June 27, 2014
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
The Mitsubishi Outlander doesn’t have it easy. I have a feeling it would really like to have a bigger slice of the sales pie. To be honest, I’m guessing it wishes that it would just come up in conversations more often and show up on folks’ shopping lists on a more regular basis. It’s an oft-forgotten contender. Sob story aside, Mitsubishi marched on and revamped their SUV for 2014.
There is some controversy around the new Outlander shape. It’s certainly less controversial on the whole, since it has become significantly more generic. The previous generation had the shark-mouth grille that made its way through Mitsu’s lineup from the Evo.
The new grille is completely different, and everything seems much less squared off. Up front there are HID headlights and the shape seems more tail heavy with a bit of a bubble butt back there. Is it distinctive? Nope. Will it get second looks from many? Nope. Is it pretty? Not particularly. But it won’t offend anyone either, and so I suppose it’s a way to slide into the mainstream. For better or for worse. I did like the 18-inch rims with chunky but reasonably sized 225/55 rubber.
There’s a new 3.0L V6 underhood. It puts out 227 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 215 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 RPM. Those numbers seem surprisingly paltry by today’s standards for V6 engines, but those horses only have to drag 1,620 kg (3,571 lb) around – a lightweight in this class.
The power makes its way through a six-speed automatic transmission to all four corners through Mitsubishi’s top-of-the-line S-AWC all-wheel-drive system, which moves torque around to where it’s needed – front to back and side to side.
Fuel economy is quite acceptable at 11.5 L/100 km in the city and 8.5 L/100 km on the highway (using NRCan’s adjusted 2015 ratings). I ended up averaging a decent 11.1 L/100 km over my week with it, which was mostly city driving, a few freeway cruises and a jump onto the highway. The tank holds 60 litres – strangely, premium fuel is recommended but not required.
The interior was given as much attention as the exterior – nothing was left untouched. Though the styling is simple and comprised of basic lines, it does the job well. Ergonomics are fine, and overall, it’s a massive improvement over the last model, materials included. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics around the cabin and fit and finish is pretty good. I did find a few gaps between some interior panels. While the cabin is much improved, it still feels like it lags behind the more inspired designs and materials the competition offers. The cabin feels roomy and headroom is good for me at 5’10”.
The heated leather seats are quite comfortable but strangely (at this price) only the driver’s seat is power adjustable. A nice steering wheel with media, phone and cruise controls sits in front of the simple gauges, which are separated by a sharp, easy-to-read driver information screen. It allows you to cycle through an instant eco gauge, fuel range, average fuel economy, average speed, an eco leaves screen and two trip meters.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC engine bay & dashboard. Click image to enlarge
At the top of the centre stack is a touchscreen. It’s good but not great. I didn’t particularly like the small hard buttons around the edge of the screen – they’re all flat and you have to look closely to discern which functions they control. It handles the phone, audio and navigation for your Outlander. Audio sources include AM, FM, satellite radio, CD, USB and Bluetooth streaming audio and the 710-watt Rockford Fosgate system sounds pretty darn good! Below that is a dual-zone auto climate control.
Entry is keyless and there’s a push-start ignition. Driver assistance technology is quite solid in this trim, offering lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control.
The second row has three seats that recline and also slide fore and aft. The legroom back there is good but I was a bit surprised that the headroom isn’t. It was enough for me but anyone taller might get their hair messed up. The middle seat is narrow and no fun for adults, but it works fine for kids. Our three children did great back there, and you’ll find two sets of LATCH anchors for their seats.
The middle seatback folds down to become an armrest but other than that, nada! No air vents, no charging plugs. Nothing. That’s a bit of a downer at this price, to be honest.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC seating & cargo area. Click image to enlarge
There is a third-row seat as well. It’s no fun to get to and although it has significantly increased legroom (6 cm more than before) and width (12 cm more than before), it’s still best left for children and well-behaved dogs. Thankfully, it folds completely flat.
There are plenty of spaces to put your stuff around the cabin, but the big real estate is in the trunk – 968 litres to start with, if your third row isn’t being used.
Fold the second row of seats flat (I mean really flat!), and you’ll have 1,792 litres of cargo space. There’s a caveat though. Folding that second row flat isn’t a quick maneuver by any stretch. You have to remove the headrests, then flip the seat cushions up and tumble them forward, then find a home for the headrests, then yank the lever to flip the seatbacks down. That’s not cool. If you fold your seats down a lot, you’ll find this requirement aggravating.