The Mitsubishi Outlander’s front bumper reminds us of something that might print documents or handle faxes at the office but look past its Xerox-inspired face and you’ll find an SUV with an elegant cabin with a comfortable ride. While the Outlander is essentially a three-row version of the Nissan Rogue—the two share the same platform—its tightly-packed rear-most seats are mostly there as decoration as they provide little to no legroom for adults. The smaller two-row Outlander Sport is reviewed separately. The Outlander’s power comes from a 181-hp four-cylinder, and a CVT with front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive optional. A plug-in hybrid version is coming that should improve this compact SUVs’ mediocre gas consumption.
What’s New for 2023?
Mitsubishi adds a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the three-row Outlander for 2023. The Outlander PHEV will feature Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system, and act as the company’s next step in its commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
SEL Special Edition
With a base price of around $28,000 the Outlander is a little pricier than other compact crossovers, including the Rogue. Despite a variety of desirable features, the top SEL trim has questionable value since it costs about as much as a top-of-the-line Mazda CX-5, which has won our 10Best award multiple times. So, we’d recommend the mid-level SEL model. For just over $30,000 (all-wheel drive adds $1800), it comes with intricate 20-inch wheels, a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, a hands-free power liftgate, wireless charging, and driver assists such as adaptive cruise and lane-keeping assist. We’d also select the Tech package that adds a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a Bose audio system, and a panoramic sunroof.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Outlander is motivated by a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that makes 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. It pairs exclusively with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is the standard configuration, but all-wheel drive is optional. Although the Outlander’s acceleration times are competitive with other compact crossovers (excluding speedsters such as the turbocharged CX-5 and Kia Sportage), it feels less responsive and lazier at highway speeds, which is exacerbated by its gearless CVT. Otherwise, the Outlander drives with a newfound agility and composure. Its steering is nicely weighted, its body motions are controlled, and its ride is taut. We did notice a lack of isolation that allowed a lot of road noise to enter the cabin on all but the smoothest roads, and our test vehicle’s large 20-inch wheels with limited sidewall cushioning didn’t help the situation. The Outlander we drove also had a soft-feeling brake pedal, but the stoppers hauled the SUV down from 70 mph in a class-competitive 172 feet.
More on the Outlander SUV
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The all-wheel-drive Outlander earns an EPA rated 24 mpg city and 30 highway. Front-wheel drive Outlanders see a marginal improvement of 24 city and 31 mpg on the highway. During our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route—part of our extensive testing regimen—the all-wheel-drive Mitsubishi’s real-world result of 26 mpg fell short of its EPA estimate. Fuel economy results from the EPA for the upcoming Outlander PHEV aren’t available just yet. For more information about the Outlander’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The new Outlander has significantly nicer cabin materials compared with its predecessor, which was marred by subpar plastics and chintzy trim pieces. Not only are the interior accents and surfaces of higher quality, but the design finally qualifies as modern. Likewise, there’s an assortment of contemporary content that includes an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a head-up display. While passengers in the first two rows enjoy extra hip room and legroom than in the last-gen Outlander, its third row has very limited legroom for adults. The only other compact crossover with seating for seven is the Volkswagen Tiguan, but, unlike the Outlander, its extra set of seats are limited to front-drive models. Cargo space also increases on the new Outlander, with 1 cubic foot added to the total volume behind the second and third rows.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
On the infotainment front, the new Outlander offers either an 8.0- or 9.0-inch touchscreen, depending on the trim. Both units have standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but only the latter allows users to connect their iPhones wirelessly. Along with charging ports at the bottom of the center stack, the system features hard buttons and physical knobs for volume and tuning. Additional available infotainment features include a 10-speaker Bose audio system, wireless device charging, and access to the subscription-based Mitsubishi Connect app that provides remote services.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Available with driver-assistance technology that includes adaptive cruise control and a semi-autonomous drive mode, the 2023 Outlander boasts a compelling set of tech. For more information about the compact crossover’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mitsubishi provides one of the better limited and powertrain warranties versus other compact crossovers and SUVs. Although the company doesn’t offer complimentary maintenance, its primary protection plans are just as long as those from Kia and Hyundai.
- Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander S-AWC
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$38,590 (base price: $28,790)
DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
152 in3, 2488 cm3
181 hp @ 6000 rpm
181 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
continuously variable automatic
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.8-in vented disc/13.0-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus, P255/45R-20 101W M+S
Wheelbase: 106.5 in
Length: 185.4 in
Width: 73.3 in
Height: 68.8 in
Passenger volume: 120 ft3
Cargo volume: 12 ft3
Curb weight: 3864 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 8.2 sec
100 mph: 23.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.7 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 6.0 sec
1/4 mile: 16.3 sec @ 86 mph
Top speed (C/D est): 120 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 171 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
75-mph highway driving: 26 mpg
Highway range: 370 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 26/24/30 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs