11.22.2015

Time Waits For No SUV: The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC

Side view of 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC
The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC.
About two years ago, I wrote an overwhelmingly positive review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT. I meant it, and wouldn't change a word of how I described the Mitsu (apart from how they've fixed the delayed-reaction touchscreen that plagued us in the '14 car).

But this will be a different review.




Rear 7/8 view of 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC
2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC,
The problem?  The passage of time and the momentum of competitors. Two years is a long time in the car business, especially in the competitive and constantly evolving segment of crossovers. There are simply more efficient vehicles to buy today, both in terms of packaging people and cargo and in terms of fuel economy.

Gas mileage, with a 3-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission, is always going to be a limitation. It's the reason the world is revolving around 2-liter turbo fours with eight or nine speeds.  The Outlander GT does well with what it has...20 city/27 highway, but those aren't numbers that will knock anybody's hat in the creek, either.  The combo does bring decent performance, though...and the Outlander's driving characteristics (nimble, not too soft, not too harsh) are a good thing.

Interior view of 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC
2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC interior.

Of all the things that make up a car, the interior is the place where the game is almost constantly changing.  And that's where the Outlander GT suffers most.  The design is pleasant, the seats comfortable, the materials of good quality...but it's a 2011 interior in 2016, with other carmakers trying to imagine 2020.

What Mitsubishi has going for it, as it did two years ago, is the value equation.  The GT S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) comes loaded with nice stuff like 18-inch wheels, a power glass sunroof, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera and a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with SiriusXM and HD Radio  (click here for the full list of features) for $30,995.  We've had Toyota RAV4s that cost more. And this is a three-row midsize.  Just one option, the GT Touring Package, adds navigation, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning for an additional $3,350.  Bottom line with $850 for destination and handling, was $35,195.

The Outlander's sales year-to-date are up 40% from last year.  Could be that there's a market for that kind of value.  If so, good for Mitsubishi.

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