2016 Mitsubishi Outlander: Enhanced outside and within
Mitsubishi’s 2016 Outlander sport utility is named by the Active Lifestyle Jury as the “Best Value on Road.” This annual driving event in Arizona was attended by nearly 100 members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association, as well as local athletes, and the 2016 Outlander model rose to the top of its class showing its significance in the outdoor enthusiast realm.
The Mitsubishi Outlander’s bold new design and more than 100 improvements also caught the vote of the 2016 Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com Best Buy Awards, when this prestigious team of experts honored the top new model-year vehicle choices available in the U.S. market.
The Mitsubishi Outlander arrived in North America in 2003 as a replacement for the larger, taller, and boxier Montero Sport. Now in its third generation, the Outlander is a compact utility vehicle that has standard three-row seating with room for seven passengers, and a towing capacity of 1,500 to 3,500 pounds.
It features Mitsubishi’s new “Dynamic Shield” design language, plus gets an updated interior, a new mid-grade SEL trim level, as well as more than 100 engineering and design upgrades to improve structural rigidity and ride quality and reduce noise, vibration, and harshness.
The 2016 Outlander is available in four trims: the ES starts at a base price of $22,995; SE ($23,995); SEL ($24,995); and GT ($30,995); prices do not include the $850 in destination and delivery charges. Mitsubishi’s All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system is optional on SE and SEL models for an additional $2,000, and is standard on the GT.
Designers say the new “Dynamic Shield” exterior looks have been penned to express a sense of powerful performance and reassuring protection. It incorporates an aggressive-looking restyled front fascia, and changes to the front fenders, halogen headlights, LED position lights, lower door sections, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear fascia, and LED taillights on all models. The top-of-the-line Outlander GT model adds power-folding side mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, and LED headlights.
The freshened interior features a redesigned steering wheel; improved soft touch materials, seating surfaces, and headliner; new accent trim for the doors and dashboard; and a remodeled folding rear seat for easier operation. Additional improvements include the new optional Mitsubishi Multi Communication System (MMCS) navigation and display audio system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink that is standard on the GT model. The cabin is quieted by thicker rear door glass, more sound insulation throughout, dynamic dampers on the front and rear suspension and rear differential, and improved weather stripping and engine compartment trim.
The refreshed Outlander offers a number of advanced safety technologies, such as forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. The 2016 Outlander is rated a “Top Safety Pick+” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety when equipped with Mitsubishi’s optional forward collision mitigation.
The Outlander comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 166 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque is standard on the ES, SE, and SEL trim levels. A 3.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 224 horsepower and 215 lb.-ft. of torque powers the GT.
Mitsubishi’s latest-generation continuously variable transmission brings improved acceleration, performance, shift feel, and torque delivery. A six-speed automatic transmission with Sportronic steering-wheel paddle shifters motivates the GT models through the gears. City/highway/combined fuel economy ranges from 25/31/27 mpg for ES, SE, and SEL 2WD models, to 24/29/26 for AWD SE and SEL, and 20/27/23 for AWD GT.
We drove the 2016 Outlander SEL model over the course of a week in New England. Most notable is the chrome trim that adds a more upscale look outside and fresh materials like piano black accents and premium stitching inside that bring it up a class from its previous edition. Although the third-row seat is best when used for small children and for short distances, the rear has 34.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded; stowage grows to 63.3 cu.-ft. when the two back rows are tucked under.
We liked the driving dynamics that make the seven-passenger crossover handle the road like a more nimble, diminutive model. Although our ride came with the smaller engine, ample power is on tap for everyday family hauling. It has good brakes, along with improved with quicker steering, and a more responsive suspension. We have also driven models with the larger engine, which adds more boost to driving and a more sporty feel.