Make a list of small to mid-sized SUVs and the Mitsubishi Outlander might not be the first model that comes to mind. It might not even be the second or the third.
At the front of the line are the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue and the Honda CR-V. Other class favorites include the Toyota CR-V, Subaru Forester and Kia Sorento.
The Outlander, meanwhile, just sort of hangs in the background hoping to catch a look. Shoppers diligent enough to test drive the Outlander, however, will be pleased to find a competent SUV packed with enough honest value to be a smart choice.
In fact, our 4-cylinder SEL tester with leather interior, premium sound system and a full suite of safety-tech features, barely tops $30,000 ($30,390 to be exact). That’s several thousand dollars less than other comparably equipped brands.
The Outlander’s design is generic SUV, but some high-impact chrome embellishments dress it up. Chrome corner pieces on the grille look vaguely like ram horns, which toughens the overall look. Inside, the dash and door designs are smooth and uncluttered, not a scrambled mess like some of the competition.
Materials are soft to the touch and a quiet ride adds to the overall refinement of the Outlander.
Just the facts: A seven-passenger, three-row SUV with two engine offerings: a 2.4-liter four cylinder rated at 166 horsepower, and a 224-horsepower, six-cylinder engine. The smaller engine comes mated to a continuously variable transmission while the V-6 powerplant has a six-speed automatic. The third row is small but can accommodate a couple of children for short distances.
Worthwhile option: The $4,000 SEL touring pack bundles a multi-view camera, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, LED lights, heated steering wheel and premium Rockford Fosgate sound system.
How much? The base price range for Outlanders is $23,495 to $31,695.
Cool stuff: The 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty alone is enough to tip the scales when compared to vehicles with more modest protections.
We wish for: A bit more third-row room, an easier-to-tune radio and ventilated seats to cool down that black leather during the summer months.
While you are looking: Check out the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V: they are best sellers for a reason.