2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

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$23,945–$32,245 MSRP range
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Key Specs

of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Affordability
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard on most trims
  • Second row bench tilts and slides on both sides
  • Battery Charge driving mode for PHEV
  • AWD available on whole lineup
  • Low step-in height good for kids

The Bad

  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Third row too small for adults
  • Firm ride
  • Lack of charging options in rear seats
  • Lots of engine noise in cabin
  • Limited availability of advanced safety features

Notable Features of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

  • Offered in gas and PHEV models
  • Four-cylinder or V-6 engine
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Seats up to seven (PHEV seats five)
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Standard Bluetooth connectivity

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Road Test

Brian Wong
The Verdict:

The Outlander is an affordable way to carry seven people, but it lacks the refinement and features of other family haulers.

Versus The Competition:

Though the Outlander wins on price, it doesn’t win on much else — there are simply several better vehicles in its class.

It seems like the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander would be right up my alley. I love a deal. When I go grocery shopping, if it's not on sale, I don't buy it even if I know I like it; the shirt I'm wearing as I write this is the result of stackable online coupons; my cell phone is on a family plan; I would rather walk five blocks (long ones) than pay for parking. Point is, I'm a man who loves saving money. And the Outlander is nearly the cheapest way you can get three rows of seats and space for seven people, with the exception of the Dodge Journey.

But after a week with the 2018 Outlander, I found my whole worldview changing. There are times when it doesn't pay to skimp — and this seems to be one of them.

The Outlander competes against the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, 2019 Kia Sorento and the aforementioned 2018 Dodge Journey, all of which have third rows either standard or optional. Compare the Outlander with those vehicles here.

There's also a plug-in hybrid electric version of the Outlander, which makes it unique among non-luxury SUVs. (No, Kia, the Niro isn't an SUV, no matter what you say.) The plug-in Outlander has just two rows and five seats.

This review covers both the gas-only Outlander and the Outlander PHEV.

New for 2018

The gas-only Outlander comes in five trim levels: ES, SE, LE, SEL and GT (which I tested). Updates to the 2018 model are slight: ES models get a new 7-inch touchscreen as standard equipment, while the SEL's stan...

It seems like the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander would be right up my alley. I love a deal. When I go grocery shopping, if it's not on sale, I don't buy it even if I know I like it; the shirt I'm wearing as I write this is the result of stackable online coupons; my cell phone is on a family plan; I would rather walk five blocks (long ones) than pay for parking. Point is, I'm a man who loves saving money. And the Outlander is nearly the cheapest way you can get three rows of seats and space for seven people, with the exception of the Dodge Journey.

But after a week with the 2018 Outlander, I found my whole worldview changing. There are times when it doesn't pay to skimp — and this seems to be one of them.

The Outlander competes against the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan, 2019 Kia Sorento and the aforementioned 2018 Dodge Journey, all of which have third rows either standard or optional. Compare the Outlander with those vehicles here.

There's also a plug-in hybrid electric version of the Outlander, which makes it unique among non-luxury SUVs. (No, Kia, the Niro isn't an SUV, no matter what you say.) The plug-in Outlander has just two rows and five seats.

This review covers both the gas-only Outlander and the Outlander PHEV.

New for 2018

The gas-only Outlander comes in five trim levels: ES, SE, LE, SEL and GT (which I tested). Updates to the 2018 model are slight: ES models get a new 7-inch touchscreen as standard equipment, while the SEL's standard feature list adds blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a power liftgate. The top-trim GT adds a 360-degree camera system and a heated steering wheel standard.

Two significant option packages have also been updated. The SEL Premium Package adds LED headlights and foglights, a multiview camera system and a heated steering wheel. The Touring Package, available on the SEL and GT only, puts a big emphasis on safety features, adding forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. If you add the Touring Package to the SEL, it adds the contents of the SEL Premium Package, as well.

Essentially, if you want advanced safety features, you Mitsubishi decided you have to get an SEL or a GT, but even then the features aren't standard. This blunts the Outlander's value proposition given those features are offered on lower trim levels of some competitors, and some are making them standard on all trim levels (Toyota immediately comes to mind).

Compare the 2018 Outlander with last year's model here.

Powertrains and Performance

The Mitsubishi Outlander offers two engines apart from the plug-in hybrid. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder, found in all but the GT, makes 166 horsepower and 162 pounds-feet of torque, and it pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The GT's 3.0-liter V-6 makes 224 hp and 215 pounds-feet of torque, and it mates with a six-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. Lower trim levels have standard front-wheel drive and optional AWD; the base ES has a more basic AWD option called All-Wheel Control, while all other trim levels have Super All-Wheel Control available, which can move torque left and right and also integrates the SUV's stability control, brakes and active yaw control.


Fuel economy varies based on powertrain. FWD models with the base engine get an EPA-estimated 25/30/27 mpg city/highway/combined; adding AWD drops each figure by 1 mpg. The GT, with its larger engine and AWD, gets 20/27/22 mpg and takes premium gas only; the base engine runs on regular.

The Outlander's ride is harsh, especially on poor roads, without much payoff. It's one thing to make a suspension stiffer so it holds up better in corners, but the Outlander manages to ride poorly while also leaning heavily when pushed. If I had to pick one word to describe the Outlander's ride quality, it would be "busy."

Acceleration from the V-6 was more than adequate, but the engine gets noisy when it revs up — and not in a fun, sporty-exhaust kind of way. Our editors who drove the hybrid for a week reported the same thing in that vehicle, so engine noise is going to be an issue, even though road and tire noise didn't stand out as problems to me. Perhaps I couldn't hear them over the engine.

How the Plug-In Hybrid Drives

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is offered in SEL and GT trim levels with standard AWD. It combines a 117-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear. According to EPA estimates, the 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack has enough juice to give the Outlander PHEV 22 miles of electric range up front, after which gas mileage is 25 mpg combined. The battery takes eight hours to charge on a 120-volt household outlet (with the supplied charging cable) or 3.5 hours with a 240-volt Level 2 charging station (sold separately). For out and about, the Outlander PHEV is also DC fast-charge-compatible, which pumps the battery up to 80 percent capacity in just 25 minutes.


Our editors in Chicago tested the PHEV model and echoed what I noticed about the gas model's driving experience: an overall lack of refinement and lots of noise to go with adequate performance. The plug-in has good initial power off the line on electricity alone, but pressing the accelerator more than halfway kicks on the gas engine.

The PHEV has a few driving modes not found on the regular version, including a Battery Charge mode that keeps the gas engine running all the time to pump some extra juice back into the battery. We found that this mode doesn't affect performance too much, and it doesn't feel as if the engine over-revs in normal driving. In a non-scientific measure, we drove around a neighborhood for about 20 minutes and managed to add a few miles of range back into the battery. The best use of this mode would be during higher-speed driving, where you could preserve or bolster the electric charge for later use in lower-speed stop-and-go conditions when electric driving is most efficient.

Interior

The Mitsubishi Outlander's interior is by turns adequate and disappointing. The design and layout made me feel like I was climbing into a car from five years ago rather than something modern. This probably wouldn't have bothered me so much in a more affordable trim, but this was a loaded GT that stickered for $34,360 (including destination charges).


Looking at the features list, the Outlander has a few things going for it. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard on all trim levels, and all versions except the base ES come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. SEL and GT models even add real leather upholstery. On paper, the Outlander seems to match up well with the competition in terms of what you get for the price.

But the more I poked around, the more I found to frustrate me and my passengers. There were two USB ports and a 12-volt outlet up front, but nothing in the second or third rows for passengers back there to charge devices. There's another 12-volt outlet that's accessible from the cargo area. The seats across all three rows are stiff and flat, like sitting on a church pew with minimal cushioning. It's nice that there's easy access to the third row from both sides, but there's no room back there for adults to sit, or even bigger kids; it needs more legroom and headroom. There also aren't any visible air vents in the second or third rows, so air circulation could be a problem.

The third row won't fold down unless you remove the gigantic head restraints, which don't store neatly anywhere. There's a storage bin in the floor behind the third row, but it's tiny — too shallow for even a backpack or a large purse. Behind the third row is only 10.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which expands to 34.2 cubic feet with the third row folded. The PHEV has 30.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind its second row.

Value at What Cost?

The base price for a FWD Outlander ES is $24,995, but the better value is the SE, which comes in at $25,995 but with a better multimedia system (including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), heated front seats, push-button start, an easy entry system and satellite radio. The LE is up next, at $27,195, followed by the SEL at the same price. The LE is a Limited Edition model that gets a few cosmetic enhancements, while the SEL has a few extra features including an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power liftgate and leather upholstery. At the top of the lineup is the GT, which gets the larger engine and standard AWD for $33,295. Adding that basic AWD system to the ES costs $1,500, but the more advanced system adds $2,000 to the cost of an SE, LE or SEL.

This puts the Mitsubishi Outlander's pricing more in step with compact SUVs than mid-size ones, which is how it derives much of its appeal. If you want to carry the most people for the fewest dollars, the Outlander has you covered. But the third row is not usable for adults, and a lack of family-friendly options in the second and third rows is frustrating.


The Mitsubishi Outlander's value comes at the cost of refinement and comfort, which would be hard for me to stomach on a regular basis. This is one bargain I would avoid.

Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.


Latest 2018 Outlander Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Most reliable car I owned.

by George from Fontana on July 18, 2018

It is an exhalirating experience to drive and own this vehicle. It worth much more than the price. I recommend this vehicle to anyone I know. Read full review

(5.0)

Love my new car. Way better than the Rava 4.

by Giulio DiSerafino from Bonita Springs fl on July 18, 2018

It is a pleasure to drive and handles itself smoothly when driving. I would recommend this car to anyone and the car dealership in Bonita Springs fl that we dealt with when purchasing this car. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander ES

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
acceptable
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Mitsubishi

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, 10-years/100,000 mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, Carfax vehicle history report, fresh oil and filter, and toll-free assistance line.

  • Limited Warranty

    Certified Pre-Owned Mitsubishi’s get a 10-year/100,000 mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, up to ten years from the vehicle’s original in-service date or date of first use, or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Zero deductible for covered repairs completed by a Mitsubishi dealer in the USA.
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 123 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

Change Year or Vehicle

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Outlander received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker