Back of the Pack: Mitsubishi’s 2018 Outlander

Mitsubishi is a brand well known for their sporty sedans and rugged SUVs. However, in the past few years, the marque has struggled to keep up with the competition in several aspects. Those shortcomings now threaten to exclude Mitsubishi from a successful future as an automotive manufacturer, unless some big changes are made.

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is just one example of how the brand has missed the mark. While it’s certainly a capable SUV with a handful of trims, it is competing in one of the most popular segments among auto makers. Ticking each box and putting out a mediocre product just isn’t going to draw customers.

Not convinced? Take a closer look at the overall package Mitsubishi is offering on their 2018 Outlander model and decide for yourself. When faced with the competition, would you choose the Outlander?

Performance Specifications

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the few SUVs to offer both a V6 engine as well as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a twin AC synchronous motor. The gas engine itself makes 117 horsepower and 137 lb-ft of torque.

Most other models of the Outlander come standard with a 2.4-liter inline-four paired with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). The inline-four achieves 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0-liter V6 engine is married to a six-speed automatic, and as a package, is capable of 224 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque.

You can purchase the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander in the following colors:

  • Rally Red Metallic
  • Alloy Silver Metallic
  • Mercury Gray Metallic
  • Quartz Brown Metallic
  • Cosmic Blue Metallic
  • Diamond White Pearl
  • Labrador Black Metallic

Fuel Efficiency

Between the three engines available on the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander, the compact SUV gets a wide range of fuel economy. All models equipped with the 2.4-liter inline-four rank in at 25 city and 30 highway EPA-estimated mpg for front-wheel drive models, while all-wheel-drive models dip a bit to 24 city and 29 highway mpg.

The GT model, which is powered by a 3.0-liter V6, attains 20 city and 27 highway mpg. Both the SEL and GT models can be powered by the optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is paired with a twin AC motor to make it a PHEV. These engines achieve a 25-mpg combined rating.

Kelley Blue Book, despite the PHEV model, does rank the 2018 Outlander 13th in fuel efficiency. While the 2018 Outlander’s numbers might have been respectable a few years ago, other marques have surpassed these ratings since. The industry standard is much higher than the Outlander has currently achieved.

Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock

Entertainment and Safety Features

According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2018 Outlander received four out of five stars from the NHTSA. It has also earned a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. A rearview camera is standard on all models. Outlanders equipped with the SEL trim level receive Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Forward Collision Mitigation. Lane Departure Warning is optional.

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is available in five trims.

Beginning at $23,945, the ES base model is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. Equipped with halogen headlights, heated side mirrors, and 18-inch wheels, this trim level also includes a seven-inch touch panel audio system. While this trim level does feature Bluetooth and keyless entry, customers won’t receive Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

The SE model comes equipped with the same 2.4-liter engine as the ES model does but adds several other features as well. Included are fog lights, turn signal indicators integrated into the side mirrors, an optional sunroof, SiriusXM, a six-speaker sound system, and keyless entry with push button start. 

LE models are very similar to the SE model, but includes a blacked-out look. With black door garnishing, black roof rails, and blacked-out 18-inch wheels, the LE model adds a bit of flair to the otherwise ho-hum styling of the 2018 Outlander. Customers who purchase the LE model will also receive a standard sunroof, power folding side mirrors, and a 6.5-inch audio system.

Outlanders of the SEL model feature chrome accents, silver roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, a seven-inch audio system, and automatic high beams. Auto on/off headlights, LED headlights and fog lamps, and sunroof are all optional. Customers who choose the SEL model will also receive leather interior trimmings and can purchase an optional touring package.

The top GT model begins at $32,245 and includes an active front differential, Sportronic Steering wheel paddle shifters, and LED headlights. Chrome and a standard sunroof top off this top-end model.

There are also several other packages featured on all models of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. Potential buyers can choose from the all-weather, cargo mat, chrome, protection, quick value, and limited-edition value packages.

How the 2018 Outlander Compares

Perhaps rather fittingly for the generation who might be interested in purchasing the 2018 Outlander, Consumer Reports describes the model itself as feeling “old enough to have been cast in a Friends episode.” The experts at Consumer Reports note that there haven’t been enough models sold recently to do any sort of reliability testing. This might be a sign that most people have figured out their money is better spent elsewhere. And with nothing but criticism for Mitsubishi, Consumer Reports experts seem to speak to this issue directly.

In fact, Consumer Reports recommends purchasing a Nissan Rogue or Volkswagen Tiguan over the Mitsubishi SUV. Kelley Blue Book ranked the 2018 Outlander 17th in horsepower, which is the “same amount of power as a Nissan Rogue, but quite a bit less than a Honda CR-V.” Customers looking for a reliable, sturdy, and dependable SUV should probably just head for the big “H” dealership and call it good.

Edmunds’ experts agree. Though they recommend the SE trim level, Edmunds points out that the GT trim level sits at a price point where other, more capable models from other marques exist.

Pros

  • Range of engine options
  • Class-leading warranty at 10 years/100,000 miles
  • Low entry-level pricing

Cons

  • Outdated
  • Little to no room in third row
  • Typically doesn’t hold value well

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander, much like the brand itself, is on the cusp of becoming extinct. Other marques have gone down similar paths and returned victorious, but what will happen to Mitsubishi? Will the brand rally to fend off giants like Honda and Toyota, or bow to popular demand to rest among the numerous other manufacturers who fill the industry’s graveyard? Only time holds the answer.

Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock

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