Overview & Reviews
Debuting a few years after the start of the new millennium, the first-generation Mitsubishi Outlander was a late arrival to the small-SUV segment. Like many of its peers, it had a car-based design that translated into good handling and a comfortable ride on paved roads, but limited off-road capability. With so many competitors, Mitsubishi tried to set the Outlander apart with distinctive styling and a sporty demeanor. Compared to popular models from Honda and Toyota, however, the older Outlander models offered less interior space, and their breathless four-cylinder engines failed to live up to Mitsubishi's sporting image.
These problems were addressed in the larger second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander, which gained more interior space and an available V6 engine. Even so, the Outlander still lives in the shadows of its more successful contemporaries, whose reputations for overall quality and reliability are well-known to consumers. In spite of its lower profile, the second-generation Outlander is a competitive small SUV. It has the available all-wheel-drive system, high driving position and versatile cargo space consumers have come to expect in this segment, and sets itself apart with distinctive styling, advanced technology and a lively personality.
Current Mitsubishi Outlander
The Outlander is available in three trim levels: ES, SE and GT. Outlander ES and SE models are powered by a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while the GT receives a 230-hp 3.0-liter V6. Four-cylinder Outlanders come standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while the V6-powered GT uses a traditional six-speed automatic. Both have manual-shift capability. All Outlander trims are available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The AWD system is notable for its various configurations that allow drivers to select 2WD for maximum fuel economy or 4WD Lock for maximum traction in slippery conditions.
The base ES is equipped with air-conditioning, CD player, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a full array of safety features and an auxiliary audio jack. The SE adds alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, a sliding second-row seat, a third-row seat and upgraded upholstery. The GT gets automatic xenon headlights, automatic wipers, automatic climate control and upgraded interior materials.
Many options are grouped into packages and include a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, Rockford Fosgate audio system, the Fuse hands-free electronics interface, a rearview camera, a rear-seat entertainment system and a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates.
In our reviews, we've praised the Mitsubishi Outlander for its energetic V6 engine as well as its family-friendly design and moderately sporty handling. Negatives include a ride quality that may be too stiff for some and second-row seating space that is merely adequate. Passengers in the third-row fare even worse, as that seat is frighteningly flimsy, very thinly padded and cramped even for small children. We wouldn't recommend using it. Overall, buyers seeking value, style and fun-to-drive characteristics in a package that doesn't sacrifice daily usability will find the Mitsubishi Outlander to be a decent choice, but we'd recommend that you consider its competitors.
Used Mitsubishi Outlander Models
Debuting for 2007, the latest (second-generation) Mitsubishi Outlander introduced a few key attributes that the original lacked, namely V6 power, a third-row seat and additional cargo room. Three trims were offered initially -- ES, LS and XLS -- and all were equipped with a 220-hp V6 engine. A unique option was the navigation system whose hard drive provided 30GB for music storage.
For 2008 Mitsubishi added the SE trim and the current car's four-cylinder engine. The LS trim was deleted the following year, while a back-up camera and a larger hard drive for the navigation system debuted. Besides the 2010 styling revamp, the V6 received a slight increase in power along with an update to the AWD system.
For 2010, the Mitsubishi Outlander received a major refresh that included new aggressive styling inspired by the Lancer Evolution X. Other changes included a new LCD gauge display, real-time traffic for the navigation system and an available "Fuse" hands-free link system with audio streaming and voice commands for MP3 players and cell phones. Mechanical changes included a slight power bump for the V6 engine (to 230 hp) and an upgraded version of the all-wheel-drive system. The XLS trim was dropped for 2012.
The first-generation Outlander was sold from 2003-'06. Dropped into the highly competitive small-SUV category, the Outlander had unique styling, a carlike ride and comfortable seating for four, but offered few advantages over the more established competition.
In its first year of production, the Mitsubishi Outlander was powered by a 140-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, coupled with a four-speed automatic transmission. Around-town power was adequate with this setup, but Mitsubishi's compact sport-utility proved quite sluggish in passing and high-speed merging situations. A jump in hp to 160 for the 2004 model year helped somewhat, but the Outlander's engine still wasn't a match for the smooth and potent four-cylinders in small SUVs from Honda and Toyota, much less V6-powered Ford and GM models. Throughout the first-generation Outlander's run, both front-wheel-drive and AWD versions were offered.
In addition to the LS and the XLS trims, Mitsubishi added a high-line Outlander Limited trim in 2005, with unique interior and exterior trim enhancements as well as leather seating. Also significant for '05 was the addition of a five-speed manual as the standard transmission on the LS. Highly observant customers may also notice the slightly revised rear styling introduced during this model year.
In 2006, the midlevel XLS was replaced by the SE trim level, while base LS and high-end Limited trims remained. That model year also saw antilock brakes and side airbags find their way to the list of standard equipment for all trims. Models prior to 2006 reserved those safety features for premium models, making older LS-trim Outlanders less desirable for used car buyers. In general, we would advise used-car shoppers to look at '04 and newer Outlanders -- unless, that is, you find that you like the less powerful original engine more than we did.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 756.00
Overall performance/Reliability - 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander
By Patricia Wood - August 28 - 3:16 am
I have had this 2003 Mitsubishi outlander for 18 years. I bought it with about 1300 miles on the odometer. It now has approximately 260,000 miles on it. I live in the Colorado high country and my Outlander has always gotten me through snowstorms, hail, icy roads and muddy off road driving. It is reliable and fuel efficient!! I love this car! The interior has held up remarkably well, in fact, looks like new except wear on the pedals. Of course I have always given it regular oil changes, replaced wipers, battery, brake shoes, muffler and headlamps...things of that nature. But never have I had issues with the transmission, engine, alternator or major components. This gem has cost me very little to maintain. Recently the serpentine belt, sway bar links, rear U joints and cv axles were replaced. The total cost was about $2000. I paid it gladly and never considered replacing it with another vehicle, used or new. Some may say it's foolish to put money into an 18 year old car but replacing my Outlander with a newer car would not guarantee that a new one would handle as well in inclement weather, run as well day to day, last as long with no major expenses and be as reliable as my Mitsubishi Outlander.
Suprising vehicle - 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander
By geezerman - December 30 - 8:11 am
I traded in a Toyota 4Runner on a 2011 Outlander, after checking out all the competition. It was the only vehicle which met my criteria for interior/exterior size, power, mileage, warranty, and price. I was suprised that I was able to fit all the "stuff" I had in the 4Runner in the interior bins and pockets, and was suprised to see it had two large glove boxes. Also love the handy tool/stuff storage bin under the rear floor. I am getting 24 mpg around town and around 30 on the hwy., and think this is outstanding in a roomy and adequately powered small SUV. I told the dealer they need to have a better advertising program on this vehicle, as a lot more people should buy it.
Love it but... - 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander
By Screen404 - December 29 - 2:00 am
I got this car for my wife and we both love it but one problem i have is with the head light spreding light all over the road too mutch. I had to put after market fog light and after market light boulbs. It did make things better.
outlander - 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander
By fernandofi - December 29 - 1:00 am
By far the best suv for the price. It has all the cool tech stuff, like premium audio, air bags, shifters paddles and bluetooth without the high price of a luxury suv.
2003 Outlander - 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander
By gjens - December 24 - 10:00 am
This small Suv has been a lot of fun to drive and since Ive purchase this car over seventeen month ago has not cause me one bit of trouble. I wish it would give better gas milage in the city 18 mpg but it does rather well on the highway 27 mpg.
Great car - 2004 Mitsubishi Outlander
By RSchopbach - December 18 - 10:00 am
I love this car
Good Family Vehicle - 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander
By C - December 11 - 7:16 am
Ive always had minivans before this and I was reluctant to go to an SUV because I enjoyed the extra backseat. However, after test driving the Outlander with my family of five we decited to buy. My three kids fit comfortably in the backseat (with two booster seats) The height is simliar to a van and the trunk is a lot roomier.
Exceptional Value - 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
By aa0526 - December 2 - 2:11 am
Primary Purpose: 1. Commuting to work alone (95%) 2. Short trips with family (5%) Been shopping around for a small CUV that has a 3rd row (for those rare occasions). Wanted a 3rd row as a backup for the minivan. The minivan is reserved for long trips. I cant wean myself from Japanese cars. I shopped between the Santa Fe, Rogue 2014 and the Outlander 2014. Being a current Nissan and Mitsubishi owner, it was a hard decision between the Rogue and the Outlander. The current MPG averages 28-30 combined. The warranty and price were the clinchers. It is relatively quiet, acceleration was good for my needs, very roomy 2nd row (I am only 57" - so there is plenty of room left behind me).
best suv under 20,000 - 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander
By jwebb - November 28 - 10:00 am
i didnt think i would like it after i drove it , i fell in love with the way it handles and looks..
Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon - 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander
By macpower - November 26 - 10:00 am
Toothless because it feels a underpowered at first. Then you start to play with the paddle shifters and mold the performance to your liking. Now you have a really fun ride. Peak torque at 41-4200 rpm means you almost have a turbo-feel when you think the motors starting to bog down. My wife and I are 6 tall and the interior boasts a lot of legroom. The drivers side has a slight height adjustment too. I stuck an ipod in the cup holder and wanted a small slot so I could access the A/V rcas in the console. I thought there should be a small slot for the wires to hang through - and there was one - right where I wanted it! Thats the best part of this car. A lot of thought went into everything!