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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC

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Seven years ago, I drove the previous-generation Mitsubishi Outlander for a week-long review. There was a lot to like about the previous model as it featured distinctive shape, comfortable ride, and being somewhat fun to drive. But in other areas, the model fell a bit flat. Poor material choices, firm ride, and the optional V6 engine feeling slightly lackluster. I ended my review with this,

“Mitsubishi has shown a new Outlander at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Underneath the Outlander’s new sheet metal lies a new vehicle architecture and will have the choice between gas and plug-in hybrid power. The new Outlander also gets revised interior and new safety equipment. The question is will the new Outlander be able to fix the problems of the current one?”

It has taken a fair amount of time to get my hands on the new Outlander. In that time, Mitsubishi has made a number of changes and updates to the Outlander lineup such as a revised exterior. Was it worth the wait?

  • The Outlander’s shape is nothing too special with rounded corners, large glass area, and a set of 18-inch alloy wheels that comes standard on most models. For 2019, Mitsubishi has updated the Outlander’s front end with a new grille shape, headlights, and more chrome trim. It does help spruce up the design that has been with us since 2014. My only complaint is the dark silver paint on my tester. It makes the vehicle look like a giant blob.
  • There isn’t anything that sets the interior apart from rivals. The design is somewhat plain, but material quality is quite surprising with an abundance of soft-touch materials. There is a fair amount of piano black trim, which does attract fingerprints.
  • All Outlanders come with a 7-inch touchscreen running Mitsubishi’s latest infotainment system is standard. Those wanting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto need to step up to the SE or higher. My experience with the system mimics the Eclipse Cross; lags behind the competition in terms of the interface and performance, but its a huge step forward from the previous system.
  • The Outlander is one of the few models in the compact crossover class that can boast having three-rows to allow seating for seven. This seat is best reserved for small kids due to the limited amount of leg and headroom. Having the third-row also eats into cargo space - 10.3 vs. 33 cubic feet with the seats folded.
  • Front and rear seating is fine. There’s enough padding to keep everyone comfortable on a long trip, and most passengers will be able to stretch out.
  • Most Outlanders come equipped with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine producing 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a CVT and the choice of front or Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control. Step up to the GT to get a 3.0L V6 packing 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a PHEV option which I talk about more in this first drive piece.
  • The 2.4 is serviceable around town with brisk acceleration and minimal noise. But take the Outlander on the highway or fill it up with people and cargo, and the 2.4 feels overwhelmed. Not helping is the CVT that will drone quite loudly when you plant your foot on the gas.
  • Fuel economy is mid-pack with EPA figures of 24 City/29 Highway/26 Combined for the AWD version - front-wheel drive models see a one MPG improvement. My average for the week landed around 24.
  • One area that I was surprised by the Outlander was the ride. Over the varied surfaces on offer in the Metro Detroit area, the Outlander’s suspension smoothed out various bumps. It doesn’t feel comfortable around corners, showing noticeable body lean and a disconnected steering system. 
  • The Mitsubishi Outlander answers the oddly specific question of, “what is the cheapest three-row crossover I could buy?’ I can see why someone on a tight budget would consider one as the Outlander provides a lot of standard equipment, along with seating for seven at a low price. It doesn’t hurt that Mitsubishi’s 5 year/60,000 mile new car warranty does provide peace of mind for those who want a bit of security.
  • But it does become a poor value the higher you climb in price. My Outlander SEL S-AWC tester starts at $29.095. With the optional SEL Touring Package (forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, and a 710W Rockford Fosgate audio system) and carpeted floor mats, the price ballooned to $33,225 with destination. For that amount of cash, you get into a decently equipped Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX-5. I know dealers put cash on the hoods - most dropping the cost to under $30,000, but it is still a tough sell.

Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Outlander, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2019
Make: Mitsubishi
Model: Outlander
Engine: 2.4L MIVEC SOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 166 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 162 @ 4,200
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/29/26
Curb Weight: 3,472 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
Base Price: $29,095
As Tested Price: $33,225 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

SEL Touring Package - $3,000.00
Accessory Carpeted Floors Mats and Portfolio - $135.00

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Wow, based on what i see and read here, this CUV is gonna need major cash to sell and most will still not buy it I think.

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These have an old school SUV kinda feel to them even if they are actually FWD based crossovers.  I do admit I like them, but would I want to live with one every day? I doubt it. 

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Since when does Mitsubishi get to think that they can sell the Outlander for such a high price?  Unless they either cut production by half and/or make them at least Acura/Buick desirable, Mitsubishi should avoid this and cut prices by $5000 at least.

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I learned at a family event that my cousin and her husband recently picked one of these up over to the Carmax.  It was difficult to hide my hard eye-roll.  Of course they also have a Rogue, so it's a double CVT hell for them.

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Rogue and Outlander, two of the 'best value' crossovers with third row and some space out there.  And yes that includes the CVT.

I admire said value, but even I can't pop for an outlander any more these days.  They badly need a new version.  By the time they do, it will be outdated by a generation.

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