By Cars.com EditorsOctober 7, 2013
About the video
Car buyers tend to want to stand out on the street. So when Cars.com reviewer David Thomas calls the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander's style "anonymous," it's not a compliment.
(upbeat rock music) (tires screeching) Hi, I'm Dave Thomas with cars.com. This is the all new 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander. You remember Mitsubishi, don't you? Well, the automaker is in need of some hits.
And while this is a solid single, it's far from a home run. This new Outlander looks like a typical SUV. So much so, I would almost call it anonymous. The only real fancy design element it has is this chrome on the grill, which might look good close up, but on the street, it's pretty bland. It's about the same size as Chevy's Equinox and Hyundai's Santa Fe Sport, which means this is not a compact SUV. It also has a third row crammed in it. Kind of like Dodge's Journey and Kia's Sorento. The base four cylinder engine has 166 horsepower, which is a pretty big step behind the Equinox and Santa Fe Sport. But the Outlander is considerably lighter and gets better fuel economy. The test car we have here is a GT model, which is the only way you get the 224 horsepower V6. Again, that comes well behind the power put out by the V6 Equinox and the Turbo 4 in the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. But on the road, I found it has what I call surprising speed. That's when you're just driving along, going with traffic, think you're doing okay, and then you look down at the speedometer and you're going way too fast. But even if you opt for the more powerful V6, you're still going to get better mileage than most of the competition. I also found the ride to be a good mix between firmness and soaking up all the bumps. And that's a tough mix to get right. The Sorento is way too firm, while something like the Journey, way too soft. Another thing the Outlander has going for it is it's one of the few SUV's tested by the IIHS turn it's new top safety pick plus rating. At a base price around $23,000, the Outlander comes barely equipped. What most shoppers need to do is pick the SE trim level, which adds things like Bluetooth, a trip computer, USB port. Stuff the competition has in their base models already. Luckily, that SE trim only costs $800 more than the Outlander base. And even at that $800 additional cost, it's still less than most of the competition. Our fully-loaded GT has a pretty nice interior, but when my wife read me the sticker price of $35,000, as equipped. Well, I can't really repeat what I said. It's certainly not worth that kind of money. I did find some nitpicks though that kind of drove me batty while testing the Outlander. One of them is the optional lane departure warning system. It tells you if you're going too far right or left in your lane. Well, this one, it's way too sensitive and you have to turn it off every time you start the car if you don't want to be beeped at all the time. Another headache, the nav system. Now, it's a decent system overall, but all the buttons on the screen and even around the screen are just too narrow and too small to hit while driving. Then there's the optional Rockford Fosgate stereo, which has a giant subwoofer in the back and it's laid out like this is going to be an awesome system to listen to. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a setting that made any of my music sound good. There's just so many different things to try out and test. I went from one song that sounded great, by the time the shuffle popped up another song, sounded like it was coming out of a tin can. But what about families who don't care about rocking out? Well, the cabin's pretty comfortable in front and in back. So you can see, I have the driver's seat exactly where I had it while driving at five 10, and I have plenty of knee room, but these seats slide forward and back and this is as far back as it slides. So if you're a little smaller or you need more room in the back, you can slide it forward. The seats also recline. But what about that third row? Third row is fairly easy to get to. You just pull the seats forward. And there's a large cutout for your feet by the door. So you're back here just fine but when you pull the seat back, you can't slide it back to where you're comfortable. So someone else is going to have to do that for you and I hope they don't run over your feet. Obviously with that third row up, there isn't a lot of cargo room. Maybe some backpacks for the kids going to school. Fold that third row flat. And it kind of reminds me of Chevy's Equinox, which has a really narrow cargo area. This one's a little wider than that. And the Equinox always gave me a problem with golf clubs. And the Outlander doesn't have that problem. The competition may be better looking, might be more powerful, but with a top safety rating, a low sticker price, and good mileage, this anonymous SUV is worth a second look. (engine revving)