifter, cupholders, nice layout.

Dash and ergnomics still very good.  Large side mirrors (YES listen to that GM).

Good value for the dollar when equipped without too many options.  Great warranty.  AWD on the cheap.

Improved MPG, which was already good to begin with.

NVH improvements abound, wider glass, new CVT, extra sound materials.  VERY quiet on highway at cruising speeds with CVT.

New CVT is a huge upgrade.  Simulated stepped shifting, no drone, no slipping, maximizes motor best it can.  Improved acceleration is noticeable.  This alone transforms the vehicle.

Easy steering, not sporty or great feel, but easy and comfortable.

Solid, bigger vehicle ride, thanks to long wheelbase and wide stance.

Should compete well against new smaller competition like the Trax, HRV, etc.

Mitsu brand has rebounded well with big sales and new dealerships.....here to stay

 

LOWS

 

They didn't change the engine.  It's hardly a big deal now like before, but the new CVT almost demands a more sophisticated engine.  No other engine options.

5 speed MT is no longer desirable after driving the CVT.  At 70 mph in 5th, the rpm is almost 1000 higher than the CVT.

Rear seatbacks don't recline

Some (not me) may think it should have more trunk.

Interior would be drab and without bling to some.  Why so much black?

FUSE system has a little bit of a rep for being difficult.

Vehicle is a better buy when lightly optioned.  Too much luxury and it loses its value equation.

Vehicle is not meant to compete with base Escapes and such very well.  At certain prices and trim you may want to step up.

You may still want to pick your Mitsu dealer wisely, Mitsu still will never be Toyota.

This vehicle is dying for a sport / Ralliart version.  Imagine 270hp and AWD + stick......

 

SUMMARY

 

I've had an affection for this rig since it has been out.  It's been one of the few small AWD CUV's, a bit of a pioneer.  Each year they have done minor tweaks.  It now has evolved to the point where the powertrain and NVH issues have been finessed so it feels like a finished product.  THis would be a great commuter vehicle for many in winter climes, and actually would be a fantastic trip vehicle too, due to its lazy composed mode of operation with the new CVT.  The engine could still be improved, but is not an achilles heel.  

 

Its a bit of a tweener now, though.  Its not in the class of an Equinox or Escape.  And new competition has arrived with the Trax, HRV, etc.  It will not be as small as those.  So the big thing for Mitsubishi will be to position it to take on both classes.  If priced and optioned correctly, it should be a nice option in comparison.

 

I would avoid the MT in this rig now.  It should be upgraded to a 6 speed, with a better clutch, and it should run lower rpm at highway speeds.  It would be nice if you could get an AWD + stick, it would be a unique choice in the market.  The MT does allow them to sell this package very cheap, and in that regard, its a great option to buy a crossover instead of a squashed sedan for the same or less money.

 

You as a shopper would need to determine if the status of the brand is an issue.  Mitsu is rebounding greatly in the US, and there are new dealers, and they are building new facilities.  It seems they are here to stay.  They are not Toyota or Chevy.  But this particular model has kept the brand alive and now it is making them grow.  People buy and like the vehicle and so that is a good building block.

 

Because of evolving competition, despite the improvements, I would leave this graded at B-.  The new CVT makes this a nice drive, but there is still the carryover engine and somewhat drab interior that can be improved.  Mits keeps a lot of its vehicles the same for many years so I see them evolving these bits and pieces in the future.  As for now, no reservations, if you want a cheap AWD crossover that gets good mpg and is a nice drive, you will find it here.  I still may end up with one of these myself........

 

As much as the new Trax is appealing, GM will charge the same or higher prices, and i would rather pop for this outlander sport than the Trax.  But a cheaper Escape may be more appealing at some point than this........

Edited by regfootball
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  • 5 months later...

last weekend I managed to get a quick test drive in a 4 cylinder AWD Outlander (not Sport)

 

We've seen images of the 2016 updates of this vehicle and it is all noteworthy.  Some of the ugliness goes away.  Is it a beauty?  Still not yet.

 

Mitsubishi promises CVT and drivability upgrades for 2016 as well.  But for the 2015,

 

HIGHS

-Cabin and interior space

-Flexible second row seats.  Seatbacks recline in row two, unlike the Sport which do not.

-Good space and comfort over the Sport.  Six footers in second row quite comfy.

-Relatively good mpg for this type of vehicle, which apparently is being met in real world

-Very affordable in lower trims for younger families that need space or third row, other similar vehicles are not

-Very usable dash layout, and great visibility to the outside all around

-Nice gauges and steering wheel

-Predictable ride and handling

-Mitsubishi standard warranty

-Garagable third row vehicle if you have a small garage

 

LOWS

-Looks

-bland interior, all black, all the time, not really anything visually interesting

-The radio actually is uninviting techno wise, and drab to use (was not Rockford Fosgate version)

-third row admittedly is limited to small kids mostly

-tepid and outdated engine.  Slow if you step on it.  The four cylinder on this rig should have 20-40 more hp (and embrace new technology)

-CVT needs improvements (like it got on the Sport)

-corresponding engine drone and noise with CVT

-the 2016 can't come soon enough

 

SUMMARY

Read the highs and lows and there is not much else to add.  This would be a great alternative for a lot of people if it had a more acceptable engine and trans performance.  I found out I had driven most of the trip in "Eco" mode.  I am not sure if regular mode would make much difference.  In any case, if you are willing to live without big power under the hood (or just upgrade to the v6), this could be a good choice if you merely want something with some space, utility, good warranty, and affordable price.  I would wonder if the experience with a FWD only version would be a lot better without the extra weight and drag of the AWD system.

 

Getting one of these depends if you want to settle or if you expect more.  Depends on your priorities.  There isn't much egregious here, but there is nothing compelling either.  Maybe the best attributes are the flexible second row seats, and the third row.

 

Special note, the actual selling prices of the Outlander and Sport are sometimes close for equal trims and equipment, or within less than a couple grand.  If you like the extra space of the Outlander, it may not cost you much more than a Sport, which is more interesting.  If price and warranty are big shopping points for you, the vehicle scores high on those aspects and in that regard could make it purchase worthy.

Edited by regfootball
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  • 11 months later...

last weekend I managed to get a quick test drive in a 4 cylinder AWD Outlander (not Sport)

 

We've seen images of the 2016 updates of this vehicle and it is all noteworthy.  Some of the ugliness goes away.  Is it a beauty?  Still not yet.

 

Mitsubishi promises CVT and drivability upgrades for 2016 as well.  But for the 2015,

 

HIGHS

-Cabin and interior space

-Flexible second row seats.  Seatbacks recline in row two, unlike the Sport which do not.

-Good space and comfort over the Sport.  Six footers in second row quite comfy.

-Relatively good mpg for this type of vehicle, which apparently is being met in real world

-Very affordable in lower trims for younger families that need space or third row, other similar vehicles are not

-Very usable dash layout, and great visibility to the outside all around

-Nice gauges and steering wheel

-Predictable ride and handling

-Mitsubishi standard warranty

-Garagable third row vehicle if you have a small garage

 

LOWS

-Looks

-bland interior, all black, all the time, not really anything visually interesting

-The radio actually is uninviting techno wise, and drab to use (was not Rockford Fosgate version)

-third row admittedly is limited to small kids mostly

-tepid and outdated engine.  Slow if you step on it.  The four cylinder on this rig should have 20-40 more hp (and embrace new technology)

-CVT needs improvements (like it got on the Sport)

-corresponding engine drone and noise with CVT

-the 2016 can't come soon enough

 

SUMMARY

Read the highs and lows and there is not much else to add.  This would be a great alternative for a lot of people if it had a more acceptable engine and trans performance.  I found out I had driven most of the trip in "Eco" mode.  I am not sure if regular mode would make much difference.  In any case, if you are willing to live without big power under the hood (or just upgrade to the v6), this could be a good choice if you merely want something with some space, utility, good warranty, and affordable price.  I would wonder if the experience with a FWD only version would be a lot better without the extra weight and drag of the AWD system.

 

Getting one of these depends if you want to settle or if you expect more.  Depends on your priorities.  There isn't much egregious here, but there is nothing compelling either.  Maybe the best attributes are the flexible second row seats, and the third row.

 

Special note, the actual selling prices of the Outlander and Sport are sometimes close for equal trims and equipment, or within less than a couple grand.  If you like the extra space of the Outlander, it may not cost you much more than a Sport, which is more interesting.  If price and warranty are big shopping points for you, the vehicle scores high on those aspects and in that regard could make it purchase worthy.

Here is a quick follow up, as I took a 2016 Outlander ES FWD out for a spin yesterday.

 

Just to answer the inevitable question, why would anyone care, and yes I do agree with that sentiment as far as the general populace grows.

 

Myself, I have been considering if a compact SUV or a sedan will be my next daily driver.  Our main vehicle is a van, so for me, something that is small - mid size for me everyday, but still occasionally capable of some family use.  

 

When I compare some of the small SUV's I am looking for the most capability for the buck, and just something cheap to run and decent to drive.  

 

Some of the candidates have been like the Escape, CRV, etc.  I have not looked at a Rogue yet, but that may fall into the group also.  That and the fact the Outlanders have good warranties and prices that often undercut the likes of the Terrains of the world keep it at least on the radar.  Absolutely Mits as a brand is always behind the curve.

 

My report here is the -over 100 improvements- to the Outlander does in fact genuinely improve the product.  (still withholding judgment on the aesthetic improvements).

 

The engine is unchanged and is still low power and dated.  But the CVT has refinements.  Lots of NVH refinements for sound deadening and in general.  SO this in fact makes for quite a livable vehicle now, despite the old engine.

 

The Honda CRv is a buzzing rattle trap that gets praised for being a pop can.  The Outlander is a quieter smoother cruiser than the Crv now.  And the CVT is tuned much better.  I'm amazed at why Honda gets the buyers they do sometimes.

 

This doesn't qualify the Outlander for A+ status now, but it makes it a legit option  B/C status for a lot of people if they compare I believe.  For someone who wanted a compact footprint SUV, and just have it be friendly transportation, the Outlander will do the job.  It could still use more grunt off the line, and some steering feel.  But the interior plastics and controls seem to have improved finishes, and things like aluminum wheels, dual zone climate and leather steering wheel are standard.  The extremely flexible second row sliding and folding seat itself is nicely done.  Those who need more second row room than the Escape has will like the second row in this vehicle.

 

I am not sure how the Rogue compares, I am curious.  The Rogue is extremely popular these days.  Of course, it looks great for what it is, and it has the third row also.  (3rd row you might use twice a year for lilliputians).  The CRv is getting a third row soon also.

 

In any case, it feels pleasant and capable now, instead of unrefined.  And so the improvements, is not just bunk.  Still room for engine improvements.  May be worth a look vs. an Escape, RAV or CRv.  May be worth a look to get more room for the $$$$ vs say, an Encore, or other competition.

 

You would think it would be easier to come out of the gate with a fully refined entry.

Edited by regfootball
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