The clunky, chunky Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the least competitive crossovers in the class. A redesign for the 2014 model year should add some sophistication, both inside and out.
The new Outlander gets sleeker exterior styling, a more upscale interior and revised engines. The third generation of Mitsubishi’s largest SUV loses an inch in length and weighs about 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.
Changes to the exterior styling include a restyled grille, a raised belt line, a more contoured body and wraparound headlamps. Mitsubishi said the new design reduces aerodynamic drag, but the automaker wasn’t specific about fuel-economy gains.
The powertrains are familiar. Base models will use an updated version of the outgoing model's 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and uplevel GT versions will use a revised version of last year's 3.0-liter V-6. Mitsubishi didn’t confirm horsepower, but in the previous generation, the four-cylinder was good for 168 horsepower and the V-6 for 230 hp. A continuously variable automatic transmission is paired with the four-cylinder; V-6 versions use a six-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, there's standard seating for seven passengers, a revised control layout and more premium materials, including a soft-touch instrument panel, woodgrain trim and glossy black "center waterfall" design.
Also new are three new safety systems: lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and forward-collision mitigation. More optional convenience features are available, including a Rockford Fosgate stereo, a power tailgate activated from the driver's seat or by the key fob, and the next generation of Mitsubishi’s navigation system.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but Mitsubishi said the 2014 Outlander "is an ideal vehicle for the cost-conscience automotive consumer." The 2013 model starts at $23,520, including an $825 destination charge.