A pleasant ride, decent off-road capability, a smooth V6 powertrain, good fuel mileage and Mitsubishi’s unbeatable warranty were all rated highly by owners.
The currently available generation of the Mitsubishi Outlander crossover hit the road in 2013, having advanced on all fronts. Now, the Outlander was more aerodynamic, lighter, and smarter than ever.
Once again, this Outlander brought Mitsubishi’s presence into the hotly contested mid-size crossover scene, where it battled competitors from around the globe for a shot at the hard-earned dollars of shoppers. With a 10-year powertrain warranty, the Outlander blew the competition out of the water when it came to long-term confidence, too.
Look for advanced safety equipment including HID lighting, collision warning system, a lane-departure warning system, and plenty more. These, and the Outlander’s crash-optimized body structure, helped the model earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. In fact, the Outlander was one of just a few models tested initially to ace the then-new Small Frontal Overlap test.
Feature content included heated seats, Bluetooth, auto-off lights, remote entry, steering-wheel remote controls, automatic climate control, a sunroof, navigation, push-button start, and more. With an available third-row seat, some Outlander models offered up room for seven occupants, while seating for five was standard.
Power came from a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine with around 168 horsepower, or an available 3.0L V6 with output rated around 225. The V6 engine requires premium fuel, a gripe for many owners. Transmission choices included a continuously variable transmission (CVT) on four-cylinder units, and a six-speed automatic on models with V6 power. Though most Outlanders in the used market run Mitsubishi’s all-wheel drive (AWD) system, dubbed All Wheel Control (AWC), some units were offered in front-wheel drive. If you’re set on AWD, confirm that the model you’re considering is equipped with it. This AWD system provided multiple driver-selectable modes for various situations.
What Owners Like
A pleasant ride, decent off-road capability, a smooth V6 powertrain, good fuel mileage and Mitsubishi’s unbeatable warranty were all rated highly by owners. Flexibility and all-weather confidence were also appreciated.
What Owners Dislike
Common complaints include a low-hanging tailgate that can cause whacks to the noggin, and a blandly coloured interior. Further, if equipped, the Outlander’s third-row seats are fairly cramped, and best left for kids. Note that some owners complained of higher-than-expected noise levels from earlier models in this generation, though this issue was addressed in a mid-cycle update that was applied from 2016. Further, some owners say the V6 engine is a must-have, reporting sub-par performance at best from models with the four-cylinder engine.
Here’s Your Test Drive To-Do List
The Outlander appears solid from a reliability standpoint, and offers further confidence from a lengthy warranty, which most used copies will still have in effect. Further, as the Outlander ran a selection of simple and long-proven drivelines, reliability related to the powertrain looks solid too.
Still, a few specific checks should be considered mandatory.
Check for Transmission Recall on 2016 Models
If you’re considering a 2016 model with the four-cylinder engine (and therefore, the CVT transmission), be sure to familiarize yourself with this recall, which was applied to fix a potential safety issue with the transmission, in which a faulty switch could prevent the vehicle from accelerating as intended. A Mitsubishi dealer can determine if the vehicle you’re considering qualifies for this recall, and if that recall work has been completed. If the recall applies to the vehicle you’re considering and hasn’t yet been completed, be sure to have the (free) work carried out as soon as possible.
Tailgate and Cargo Area
Move to the cargo area. Confirm that the tailgate works as expected, and that the power tailgate, if equipped, opens and closes as expected from the keyfobs, the release on the dash, and the release on the tailgate. If it fails to work as expected, or reverses direction, reprogramming of the associated module or adjustment of the latch may be required.
Further shoppers are advised to check for evidence of a rare but notable water leak in the cargo area, by confirming that all cargo area carpeting is dry, and by lifting the cargo floor cover up and out of the way to check beneath for signs of rust, mildew, mould, or water staining. If detected, the problem may stem from a water leak at the top of the tailgate area, possibly caused by a poorly installed spoiler.
Check all Doors, Locks, Windows, and Electronics
Next, try all power windows and power door locks from all possible switches, and confirm that all door handles (inside and out) work consistently, and as expected. If that’s not the case, the hardware connected to the door handles may need some adjustment, care, or replacement.
The steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, motorized seat adjustments, Bluetooth system and central command system should all be run through their paces, too. Further, run the climate control system through all of its settings and fan speeds, confirming proper operation and the availability of air at the requested temperature from all vents. Put simply, if any of the Outlander’s electronic components isn’t working properly, now’s the time to find out.
On the topic of electronics, be aware of this important recall, which addressed some wonky relays that could cause the Outlander to randomly stall, overheat, or fail to start. If the model you’re considering is affected by this recall, a dealer will make the repairs required at no cost.
Check the Body
Start with some useful standard checks of the paint and body. Look for chipping, wear, and damage to the vulnerable areas of the Outlander’s body, including the area behind each wheel and tire, the front hood edge, and the door sills. Look down low and inside of each door, and the tailgate, for signs of sneaky rust. Pull away the weather stripping on lower, inner door surfaces gently, and check for rust hiding beneath. Here’s a discussion about potentially disappointing durability from the finish on other Mitsubishi models from this era.
Other Useful Checks
Keyfobs and Engine Start Button
Confirm that each available remote keyfob is in proper working order, and that the push-button engine start system starts the engine quickly with either. If that’s not the case, the cause can range from a bad battery to a bad engine start switch, and you’ll want to investigate further. Try and start the vehicle with each available keyfob, several times, to confirm that there are no issues.
Scrutinize the Ride and Suspension
Test drive the Outlander listening and feeling for unwelcomed sensations when travelling over bumps at various speeds. The machine should quietly bounce, rebound, and settle – not slam, bang, or crank into bumps or dips in the road. If you’re unsure of the condition of the suspension in the model you’re considering, have a mechanic take a look. Note that “healthy” suspension components are generally noiseless when encountering rough surfaces, and any questionable sounds from beneath the Outlander should be investigated.
Confirm Battery Health
Some owners have reported issues with poor life from the Outlander’s factory battery, which may die prematurely. As a weak or dying battery can cause annoying issues with other onboard systems, shoppers are advised to consider a battery and charging system check ahead of their purchase for maximum peace of mind.
Maximize the value of Outlander’s lengthy warranty! Be sure to report any detected issues, early and often, to your local Mitsubishi dealer’s service department and confirm that these issues are documented and recorded. This may speed future warranty claims, if required.
Here’s a list of recalls.
So far, the current-generation Outlander looks like a solid used crossover buy with few (if any) major concerns. Most commonly reported problems are minor in nature, and should be easily detectable on a standard pre-purchase inspection (PPI) at a dealer, or on your test drive.
Crash Test Ratings
IIHS: Top Safety Pick+
NHTSA: 4/5 stars