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Overview (Final Score: C+)

The Mitsubishi Outlander is cleverly named. The word Outlander is a mashup of Subaru’s Outback and Toyota’s Highlander. Both are the top sellers in their sub-segments of the broader crossover marketplace. We found the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander mashes up the features of these two winners to create something no other automaker offers.

What sets the compact Outlander crossover apart from most of its peers is its optional V6 engine and its temporary-use third row of two seats, making it a five-plus-two passenger vehicle. V6 engines are all but gone from compact crossovers, and only the Nissan Rogue offers a vehicle near this size and price with a third row for occasional kids’ use.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander is now in its fifth model year. Along with many years of production usually comes reliability and a lack of small issues. However, the compact crossover market is now very competitive. Vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V are tempting alternatives that feel more modern due to recent updates.

Our test vehicle was a V6 all-wheel drive Outlander GT with the only option package available: the GT Touring trim. The sticker price, including the $920 destination fee, was $34,135. This price is close to the top trims of the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue, but below some trims of the Ford Escape and Subaru Forester XT, which offer powerful turbocharged engines.

What We Love About the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander GT:

  • Great real-world fuel economy (28.7 mpg in our testing)
  • Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility
  • High safety rating

 

What We Don’t Love About the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander GT:

  • Lackluster ride
  • Perceived quality
  • No factory navigation

 

Performance (7/10)

Performance is very important in some segments, but not so much in the affordable compact crossover market. We rate the engine and transmission in the Outlander GT highly. The 224 hp of the V6 was pretty much ideal and delivered smoothly by the 6-speed transmission. Lower trims of the Outlander make due with a 166 hp 4-cylinder engine and constantly variable transmission. The V6 does not make the Outlander fast relative to its peers in the segment, but it is definitely never slow. Frankly, it is just right.

Handling was a bit below average in terms of steering feel and responsiveness. The new CR-V and other crossovers at the $35,000 price point are excellent on-road, and we would not go that far in grading the Outlander.

Ride comfort is also not a strength of the Outlander GT. It felt nervous over bumps and washboard sections of dirt roads would get it vibrating and dancing in a way that felt cheap. We drove a 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium on-road back-to-back with the Outlander, and it felt much more refined and sporty. We also drove a 2014 BMW X3 base trim on dirt roads back-to-back with the Outlander. Now, this is not really a fair fight since the BMW cost about $10,000 more three model years ago. However, the contrast was almost shocking. The BMW felt poised and steady; the Outlander just didn’t measure up to that unfair test.

Where the Outlander GT did well was slow-speed soft-roading. When the dirt roads got choppy and the hills were steep, muddy and rutted, we slowed down, and the Outlander’s AWD system used all four corners to put the power down admirably.

Pricing and Value (10/10)

Value is the Outlander GT’s top strength. There is a lot of vehicle here for the money. Possibly more than any other brand offers in this segment. Factor in the third row and the Outlander is clearly ahead of the pack in terms of bang for the buck.

The $24,000 base trims of the Outlander are also among the least expensive three-row crossovers for sale in America. Will resale value negate some of this value? Perhaps, but when we used the build tool on Mitsubishi’s website, a message popped up offering us a $2,000 discount off our best deal. So Mitsubishi wins on value in this popular type of vehicle.

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (63/80, 79%)

In a way, every affordable compact crossover is a competitor to the Mitsubishi Outlander GT. In that broad sense, we would not rate the Outlander highly.

However, if a smooth V6 with a geared transmission rather than a CVT appeal to you as a shopper, the Outlander GT is quickly on the short list of the best available vehicles. If a part-time third-row seat is important, the Outlander is squarely at the top of the list in the segment.

Since the Outlander is rated so highly for safety and Mitsubishi was careful not to make any major mistakes, that puts the Outlander in a unique spot in the compact crossover kingdom.

Read the FULL REVIEW Now to get expert tips on the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander’s safety, reliability, fuel economy, interior, exterior, technology and more.

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