The new 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander has improved from all previous models by introducing innovative new safety devices, technology, and convenient features. In addition, the Outlander is one of the most fuel-efficient standard seven-passenger SUVs on the market. The SEL model is rated at 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway for the FWD version, for a combined 27 mpg, while the AWD version is rated at 24 mpg city and 29 mpg highway, for a combined 26 mpg.
Looking at its exterior, the Outlander is fronted by auto on/off halogen headlights, fog lights, and a rugged front bumper, with eye-catching silver accents just below the prominent chrome grille bars. On the sides are body-color keyed door handles and automatic-folding heated side mirrors. The exterior package is wrapped up in privacy glass at the back, silver roof rails on top, and finally, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels carrying the whole payload.
A maximum of 166 horsepower produced by the 2.4-liter SOHC MIVEC four-cylinder engine is directed by electric power steering. The engine also cranks out a peak 162 lb.-ft. of torque for hauling folks and cargo. The top-of-line GT model is powered instead by a 3.0-liter V6 that cranks out 224 horsepower and 215 lb.-ft. of torque. Active front differential adds to the balance of the car, providing greater driving stability.
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) smooths the transition through the gears maximizing engine efficiency at the approach.
The Outlander’s interior is quietly impressive. Admittedly the model called for a working Navigation system, but it was not activated, which somehow affected the backup camera and blind-spot monitor.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated seats complemented the armrests and trim panel inserts, along with the leather-wrapped, soft-touch upper instrument panel and door trims.
The standard third-row seats were impressive and versatile. They split 50/50 and are easily stowed with the pull of a single fold-and-store strap, but they can also quickly return to their upright position by raising the seatback. In addition, the 60/40 split-and-fold second-row seat gives you numerous passenger and cargo configurations to choose from.
At the front, there was no open storage. A little open pocket for keys or a phone would have been nice. The two cup holders were just large enough to fit a regular-size cup or can. There is in-door storage with shallow bottle holders and a small center box under the armrest.
Even though the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is a seven-passenger, four-door SUV, it possesses some sporty blood in its personality. The torque is more than adequate, the roominess is sufficient, and the handling has greatly improved from previous years.
The seating is comfortable, and items surrounding the driver, such as the steering wheel and the infotainment system, are well placed so they are easy to command.
The standard infotainment system 7.0-inch Smart Phone Link Display Audio provides smartphone connectivity through both Apple Carplay and Android Auto support. It also houses AM/FM, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, and the rear-view camera. The sound is fed through six speakers.
For the SEL model, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $25,995 for the FWD version and $27,995 for the version with the S-AWC (Mitsubishi AWD system). However, after visiting several Mitsubishi dealerships, I discovered that the sales staff were more than happy to discuss “bottom-line pricing.”
There is an additional SEL Touring Package for an extra $3,000. It adds safety features like forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, multi-view camera, and automatic high beam. It also adds some comfort features like power glass roof and 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with nine speakers.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at [email protected]
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. (Courtesy of Mitsubishi)