Mitsubishi Outlander, 2014: Rugged underdog improved

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Mitsubishi has long been an automotive underdog and it’s dispatching cars from its lineup at a brisk pace. But in the sports utility market, the manufacturer has made a strong effort to rebound with the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander.

Now 11 years since its North American debut as the replacement for the Montero Sport, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is vastly updated from its predecessor. Most notably, there’s improved fuel mileage, more attractive exterior and interior designs and a standard third-row seat that translates into seating for seven.

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The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Offered in two trims, my weekly tester was the top-line GT. It features a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 224 horsepower and is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is redesigned for 2014.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is redesigned for 2014.

Many top small crossovers aren’t well suited for extensive (or any) off-road treks. And I didn’t drive the Outlander off-road. But while not as strong in many areas against top rivals like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, the Outlander has a keen all-wheel drive system. It has different modes for better off-road capability and other inclement conditions.

The expensice GT  Touring option package is extensive and includes a sunroof, xenon headlights, power liftgate, leather upholstery, power driver seat and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate surround-sound audio system with satellite radio.

There are also rain-sensing wipers, a voice-operated navigation system, a larger 7-inch touchscreen display, and adaptive cruise control with a collision-warning/mitigation system and lane-departure warning.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is redesigned for 2014.
The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is redesigned for 2014.

Driving the Outlander is a mixed experience. The V6 engine gives the Outlander adequate power, but not when compared to rivals like the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Yet, Outlander offers a quiet, confident ride in city and highway traffic and the maneuverability of impressive in tight spots like parking lots or for parallel parking.

Likes:

Seating for seven standard.

Good gas mileage for the segment.

Good definition in back-up camera system.

Telescoping steering wheel.

Dislikes:

GT Touring Package expensive ($6,100)

Doesn’t have great cargo capacity.

Third-row seating limited.

Facts & Figures: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.8 seconds.
Airbags, 7.
Fuel economy: 20 mpg (city), 28 mpg (highway), 23 mpg (combined).
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, Not tested.
Horsepower: 173
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,795.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.mitsubishicars.com
Price As tested: $34,720.00
Warranty: Bumper-to-bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/100,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/uhlimited miles.

What Others Say:

“Among those battling the established players is the Mitsubishi Outlander. Now in its third generation and all-new for 2014, the Outlander is a capable SUV that offers commendable fuel economy, high-tech safety features and a long warranty. “– Kelley Blue Book.

“The 2014 Outlander SUV represents a strong effort for a company still dealing with limited budgets and a miniscule market share; far from perfect, it nevertheless shows an automaker that’s listening to critics and doing what it can to make things right.” — AutoWeek.com.

“Mitsubishi plans to stay in the American market, sustained by vehicles such as the new 2014 Outlander SUV. The lighter third-generation 2014 Outlander boasts advanced safety tech and improved fuel economy.” — Edmunds.com

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“With powerhouses like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Escape, it’s hard to find an overwhelming reason to buy the Mitsubishi Outlander. Its redesign is an improvement and its seven-seat capacity is impressive. But considering resale value and durability, the Mitsubishi will remain an underdog in status and thus in sales numbers, too.”

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