The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is not one of those vehicles that can be called an ‘Over-Achiever.’ That term is best applied to school students who perform at several grade levels above their age. It can also be applied to trucks, cars, and utility vehicles that are loaded with premium touches, excessive technology, engines that are double-sized over what is needed, and vans that perform at several category levels above their position. Clearly, the new Outlander is a competitive vehicle in a crowded field but certainly not above the base level.
Mitsubishi, the manufacturer, supplied a new 2016 Outlander SEL for a week-long test drive. It was very enjoyable and rewarding, although not a trend-setter or offering an “Oh, Wow” moment. The Outlander is a crossover SUV, or more accurately, a CUV that offers a family a great mode of transportation at a great price. The test-drive model was the SEL trim-level, 2-wheel drive, 4-door SUV, ‘cosmic-blue’ exterior, and a black interior. It had three rows of seating and was powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. All-Wheel-Drive is available and is a very popular addition for many consumers purchasing the new 2016 model.
The Outlander is not a new vehicle, but Mitsubishi has certainly upgraded it for 2016. The company had some major set-backs in their sales projections and various offerings in the U.S. The emphasis on making the Outlander competitive is a good one. The exterior is more attractive than previous models. The interior offers a lot more ‘dress-up’ such as a better steering wheel, more comfortable armrests, updated trim panels, and even contrasting stitching. The test-drive model SEL even had leather seats, which were comfortable. Like almost all manufacturers, there is a lot of sound-deadening material added and the cabin’s quietness is noticeable.
The drive is okay, but if you are looking for more power, it does not offer that much. The little 2.-liter 4-cylinder only pushes out 166 horsepower. Most of the test-drive, I maintained the Outlander in the ‘Eco’ mode, which helped the gas mileage. In Eco mode, it occasionally felt somewhat sluggish in response, but it is easy enough to switch to the ‘Sport’ mode.
The primary appeal of the Outlander is that it offers a fair-sized SUV that can carry 7 people and cargo, has three rows of seats, gets good gas mileage, has a great warranty, and is low-priced. The powertrain has a 10-year/100,000 mile warranty. Mitsubishi is one of only a handful of manufacturers that still offer a long powertrain warranty like this.
The test-drive model had an MSRP of $24,995 but added that SEL touring package of leather seating and a lot of powered items, such as the liftgate, glass sunroof, & folding mirrors, and a lot more. It even had rain-sensing wipers and windshield wipers de-icer. With delivery charges added in, the bottom sticker price came to $31,095. It was EPA rated for 31 mpg highway and 27 mpg overall. For the week, I squeaked out 30.3 mpg overall, and that included a lot of back roads in East Texas.
The Outlander is actually the ‘flagship’ of the Mitsubishi lineup in the U.S. This new 2016 model has come a long way in improvements and hopefully, that will help the company in its sales figures. So, just how good, faster, inexpensive, or stylish does a car have to be so that it appeals to buyers? That answer is unknown, but perhaps this 2016 Outlander will answer part of that question for all of us. In spite of some areas that could use some improvement, this year’s model has a lot of updates and a lot of technology. The appearance, interior materials, and the driving is better than before. More importantly, the price is still fairly low for a family-sized SUV. Practicality may be the simple answer.
The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander appeals to larger families on a tight budget because of it’s price, gas mileage, and flexibility. Check it out yourself at a Mitsubishi dealership and see what it might offer you.