2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
A Complete Makeover
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – For model year 2014 Mitsubishi gave its compact crossover a complete makeover with an exterior design that makes it look bigger than it is and an interior of higher grade materials.
The Outlander rides on basically the same platform, and if you are asking “what is it” here are some answers. It is 183 inches long or three inches longer than the Toyota RAV4 or five inches longer than the Honda CR-V. With a 105 inch wheelbase, the Outlander matches the Toyota and is two inches longer than the Honda.
For a base engine, Mitsu gave it a 2.4 liter 4 with 166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm. That is 10 hp below the RAV and 19 ponies below the CR-V. Tied to a lackluster CVT, the Outlander took almost 11 seconds to hit 60 from a standstill, and is slower than its arch competitors.
But it is competitive in economy. The EPA rates the Outlander at 24/29 mpg and that compares to 22/29 in the RAV and 22/20 in the CR-V. All run on regular grade petrol.
I would recommend a step up to the GT Outlander since that brings a 3.0-liter V6 that ups the horsepower to 224 @ 6,250 and torque to 215 lb-ft 3,750 rpm. The six prefers premium but should make this a more satisfying performer since it comes with a six speed automatic.
There were comfortable front seats with lots of room in all directions but for the asking price there should also be a lumbar adjustment. In the second row, there was more than adequate space for two adults and a child and the seats slide back and forth. Access to the third row was difficult and there was very little room back there for even small children, so it’s best to keep the seats folded.
Behind the front row seats there is 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space and that is below the space available in the Toyota and the Honda.
The test vehicle had one option package that was rather extensive and expensive. The SE Touring Package totaled $6,100.
It included among other things, a Navi system with a 7″ high definition touch panel, voice command and 3D mapping, a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate® premium sound system with 9 speakers including a 10-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, rain-sensing wipers, leather seating surfaces, power sunroof, power tailgate, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat and some interior trim refinements.
One maddening feature was the Lane Departure Warning. Drivers can turn off the hyperactive beeping via a button on the lower left of the dash, but it has to be disabled each time you start up.
On occasion, the button to turn the audio system off worked, and at times it did not. More frustrating was the power lift gate that had the same malady especially when one tried to raise it using the key fob.
Also included in the test Outlander was SAWC. In case you did not know, it is “Super All-Wheel Control” and it has four driving modes – ECO, Normal, Snow and Lock. It can vary the distribution of power and it is an item that might prove to be a gem if the nation faces another bad winter. With 8.5 inches of ground clearance some mild off roading is possible.
Out on the highway the Outlander was slow to build up speed and the CVT created lots of engine noise when one tried to extract all available power. Once up to speed the interior was fairly quiet with some road noise. The ride on pot holed highways was on the firm side and there were some vibrations that made their way through to the dash panel. Handling was okay but hardly sporty.
Our mid-range SE model with lots of equipment carried an MSRP of $32,700 from a base of $25,795.
With its long list of features, comfortable and upgraded interior and good fuel economy, the Outlander does have some bragging points.
Yet the bottom line is a lack of refinement despite all of the changes for the 2014 model year. It is something Mitsu has to work on if it is to compete with the CR-V and the RAV4 in the hot crossover market. There is also the matter of a small dealer network.