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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

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author photo by Autotrader November 2019

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander puts together two aspects that are rare in compact crossovers: three seating rows and a V6 engine. In a couple of rivals, it's one but not the other. In the 2020 Outlander, a buyer can have both. What's even more remarkable is that it does this while featuring a long list of standard equipment at seriously competitive prices.

Not everything in the Outlander's garden is rosy, however. The quality of cabin materials doesn't compare with most rivals'. And the third seating row is a kids-only arrangement, although that's probably fine for 95 percent of families doing the school run.

This isn't the most modern compact crossover, and Mitsubishi dealers are thin on the ground, but don't let the Outlander's low profile scare you away. Instead, let the test drive be your guide.

A plug-in hybrid version, the 2020 Outlander PHEV, is reviewed separately.

What's New for 2020?

A new SP trim joins the 2020 Outlander range, and it's priced between the SEL and GT trims.

Mitsubishi added power lumbar adjustment to the driver's seat at every trim level, and it's redesigned the controls for the heating and ventilation system, improved the comfort of the second seating row and fit another USB port in the second row. An updated all-wheel drive system, now with Active Yaw Control, is now available on every variant, replacing the more basic option once offered on the ES.

Starting from the SE trim, the Outlander gains a new 8-in infotainment display, a self-dimming rearview mirror and rain-sensing wipers. This is also the new point where forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams become standard.

The Premium options package for the SEL and GT trims and the GT Touring package have been discontinued, while an 8-speaker Mitsubishi Power Sound System replaces the Rockford Fosgate optional audio upgrade. This setup doesn't have a subwoofer -- the old RF system did, and it encroached on cargo space. See the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Decent 4-cylinder fuel economy
  • Standard 3-row seating
  • Strong optional V6 engine
  • Pleasant interior
  • 5-year/60,000-mile warranty

What We Don't

  • Unremarkable 4-cylinder acceleration
  • Third seating row only suitable for kids

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The main engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a continuously variable transmission.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 25 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving, which is pretty decent for a crossover. With the optional all-wheel drive, this engine achieves a respectable 24 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

The Outlander GT has a 3.0-liter V6 that develops 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. AWD is the sole setup, as is a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered in ES, SE, LE, SEL and GT trims. The GT comes solely in AWD. AWD is optional in the other trims at a cost of $2,000. It includes Active Yaw Control, an active front differential and windshield wiper de-icing.

The ES trim ($25,890) starts with 18-in alloy wheels, hill-start assistance, heated side mirrors, LED daytime running headlights and taillights, a full suite of power accessories, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold, a color driver information display, a height-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar adjustment, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, automatic dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, slide-and-recline second-row seating with 60/40 split folding, 50/50 split folding third-row seats, a rearview camera, voice control, Bluetooth capability, a 7-in infotainment touchscreen and a 6-speaker CD audio system with HD radio and a USB port.

The SE trim ($27,090) brings fog lights, color-keyed side-mirror housings with LED turn signal indicators, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and ignition, upgraded gauges, a self-dimming rearview mirror, 8-way power adjustable front seats, leatherette and fabric upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, satellite radio, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, an 8-in infotainment display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and dual USB ports.

A Convenience package for the SE trim includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, power folding side mirrors and a powered glass sunroof with a sunshade.

The LE trim ($28,290) offers the contents of the Convenience package as standard and adds some black cosmetic touches, such as roof rails and alloy wheels.

The SEL trim ($28,490) comes with leather seating surfaces and a powered remote tailgate.

The SP trim ($29,490) is a limited-edition model with extra aerodynamic parts, a powered sunroof, black-finished alloy wheels and a hood badge and door handle covers that are finished in black.

The GT trim ($34,740) has the V6 engine, full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, chrome exterior trim, silver roof rails, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a heated steering wheel, a multiview camera system and the Mitsubishi Power Sound System.

All Outlanders can be ordered with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, front and rear parking sensors and blue LED interior lighting.

The cargo space behind the third seating row is 10.3 cu ft. Behind the second, it's 34.2 cu ft. With both rows folded flat, it's 63.3 cu ft. The 34.2 cu ft. is fine by class standards, but the 63.3 cu ft. is a bit below average. Check it out at a dealership to see if this is adequate. There's also some underfloor storage.


Standard safety equipment includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability control, hill-start assist and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side curtain). A lane-departure warning system and adaptive cruise control with frontal collision mitigation, including automatic braking, are also offered.

In crash testing performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the AWD Outlander received an overall rating of five stars out of five, including four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts. Strangely, the FWD Outlander dropped to four stars overall.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Outlander earned the top rating of Good in every major category and was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Behind the Wheel

Soft-touch materials are abundant in the cabin, and they're complemented by crisp gauges, especially in the SEL and GT trims. Remarkably, even the base ES trim gets standard automatic climate control, although the barely pricier SE trim has enough desirable extras to make it an obvious upgrade.

Seat comfort is acceptable for everyone, except for any kids stuck in the cramped third row. That's not strictly a complaint. A lot of parents will be grateful just to have those two extra places. The second row deserves special mention for its sliding and reclining seats and its generous legroom. Overall, the cabin is well thought out and nicely executed.

The base 4-cylinder engine is uninspiring, although the same could be said for most base engines in this class. More troubling is the CVT's tendency to maintain a high engine speed during acceleration, which produces an intrusive drone. The V6, by contrast, is a joy, providing eager thrust along with a cool little snarl above 4,000 rpm. The V6 uses a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission instead of the CVT, which only helps its cause from a performance standpoint. The handling is safe and secure, even during spirited driving.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Honda CR-V -- Build, reliability, cargo space and resale values are all extremely good. Only two rows of seating, though.

2020 Jeep Cherokee -- The only other compact crossover to offer a V6 engine. But not seating for seven.

2020 Hyundai Tucson -- Excellent warranty, great price-to-equipment ratio. Seats five.

2020 Kia Sportage -- A close relative of the Tucson's, but with some nicer cabin materials and a more engaging drive.

2020 Mazda CX-5 -- Stylish, sporty and fuel-efficient. It's strictly a 2-row vehicle, however.

2020 Nissan Rogue -- Has the option of three rows. Nice interior. Dull drivetrain.

2020 Toyota RAV4 -- If you're cool with 4-cylinder power and two rows of seats, the RAV4 is a strong contender.

Used Kia Sorento -- The slightly roomier Sorento also offers a third row, and a certified pre-owned model could save some serious cash.

Autotrader's Advice

Anyone serious about buying an Outlander probably wants to keep expenditure at a reasonable level. With that in mind, we tend to favor the SE, especially now that it has more driver aids. Find a Mitsubishi Outlander for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Review - Autotrader