In the midst of a booming market for SUVs, Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Outlander Sport are two of the most often overlooked sport utility models out there. This is remarkable, as both are handsomely styled, reasonably priced, reliable, and nicely equipped. If fault is to be found somewhere, it lies perhaps in the fact the brand has had no clear cut marketing strategy. People know Mitsubishi for the Evo (which is getting pretty old) and that’s about it. For the 2016 model year, Mitsubishi has revamped the Outlander with more than 100 improvements. Further, the brand is coming to market with a clever and more precisely targeted promotional message. Will these efforts be enough? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, here are 10 things you need to know about the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.
10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
10 Things You Need to Know About the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
1. The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Has Updated Exterior Styling
In an effort to give the Outlander a more upscale appearance, a new front end has been grafted onto the model. This includes redesigned front fenders, a new headlight array with available LED instruments, a new grille treatment with glossy black trim elements, a skidplate under the front bumper, and a new hood. The revised hood is calculated specifically to enhance the presence of the Outlander by making the vehicle appear wider. At the rear, the hatch garnish is also new, as well as LED taillamps and the lower fascia. The profile view offers new trim for the lower edges of the front and rear doors. Other new exterior features include power folding side mirrors and new 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels.
2. The Interior Has Been Reworked For A More Luxurious Experience
Outlander is Mitsubishi’s flagship model in the United States. As such, it needs to represent the best the company is capable of for the price. To enhance the interior ambiance of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander, the company’s product planning team specified a redesigned steering wheel, as well as a new navigation and display audio system. The audio system was redesigned to place the most often used controls on the faceplate, rather than in menus on the touchscreen. Further updating the look of the interior, the brown woodgrain accent trim on the doors and dashboard was replaced with a more contemporary black woodgrain trim. Other improvements include new seating surfaces and a knit headliner, which also covers the “A” pillars. New interior features include an optional auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, and redesigned folding rear seats, which offer significantly easier operation.
3. The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Offers A Choice of Two Engines
The base powerplant is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder with 166 horsepower and 162 ft-lbs of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is paired with this engine, as well as a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. The CVT has been redesigned to achieve faster response to throttle inputs and reduce torque loss to improve acceleration, while preserving fuel economy. The EPA estimates 25 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway, and 27 mpg overall with front drive, 24/29/26 with all-wheel drive. The 3.0-liter V6 makes 224 horsepower and 215 ft-lbs of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg in the city/ 27 on the highway, and 23 combined.
4. Hardware Changes Improve The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander’s Refinement
The suspension system has been reworked to improve ride quality and handling attributes. Further, specific efforts have been undertaken to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. Modifications to the suspension system and body have increased rigidity to make the Outlander quieter and more composed on the road. The rear door glass is thicker, and more sound insulation has been employed throughout the Outlander. Dynamic dampers have been fitted to the front and rear suspension systems, as well as the rear differential to mute noise. Few details escaped notice; the engineering team even specified new weather stripping to reduce wind noise.
5. Considerable Effort Has Gone Into Making The 2016 Outlander Quieter
The thickness of the 18-inch alloy wheel was increased to reduce the transmission of road noise into the passenger compartment. The new acoustic glass windshield further reduces interior noise levels. Insulation was added to the floor to further diminish the transmission of undesirable sounds. Desirable sounds were sought as well; considerable effort was expended to ensure the sound the doors make when one closes them imparts the impression of quality, security, and refinement.
6. The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander’s Standard Features List Is Quite Lengthy
Standard features include automatic climate control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a six-speaker 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, Bluetooth audio streaming and handsfree telephony, electric power steering, power door locks and side view mirrors, power windows with driver's one-touch up/down, a full-color LCD Multi-Information Display, a 60/40 split folding rear seat with independent slide and reclining adjusters, 50/50 third-row fold-flat seating, underfloor rear cargo storage, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, soft-touch instrument panel trim, remote keyless entry with a panic button feature, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a gloss-black center console with silver accents, and two 12-volt power outlets.
7. Ditto The Standard Exterior, and Safety Features List
Standard exterior features include auto-off halogen headlights, LED positioning lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED rear taillights, wheel arch moldings, color-keyed front & rear bumpers with chrome accents, color-keyed exterior door handles, a roof carrier plug-in accommodation, heated outside mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer (for the Outlander GT model). Safety features include seven airbags, hill start assist, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, an anti-theft engine immobilizer, and a security alarm.
8. Outlander Scores Highly In IIHS Safety Testing
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2015 Outlander a Top Safety Pick+. The model was awarded the organization’s top rating of “Good” in small overlap front crashes, moderate overlap front crashes, side crashes, roof strength, head restraints, and seats. While the organization has yet to post its findings on the 2016 model, the structural improvements discussed above should stand the 2016 in equal or better stead. One of the elements of achieving Top Safety Pick+ status is offering the availability of forward collision mitigation. For the 2016 model year, this technology—along with lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control are bundled into an affordable $1,550 package intended to make these advanced accident avoidance attributes available to a broader cross section of drivers.
9. Technically A Mid-Cycle Refresh, The 2016 Outlander Feels Practically New
The sum total of these changes does affect the overall character of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander—and for the better. Driven back to back with the 2015 model, the 2016 Outlander is considerably quieter, feels quicker with the four-cylinder engine, is more composed on the road, handles better, and is more user-friendly. A perfect example of this is how much easier it is to fold the second row seats in the 2016 model. What was previously a several step process can now be accomplished in two. The interior treatment is changed just enough for the improvements to be obvious without completely reworking the layout. Meanwhile, the overall exterior appearance would almost lead one to believe the 2016 Outlander is an all-new vehicle.
10. Even With More Than 100 Improvements, The Outlander’s Base Price Is Lower
And yes, the price counts as one of those 100+ improvements. For the 2016 model year, the Outlander’s base price has been reduced to $22,995. This represents a $200 decrease in price from the 2015 model, which was already on many lists of the most affordable suvs. In fact, Mitsubishi spokespeople say the 2016 Outlander is the least expensive Japanese three-row compact crossover suv available. Given the more than 100 new improvements and the more than 300 new part numbers in the Mitsubishi catalog for the Outlander, this is a rather remarkable feat. The top of the line Outlander GT with all-wheel drive, leather, and the V6 engine starts at $30,995.