2007 Mitsubishi Outlander (top) and 2010 Outlander (bottom; photo by Jil McIntosh). Click image to enlarge
Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency estimated the front-wheel drive 2007 Outlander’s fuel consumption at 12.0 L/100 km in city driving and 8.1 L/100 km on the highway; all-wheel drive bumped those figures up to 12.2 and 8.5 L/100 km (city/highway).
Four-cylinder models were rated 10.5/7.8 L/100 km with front-drive and 10.6/8.0 with all-wheel drive.
Efficiency improved significantly in 2010, and again in 2011, and helped bring the Outlander’s ratings down to 9.1/7.0 L/100 km for a four-cylinder, all-wheel drive model (which nearly matched the front-driver’s efficiency), and 11.0/7.9 with the V6 and AWD.
Consumer Reports (CR) likes the Outlander’s reliability, giving it a better-than-average overall rating as a used vehicle and naming it to the publication’s “good bet” list. Likewise, TrueDelta.com suggests that this is a well-built car, but acknowledges (unlike CR) that its inference is based on a relatively small sample of vehicles, owing to a smaller sales volume than is enjoyed by most of the Outlander’s competitors.
That said, TrueDelta’s repair histories indicate a couple of minor things to be aware of, right off the bat. The six-speed automatic transmission appears to be robust, but a rough shift from first to second gear is common; so are power window problems, ranging from noisy operation, to glass that comes out of its tracks. Other owners talk of failed or noisy drive axle joints, and ventilation system blower motors that go bad.
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. Click image to enlarge
Another known problem is a clunk sound from the front suspension that has been linked to wheel bearings and steering knuckles in early Outlanders. (http://www.mitsubishi-forums.com/t19892-2007-outlander-front-suspension-noise-quotclunkquot.htm )
Price out a 2009 Outlander, and Canadian Black Book suggests that, surprisingly enough, a mid-range LS model (which came with the V6 and AWD in that model year) is worth about the same as a Toyota RAV4 Sport V6 and a Hyundai Santa Fe GLS (again, with AWD and V6). A Mazda CX-7 GS is a bit cheaper, as is a Chevrolet Equinox.
The Outlander is not without its problems, but the big stuff – engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive system — seem to be tough. The caveat is that Mitsubishi’s low sales volumes make it hard to figure out just how accurate CR’s information is. Based on what’s available, I’d suggest, cautiously, that the Outlander is a solid choice as a used vehicle, but I wouldn’t pay as much for one as for a similarly-equipped RAV4 or Santa Fe; the Mitsu’s lesser-known status translates, in theory, to lesser demand and lower real-world values. As with any vehicle, look for a used Outlander with detailed service records and look for evidence of repairs for any of the common problems listed above.
Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) March, 2012:
2007-2008:On certain vehicles not equipped with the power seat option, the unused harness connector for the power seat feature is placed directly on the floorboard, underneath the carpeting. If a vehicle occupant enters the vehicle with a sufficient amount of snow on their feet containing road salt, it is possible for the melted snow mixture to soak the carpet and allow the salt-water solution to come into contact with the unused power seat harness connector. As a result, the connector terminal may corrode and allow current to flow, resulting in the gradual heating and melting of the connector. This could result in a vehicle fire, causing personal injury or death. Correction: Dealers will relocate the floor harness beneath both the passenger and driver seats to an area above the carpet.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2008453; Units affected: 3,963
2008: On certain vehicles, the stop lamp switch may have been contaminated with silicone grease during vehicle assembly. This could prevent proper brake lamp operation. Failure of the brake lamps to illuminate when the brakes are applied may result in the following road users being unaware of the driver’s intentions, increasing the risk of a crash causing injury or death. Correction: Dealers will replace the stop lamp switch.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2009072; Units affected: 14,664 (includes other models)
2008-2009: On certain vehicles, the brake booster check valve may stick closed when the engine is shut off. When the vehicle is re-started and put into motion, under certain driving conditions (very slow vehicle manoeuvres), there may be insufficient initial braking assist, which could temporarily increase the stopping distance. This could result in a vehicle crash causing property damage, personal injury or death. Correction: Dealers will replace the brake booster check valve.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2012001; Units affected: 2,301 (includes other models)
2012: Certain vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 – Lighting System and Retroreflective Devices. An incorrectly manufactured turn signal lever could cause the auto-cancel function to become inoperative. The vehicle operator will, however, continue to be able to manually cancel the turn signals. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the turn signal lever.
Crash test results
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.
For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.