The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander's low base price isn't the only thing attractive about it. It's also good-looking, a sharp handler and, with its base engine, is quite fuel-efficient. That said, reviewer consensus is that the Outlander isn't as sophisticated as similarly priced SUVs that are held in higher regard, like the 2012 Kia Sorento (Base MSRP: $21,250 to $34,850) and the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe (Base MSRP: $23,225 to $30,925).
New features for 2012 are nominal: an Eco driving indicator and an available rearview camera system that displays its image in the rearview mirror.
The Outlander takes flak from critics over the lackluster quality of its interior materials, as well as a flimsy, uncomfortable third-row seat.
There are a few positives, though. The Outlander's 168-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder base engine, paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), gets an estimated 25 mpg with front-wheel drive. A 230-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 with a six-speed automatic is also available, and it drags fuel economy down a few mpg. Reviewers also like the Outlander's sophisticated optional all-wheel-drive system, which features driver-selectable modes calibrated for specific road surface conditions.
Edmunds.com editors call the Outlander "a solid pick for those seeking a less mainstream alternative," but the truth is there are many superior choices with better power, similar fuel economy and significantly better reviews.
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates
4-cyl 2WD: 23 mpg city / 28 highway / 25 combined
4-cyl AWD: 22 mpg city / 27 highway / 24 combined
4-cyl AWD: 19 mpg city / 26 highway / 22 combined
4-cyl AWD: 19 mpg city / 25 highway / 21 combined
Ratings for the 4-cylinder Outlander assume the use of regular-grade gasoline. The V6 fuel economy estimates, however, assume the use of more expensive premium gasoline.
NHTSA Safety Ratings:
Front Impact: 4 stars
Side Impact: 4 stars
Rollover Resistance: 4 stars
Overall: 4 stars
IIHS Safety Ratings:
Front Offset Impact: Good
Side Impact: Good
Roof Strength: Acceptable
For additional details, see our 2010 review
The Mitsubishi Outlander has not changed substantially the last couple of years. See our full report on the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander for a more detailed analysis of what reviewers have to say.
Editors at Edmunds.com say the Outlander is an interesting alternative to other midsize SUVs. They give a model-year update here that includes a rundown of new features, plus impressions on overall driving and comfort.
Review: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander, Editors of Edmunds.com
Our full report on the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander provides detailed, more comprehensive analysis of reviewers' feedback on the Outlander, which has remained essentially the same vehicle in the ensuing model years.
Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, July 2010
The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is expected to return 22 to 25 mpg overall, depending on powertrain. The 4-cylinder delivers the better numbers and uses regular gas. The V6's figures aren't as good, and that engine drinks premium fuel.
Review: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander, U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency
For its performance in U.S. government crash tests, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander gets an overall rating of 4 stars.
Review: 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Mitsubishi Outlander the highest rating of Good for frontal offset and side-impact tests, but only an Acceptable score for roof strength.
Review: Mitsubishi Outlander, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety