For 2014, Mitsubishi gave the Outlander a full overhaul, and you couldn’t ask for a more comprehensive overhaul. The Outlander has lost all that made it unique in the crossover SUV realm and inherited a rather boring look. In fact, it looks totally out of place in Mitsubishi’s lineup, to be perfectly honest. The Outlander wasn’t all bad though, as the tester that I received had a lot of options added, which made for a nice week driving it around.
Under the hood of my tester was the base 2.4-liter four-pot that only produced 166 ponies and 162 pounds of twist. Why Mitsubishi didn’t send it with the optional V-6 is beyond me. The 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet would have likely made for more fun and a quieter ride. Not that the V-6 isn’t underpowered in its own right.
The Outlander is really a love it or hate is type of vehicle. Traditionalists likely enjoy its normal styling, but generation X and Y likely think it is too boring to compete. Can its features overcome the sharp looks of the Toyota RAV4 and the larger third row in the Kia Sorento ?
Click past the jump to read the full Driven review to find out.
he body lines are very traditional with a straight-as-an-arrow shoulder line and an almost featureless side profile.
On the outside, the Outlander is a little "blah." The body lines are very traditional with a straight-as-an-arrow shoulder line and an almost featureless side profile. This may make some folks feel bored — myself included — but traditionalists likely love this basic SUV look.
The only real styling of note on the outside are the headlights, taillights and front grille. The latter of those three is a bit of a sore spot, as it looks like Mitsu may have tried a little too hard to look futuristic, but ended up looking cartoonish.
The doors closed with a bit of a whimper
On top of the standard features, the SE trim level nets you a set of fog lights, LED repeaters in the mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low-pro tires. The optional Touring package that my tester came with added in rain-sensing wipers — something that I now miss — and a sliding sunroof.
One big issue I had with the exterior of the Outlander was its cheap feel. I am not too sure if it is cheaply built, but the doors closed with a bit of a whimper and the latching just didn’t feel convincing. Maybe it is just me, but something felt off about it.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE - Exterior Specifications
|Overall length||183.3 in|
|Overall width||70.9 in.|
|Overall height||66.1 in.|
|Wheel Tread, front||60.6 in.|
|Wheel Tread, rear||60.6 in.|
|Ground clearance||8.5 in.|
The Outlander's cabin was a can of mixed nuts; sometimes you get a plain-Jane peanut and other times you scored a savory macadamia nut
The Outlander’s cabin was a can of mixed nuts; sometimes you get a plain-Jane peanut and other times you score a savory macadamia nut. In terms of peanuts, the seats were rather typical, sans the leather, which wasn’t very supple; the wood trimming looks to have been ripped straight from a mid-1990s LeSabre; and the dashboard was a sea of gray.
Like I said, there are a few macadamia nuts mixed in too, like the Rockford Fosgate head unit/navigation combo, which is easy to operate; the gauges are clear and the display in the middle is informative; and the tastiest of the macadamias is the 10-in Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the back and the other eight speakers that are powered by 710 watts of thunderous power. I am not a huge audiophile any longer, but that audio system really sets the Outlander apart from any other SUV in its class.
The tastiest of the macadamias was the 10-in Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the back and the other eight speakers that are powered by 710 watts of thunderous power.
Now onto that rear seat and its odd-looking headrests. To call this a "seat" is very generous; it is more like a yoga mat with seatbelts. It is great to have in a pinch, but it is not a seat that any adult wants to occupy for any longer than 10 minutes. I actually had my test vehicle loaded up with passengers and drove 30 minutes away. The poor young woman in the back seat was so cramped that by time we got to our destination, she could barely crawl out of the vehicle. And those strange-looking, super-high headrests almost push your head forward, leaving your neck a little stiff.
But, this is really more of a five-passenger SUV with a jump seat in case you pick up a stray passenger than a true seven-passenger SUV. With the third row folded — like it needs to be — there is plenty of room for groceries and a stroller. But with that third seat up, a stroller won’t even fit, so there’s the second strike on that rear seat.
In terms of noise inside the cabin, well, let’s just say that it’s not a BMW or Mercedes. The CVT drones on, leaving you to bask in the sound of the big four-pot overworking to get the Outlander up to speed. Once you get up to cruising speeds, the noise level falls drastically, making for a nice ride.
Overall, though, for its class and the price, the interior features that come in the Outlander SE with the Touring package make it a pretty good deal.
Rear Seat In Detail
Cargo Area In Detail
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE - Interior Specifications
|Head Room (with sunroof) - Front||40.6 in. (39.9 in.)|
|Head Room (with sunroof) - 2nd row||38.4 in. (37.2 in.)|
|Head Room (with sunroof) - 3rd row||35.7 in. (35.7 in.)|
|Leg room - Front (MAX)||40.9 in.|
|Leg room - 2nd row||37.3 in|
|Leg room - 3rd row||28.2 in|
|Shoulder room - Front||56.4 in.|
|Shoulder room - 2nd row||56.1 in|
|Shoulder room - 3rd row||50.6 in.|
|Hip room - Front||52.6 in.|
|Hip room - 2nd row||51.7 in.|
|Hip room - 3rd row||39.4 in.|
|Passenger volume||128.2 cubic ft.|
|SAE cargo volume (Behind front seats)||61 cubic ft.|
|SAE cargo volume (Behind 2nd row seats)||33 cubic ft.|
|SAE cargo volume (Behind 3rd row seats)||10.3 cubic ft.|
The MIVEC 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is a really fine engine... in a small sedan like the Lancer. In an SUV, on the other hand, it feels overworked. Its 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque just aren’t enough to handle this 3,300-pound SUV with passengers and cargo. On top of that, the MIVEC engine is notoriously loud, and in my test model it nearly sounded like a diesel engine when idling — not cool. On the upside, however, it does kiss 30 mpg on the highway.
The CVT transferring the power to the front wheels was just as annoying as I remember the CVT in the old Dodge Caliber being. It drones on and on until you reach cruising speeds, and then suddenly quiets down until you start accelerating, then it’s back to droning on.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE - Drivetrain Specifications
|Engine||2.4L MVEC SOHC 16-valve Inline four-cylinder|
|Output (HP @ RPM)||166 @ 6,000|
|Torque (LB-FT @ RPM)||162 @ 4,200|
|Fuel Economy (MPG City/Highway/Combined)||25 / 31 / 27|
The Outlander bases at $24,620, but upgrading to the SE and adding in the Touring Package — I highly recommend this package if you can swing the extra $6k — put the total price at $30,7206.
Like the Outlander, the Kia Sorento also can haul up to seven people, but it will cost you an extra $1,000 to add this option that is standard on the Outlander. That said, the Sorento’s third row gives a more tolerable 31.7 inches of legroom — 3.7 inches more than the Outlander — and its headrest doesn’t look deformed. With that extra legroom, you do lose lots of cargo room, as it falls to just 9.1 cube.
The Sorento’s base price is only slightly higher at $24,100, but the third row jumps it to $25,100.
Gallery Kia Sorento
While the Outlander is reserved in the styling department, the RAV4 is pretty wild. It’s new body breathed a little life into the aging model, and its $23,300 base price is easy to swallow. Like the Outlander, the RAV4 is slightly underpowered, as it only has a 2.5-liter four-pot with 176 horsepower. The RAV4 fortunately has a traditional six-speed automatic trans, and gets 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
The RAV4 has no optional third row of seats, but it does have 38.4 cubes of cargo area behind the second row and 37 inches of legroom for the second-row passengers.
Gallery Toyota RAV4
In the end, is the Outlander SE with the Touring Package a good deal? Yes. But the issue is not the features it has, it is the fact that its looks are dated from the moment you drive it off of the lot. We understand and love the simplistic approach, but Mitsubishi certainly overdid it on the Outlander. I bet that Mitsubishi redesigns the Outlander very quickly.
- That audio system is one of the best in its class
- Lots of cargo room with the seats folded
- Power rear hatch is a nice addition
- The body is very, very bland
- The blandness carries into the cabin too
- Lots of noise on acceleration