2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

In calendar 2012, the Mitsubishi Outlander ranked second to last in sales in the compact-SUV class, trailing its smaller, younger brother, the Outlander Sport, and beating out only the doomed Suzuki Grand Vitara. The 2013 Outlander wasn’t the worst student in its class; it scored good grades for handling and for the performance of its V6 GT models, and it earned extra credit for being the only 2013 vehicle in its segment to offer a 3rd row.

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However, the previous-generation Outlander (2007-2013) suffered from an austere interior, a sluggish 4-cylinder engine, mediocre fuel economy, and a general lack of pizzazz.

With its 2014 redesign, Outlander may finally start to turn heads. Recently, we were among the first to test drive the 2014 Outlander at a press event in Bend, Oregon. Though the new, sleeker design didn’t bowl us over, some of the newly available features did, particularly the high-tech safety items. Forward-collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, and—groundbreaking for this class—adaptive cruise are all available in the optional Touring Package.

The new Outlander sees many upgrades. It’s lighter (one of several factors leading to better fuel economy), quieter, and more comfortable, and efforts were taken to improve passenger safety. The control interface, audio system, and navigation system have been enhanced, and soft-touch surfaces and available wood trim spruce up the interior. Powertains have been refined, and the GT’s sophisticated all-wheel-drive system is now available on the volume SE.

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Pricing has not been announced. However, Bryan Arnett, senior manager for Product Strategy for Mitsubishi Motors North America, said that 2014 prices will remain close to those of the outgoing model. The 2013 Outlander starts at $22,695 for the base ES, $23,995 for the SE, and $26,595 for the sporty GT with the V6 engine.

Arnett said that Mitsubishi is expecting to sell 15,000 Outlanders a year—a modest goal when you realize that some class competitors, such as the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, eclipse the 15,000 mark in a month. Considering Outlander’s appealing virtues, and the fact that Mitsubishi says it will support it with a national, prime-time advertising campaign (which we haven’t seen from the company in years), we feel that 15,000 units a year is certainly within reach. Arnett puts the vehicle’s target audience at age 35 to 54, with a household income between $100,000 and $150,000. Mitsubishi counts the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 as two of the Outlander’s main rivals.

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2014 Mitsubishi Outlander