The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander crossover SUV has two powertrain options. The base setup consists of a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 rated at 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with a continuously variable transmission. The setup exclusive to the range-topping trim consists of a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive can be specified for all trims except the range-topping trim, where it only comes in all-wheel drive. With the base four-cylinder engine under the hood, the power delivery was underwhelming. There was an initial rush when pressing down the pedal, but accelerating to 60 mph eventually took nine seconds. The lethargic engine was barely effective when overtaking in the highway. When pushed to the limit of its cornering speeds, body roll was noticeable and that affected the overall stability. At a more reasonable pace, however, there was sufficient grip to remain on the lane. The steering was responsive enough and the weight was on the lighter side, which made it easier to maneuver around. The brakes performed about average in its category, taking 121 feet to stop from 60 mph. The bite from the calipers was predictable and never abrupt. However, the pedal was soft and lacked that progressive sensation the further it was pressed down.
The base ES trim comes standard with LED running lights, LED taillights, heated mirrors, cruise control, automatic climate control, voice controls, Bluetooth, a USB port, a CD player and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system. The SE trim adds foglights, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, keyless ignition and entry, electronic parking brake (all-wheel-drive model only), heated front seats, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LE trim has the same features as the SE trim and now includes several advanced safety and driver aids. It is also distinguished by its unique exterior appointments. The SEL trim builds on the SE trim and adds automatic headlights, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, power liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a power-adjustable driver seat. The Premium package adds LED headlights and foglights, a heated steering wheel and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system. The SEL Touring package adds more advanced safety and driver aids. The top-of-the-line GT trim has all the bells and whistles and also includes paddle shifters. The GT Touring package combines all the available advanced safety and driver aids from previous trims. Standalone options for all trims include a remote engine start, a tow hitch, and a rear-seat entertainment system.
The 2018 Outlander was tested by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) and it achieved five stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and it scored “Good” for crashworthiness and “Superior” for front crash prevention. Despite the headlights having scored “Average” for crash avoidance and mitigation, it earned a 2018 Top Safety Pick recommendation from the IIHS. The only advanced safety and driver aid available for the base trim is a rearview camera. Other features are added to higher trim levels and they include front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation system, automatic braking, lane departure warning system and a 360-degree camera.
The 2018 Outlander has a length of 184.8 inches, a width of 71.3 inches, a height of 66.1 inches and a wheelbase of 105.1 inches. The Outlander’s styling is reminiscent of Japanese design as of late, characterized by its aggressive front fascia and chrome accents. Unlike some of its competition, it does not have a sloped roofline. All trims come standard with 18-inch wheels and there are no bigger diameters available. The LE trim adds black roof rails, black wheels and black accents in the front fascia. The sunroof is not available for the first three trim levels.
The ground clearance was low enough such that entry to the cabin was more of step-in rather than a step-up. There is ample legroom and headroom for adults in the first and second row, while the third row is best suited for children. The knees are raised in the seating position, which felt tight especially for the taller passenger. There are three rows of seats that can accommodate up to seven people inside. The comfort experienced from the front seats was decent but could still be improved upon. However, the cushion for the second row felt firm and the middle seat particularly lacked any softness at all. Despite the laid back handling, the ride quality was jarred by sharp and deep cracks on the road. Smaller imperfections were still bearable but the suspension setup just isn’t polished out of the box. While wind and tire noise were at very low levels, the engine’s vibrations were unsettling when running at low RPMs.
There is 10.3 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, and folding them down opens up 34.2 cu-ft of space. Folding down the second and third rows now opens up 63.3 cu-ft of space available for cargo.