The under the radar 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.
At the same time my middle child was college shopping, my husband and I were car shopping. We test drove a number of mid-size SUVs in our search, which was similar to the test runs my daughter took at each school she visited. We spent lots of time researching our options, as did she. We spent at least a day in each car; she stayed over in dorms and experienced life as a college student.
In the end, we made our choices and while Sophia is confident in her decision, I have a bit of buyer’s remorse.
We didn’t buy a Mitsubishi Outlander.
You know how after you pay that huge deposit at a school, someone mentions an under-the-radar place that would have been just perfect for your child, if only she had known about it? That’s how I felt after a week driving the Outlander – why hadn’t I considered this SUV? Honestly, I didn’t even know the company was still in business.
Quietly making a statement
I loved the look of the Outlander; it just had the modern feel, with halogen headlights, LED taillights and silver accents on the outside. The SUV I drove, in Mercury gray with a black interior, was a great looking vehicle.
Mitsubishi can also be loud
My teens loved the stereo system; it can be very loud (too loud for me), with surround sound. Sophia noted that there was no grainy tone in the background, which indicates very strong speakers. And we all agreed that the car was extremely loud on the highway, which may be why that audio system is so loud.
Luxury touches, for not a lot of money
I drove a fully loaded 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander, with standard heated leather seats, leather steering wheel and all the options: a shaded sun roof, power lift gate, rain sensing wipers, navigation system and extra safety technology – all for under $32,000. It offers great value, much like a state school.
The Mitsubishi also had rain sensing windshield wipers, which I didn’t get to check out since we were touring schools in the Arizona sunshine. But these are a wonderful feature if you are renting or borrowing a car; no fumbling to wind the wiper switch.
About that navigation system
I thought this was one of the worst navigation systems I’d ever encountered. It never knew where we were. After the first time it routed us the wrong way we ran our smartphone GPS simultaneously for back up. The Mitsubishi navigation system was right about 20% of the time – not enough for me to spend the extra funds on it.
Technology you could love – or hate
I have a love hate relationship with adaptive cruise control; it can be great in a lot of traffic, where you can set the distance you want to stay behind another car, and safely get back up to speed. But if you aren’t paying attention, the car can sort of lurch ahead. And some of the driver assist tech was too sensitive, like the lane keep assist that made me feel inadequate, overcorrecting me every time I moved the steering wheel slightly. But the beauty here is that you don’t have to use either of these; if you don’t like the feature you can just turn it off.
The seven passenger Outlander has what I call an ’emergency’ third row; you wouldn’t want to put adults in there for any length of time. But it is certainly usable space, and the seats split 50/50 if you are bringing something oversized. The second row has a 60/40 split. The front and second row seats were extremely comfortable and the vehicle drives well; I didn’t feel stressed at all after a long drive. The Outlander drives like a small SUV instead of a mid-size: zippy, easy to maneuver and park.
What We Loved
- Lots of space
- Driving is fun
- Shaded sunroof
- Rain sensing wipers
What You Need to Know
- The worst navigation system I’ve used
- Huge blind spot on the passenger side, which makes you want to keep the driver assist on at all times
- Fuel economy: 25 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, 27 combined
- Takes regular gasoline
- Base price: $24,995; price for the model I drove, with navigation and safety package, $31,095
Note: Mitsubishi loaned me the Outlander for the purposes of this review. Opinions expressed are my own.