2017 Mitsubishi Outlander V-6 AWD
With the demise of Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution last year, the company’s Outlander GT became the de facto best vehicle sold by the three-diamond brand. Of course, that has been a low bar of late. The 2017 Outlander GT, however, is a genuinely acceptable crossover SUV.
Straddling the line between compact and mid-size, the Outlander’s pricing and its 105.1-inch wheelbase put it in the former class, while the crossover’s standard third-row seat and 184.8-inch overall length would seem to cast its lot with the latter. Because of its third row, C/D classifies the Outlander as a mid-size crossover, even though it would not even be the largest vehicle in the compact-crossover segment, where the Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain sit on longer wheelbases and cast larger shadows. And inside, the Outlander’s standard 50/50-split third-row seat’s 28.2 inches of legroom fall 3.2 inches short of what’s available in the compact Nissan Rogue’s optional third row. Cargo space with all seats raised is markedly similar, with the Outlander’s 10 cubic feet barely edging out the Rogue’s 9 cubes. Folding each vehicle’s rearmost row also results in a disparity of 1 cubic foot, with the sunroof-equipped Outlander GT V-6 offering 33 cubic feet of cargo volume to the Rogue’s 32 cubic feet.
Despite the fact that most adults will prefer walking to being stuffed into the Outlander’s cramped third row, its presence is noteworthy given the Mitsubishi’s $24,390 base price, which is $1560 less than the least expensive seven-passenger Rogue. That low starting price is for the base Outlander ES; there are also the SE, SEL, and GT. Our test vehicle was the last trim, which starts at $32,590. While ES, SE, and SEL models are motivated by a 166-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that frequently drones because of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) it’s mated to, the GT is the sole trim level available with Mitsubishi’s 224-hp 3.0-liter V-6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive, an option on four-cylinder Outlanders, is standard with the V-6 as well.
Although 2017 base Outlanders equipped with all-wheel drive use a more run-of-the-mill setup, the SE, SEL, and GT trims rely on Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) hardware. A simplified version of the unit found in the now defunct Lancer Evolution, S-AWC is able to shift engine output between the front and rear axles as well as left to right across the front axle. This dance is accomplished courtesy of a coupler that engages and disengages drive to the rear differential and a front limited-slip differential. An active yaw-control system both feathers the brakes and lightly adjusts the electrically assisted power steering to further regulate torque distribution. A button located aft of the gearshift lever can be tapped to engage one of four S-AWC drive modes: Eco, Snow, Lock, and Normal. Read more...