2015 Mitsubishi Outlander GT V6 review

The Outlander GT from underdog Mitsubishi might look cutting-edge, but the rest feels old

The Mitsubishi Outlander may feel a bit dated, but it also has traditional Mitsubishi virtues of rugged simplicity and value.
The Mitsubishi Outlander may feel a bit dated, but it also has traditional Mitsubishi virtues of rugged simplicity and value.
The Mitsubishi Outlander may feel a bit dated, but it also has traditional Mitsubishi virtues of rugged simplicity and value.

Highs

  • Refreshing exterior styling
  • Good value
  • Excellent stereo
  • Durable interior

Lows

  • Rough ride
  • Dated interior styling
  • Unusable third row seating

DT Editors' Rating

Whether it is sports, politicians, or cars, I like rooting for the underdog. And, when it comes to cars, it is hard to find a bigger automotive underdog than Mitsubishi. For that reason I really wanted to like its flagship crossover, the Outlander.

As it turns out, that was a challenge. The Outlander is not a terrible vehicle; it even has likable qualities. However, in the modern world of high-tech crossovers, Mitsubishi’s take on the popular CUV already feels dated.

An outlandish face

One thing that the Outlander absolutely has going for it is it’s styling. The exterior’s smooth lines, cutting-edge lighting design, and circuit board-inspired grille make the Mitsubishi standout.

The Outlander seems to grip and handle fairly well for a car of its size.

While the Outlander’s shape is fairly typical, it combines a number of cleverly chosen features to make it distinctive. The split grill, with its circuit board design, looks reminiscent of those placed on electric vehicles. The rear lights use a wrap-around design that helps give the otherwise smooth lines dimension and definition.

The only other crossovers in the segment that have anything close to the visual presence of the Outlander are the Nissan Rogue and Kia Sorrento. The styling may be a bit polarizing, but it definitely makes a case for itself in the crowded marketplace.

Big box bargain

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the car’s interior. In many ways, the car reminds me of a store brand product. Sure, that Sorny TV might have all the same features as the brand-name item, but it looks and feels cheaper.

So, too, the Mitsubishi. The loaded GT boasts all the bells and whistles: heated leather seats, a banging stereo, navigation, lane departure warning … the works. Unfortunately, all of these components feel as if they were grabbed from the spare parts bin.

The interior is full of switches and trim pieces that look like they originated on a different car, or simply look old. The result is that, despite a wide array of stuff, the sensation of riding in the Outlander is not a luxurious one.

The people experiencing the least luxurious ride will be those unfortunate souls trapped in the third row. The Outlander is a seven-seater, in the same way that my six-foot-three-inch frame qualifies me to play point guard in the NBA. It is technically a true statement, but one that bears little resemblance to reality.

The interior does at least seem to have been assembled properly, though. My press demonstrator had clocked nearly 10,000 miles by the time it arrived on my doorstep, far more than is typical. Despite the battering, it had no doubt received at the hands of some of the world’s lowest scum, automotive journalists, the Outlander remained pristine. This is a good sign that the Outlander will withstand the test of children, dogs, drunken in-laws, and time.

A blast from the past

Modern crossovers are based on cars; they have car steering, car suspension, car chassis. In short, they drive like cars … just tall ones. The Outlander has a decidedly more old-school truck-like feel.

The exterior’s smooth lines, cutting-edge lighting design, and circuit board-inspired grille make the Mitsubishi standout.

Two engines, one of which is more car like, power the Outlander: a four-cylinder and, as with my GT press demonstrator, a 3.0-Liter V6. This engine produces 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough to get around with, even if it isn’t exactly thrilling.

The really truck-like part of the experience comes in the form of the ride and handling. The steering is heavy and fairly direct, but almost completely numb — a familiar sensation to anyone who drove a pickup or SUV from the 1990s. The ride, too, lacks refinement. On bumpy or rutted roads, the Outlander’s suspension seems to redirect blows rather than absorb them.

The experience is rugged, but perhaps a bit inappropriate for the moms and dads who actually shop for crossovers. I can at least say that the Outlander seems to grip and handle fairly well for a car of its size. This is largely courtesy of the advanced all-wheel drive system that Mitsubishi has chosen to fit to the Outlander.

Conclusion

The Outlander may feel old, but it does also have some of the old Mitsubishi virtues: ruggedness, reliability, and value. This is, in fact, the best argument for the Outlander: its combination of ruggedness and value.

A base Outlander starts at $24,000 and can be had fully loaded for just under $35,000. While this price range contains a wide range of crossovers, it is impossible to find a similarly equipped vehicle for less.

The problem is that there are other options that are close. Both the Nissan Rogue and Murano offer stylish designs as well as class leading tech, and the Subaru Forester and Outback both offer great driving dynamics and excellent all-wheel drive. In a world inhabited by such strong crossovers, it is hard to see where the Outlander fits in.

Highs

  • Refreshing exterior styling
  • Good value
  • Excellent stereo
  • Durable interior

Lows

  • Rough ride
  • Dated interior styling
  • Unusable third row seating
Product Review

If you don't know about Genesis yet, the G70 is going to change that

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Korea’s first attempt to take on the vaunted German trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Competition doesn’t come much tougher than that.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.
Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.