2016 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4L AWD

Mitsubishi’s second delay of its Outlander plug-in-hybrid flagship is the latest woe for the embattled automaker as it grapples with the brand’s continued atrophy in the marketplace, including but not limited to a regulatory scandal, a high-profile resignation, and the discontinuation of its Lancer Evolution halo car. That leaves the conventional Outlander crossover as the high point in a lineup sprouting from the lowly Mirage subcompact. Like the Mirage, the Outlander has been updated for 2016, and while it promises value with seven seats for a relatively low price, it neither impresses nor excites.


Other than a newly bedazzled snout, the 2016 Outlander is pretty much the same as the 2015 version, apart from some upgraded plastics in the cabin, a few chassis refinements, and several other minor tweaks. It’s cheaper, too, with window stickers starting a couple of hundred bucks less than the car cost last year. But this is a familiar vehicle, one that we summed up in our test of a 2014 model with “Meh.”

Not an Evo

Whereas the 2014 review was of the top-spec GT trim powered by a coarse 224-hp 3.0-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic transmission, for this test we sampled the one-rung-down SEL model with a 166-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) manages the 2.4’s small corral of ponies as well as its modest 162 lb-ft of torque. Our test car also featured Mitsubishi’s $2000 all-wheel-drive system, branded Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) to describe its offering of four settings for the front limited-slip differential, the coupler engaging drive at the rear axle, and the operation of the brakes which regulate the front-axle torque split. It’s a version of the AWD system found in the rally-inspired (and no longer available) Lancer Evolution X. That’s as deep as performance connotations go with this vehicle. Read more...

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02 Jan 2017