2020 Mitsubishi Outlander

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Review: New Model Can't Come Soon Enough

by Michael Butler

It would be naive to say that the SUV market has got some healthy competition going; it's more like an all-out war-zone with car manufacturers fighting for every inch of market share. What this means is that you'll be left by the wayside quicker than you can say soccer practice if you're not constantly honing your product. The unfortunate truth is that the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander has been outgunned by the competition and feels underpowered, wallowy, and just not special enough in a market filled with exciting offerings. The range of naturally aspirated engines fail to inspire, and the handling and driving experience is worrying. Mitsubishi has gotten a few things right; it's quite economical, safe, and affordable. With a new model looming around the corner, we think it's best that the current Outlander be put out to pasture.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Outlander?

Mitsubishi treated its Outlander SUV to a mild visual refresh in 2019, and 2020 sees even more updates, despite the fact that an all-new version is on its way. Notable changes include the addition of Mitsubishi's advanced All-Wheel control system on all four-wheel-drive vehicles. The new SP trim adds a bit of bling to the LE trim, and all models above the ES now get auto-forward braking, lane departure warning, and auto high-beam assistance. These models also get a newly developed eight-inch infotainment screen. All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlanders get power-adjustable seats with lumbar control, extra USB ports in the rear, and redesigned second-row seats. Red Diamond also joins the color palette.

Pros and Cons

  • There's a standard third row
  • Impressive standard warranty
  • Good standard feature list
  • All-wheel drive is available across the range
  • It's not that bad to look at
  • The base engine doesn't cut it
  • The interior feels slightly cheap
  • The infotainment system feels outdated

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
ES
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$24,895
SE
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$26,095
LE
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$27,295
SEL
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$27,495
SP
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$28,495

Outlander Exterior

An exterior styling update in 2019 brought with it some contemporary styling fixes that have transformed the Outlander into a pretty sleek looking SUV: we enjoy the grinning grille and chunky rear end. The Nissan Rogue looks cooler, but looks are subjective after all. For 2020, the base model features halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights and taillights, as well as heated power side mirrors, rear privacy glass, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The features list only gets better from here on out; SE models add auto headlights, fog lights, chrome grille accents, and body-colored side mirrors, while LE models get a power sunroof. Even further up in the range, you can expect to find rain-sensing window wipers, and front, rear and side air dams, while the top of the line GT lights the way with a set of LED low and high beam headlights.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Front Angle View Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Side View Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Side View 1 Mitsubishi
See All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Years of building capable offroading machines have taught Mitsubishi a few things, and it's clear to see by looking at the Outlander's exterior dimensions that it has been built for some off-roading action. Total length comes in at 184.8 inches, which is over four inches shorter than the Kia Sorento. The Outlander sits 67.3 inches off the ground, which is right up there with the 68-inch Nissan Rogue and the 66.3-inch Kia Sorento. Max width is 71.3 inches, and there are 8.5 inches of ground clearance on offer. Combine those 8.5 inches with a relatively short 105.1-inch wheelbase, and you've got yourself a car that can tackle some mild off-roading. The Outlander's weight shifts between 3,329 lbs for the 2WD ES all the way to 3,582 lbs for the AWD GT.

  • Length 184.8 in
  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Height 67.3 in
  • Max Width 71.3 in
  • Front Width 60.6 in
  • Rear Width 60.6 in

Exterior Colors

You won't find any outrageous color options here. The Mitsubishi Outlander is offered in a total of seven colors that range from reserved to contemporary at best, and we're totally fine with that; the Outlander will appeal to an older market or sensible parents with sensible little kids who appreciate nature and living a healthy lifestyle. The base model is available in Labrador Black, Cosmic Blue Metallic, Mercury Gray Metallic, and a rather attractive Quartz Brown Metallic. The latest arrival is named Red Diamond and is a $595 option, as is Pearl White at $395. If we had the opportunity to spec a new Outlander, we'd have it in the unique Quartz Brown Metallic.

  • Pearl White
  • Red Diamond
  • Quartz Brown Metallic
  • Cosmic Blue Metallic
  • Mercury Gray Metallic
  • Alloy Silver Metallic
  • Labrador Black Metallic

Outlander Performance

The Outlander is a high riding SUV that weighs well over 3,000 pounds, so to keep up with the competition, you'd expect Mitsubishi to plug a few turbocharged engines under the hood - but you'd be very wrong. Mitsubishi has stuck with a range of naturally aspirated four and six-cylinder engines that deliver an underwhelming performance. The 2.4-liter engine will eventually reach sixty miles per hour, and the 3.0-liter V6 will reach it slightly faster, but don't expect zippy in-town acceleration. The Outlander, especially with the smaller engine, will teach you to be patient and to plan ahead when attempting overtaking maneuvers. Compared to its rivals, the Outlander doesn't get left in the dust, but we'd love to see Mitsubishi invest in some modern turbo-tech.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Rear View Driving Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Badge Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Wheel Mitsubishi

Engine and Transmission

You won't find any Turbocharged gas-powered engines in this lineup; Mitsubishi has stuck with their tried and tested range of naturally-aspirated engines, which might not be the most powerful or fuel-efficient, but should last hundreds of thousands of miles if properly maintained. The base engine is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder unit with a meager 166 hp of power and 162 lb-ft of torque. If you're looking for something with a little more get up and go, Mitsubishi offers a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. In both engine configurations, power is sent to either the front or all four wheels. The 2.4-liter engine is mated to a CVT auto transmission while the 3.0-liter engine gets its own six-speed auto trans. The base engine delivers a reasonable performance when unladen, but as soon as the Outlander is loaded with people and stuff, it starts to struggle. Pin the throttle, and the CVT transmission will sit and whine at the top of its lungs. The V6 motor fairs better and has a better low-down torque curve, which helps around town. The Outlander will get you places, just not very fast.

  • Engines
    2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.0-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The 2020 Outlander handles exactly as you'd expect a tall-riding SUV would: you get excessive body roll when entering and exiting sharper corners, which is especially concerning because of its narrow body. Despite being at the receiving end of a refined suspension and steering setup in 2019, the Outlander still displays handling characteristics of SUVs of old. Over small bumps, the Outlander will maintain its composure and soak undulations with relative ease but hit more serious stuff, and the Mitsubishi feels like it won't stop bouncing around. Not cool. To add to the Outlander's woes, the steering is overly soft, and there's virtually no feedback coming out of the steering wheel, which is unnerving when you're driving at highway speeds. Off-road, the Outlander's wobbly stride is more forgivable, but out on the road, competitors such as the Kia Sorento and Nissan Rogue do a much better job.

Outlander Gas Mileage

Large and hefty SUVs powered by old-school naturally aspirated single-overhead-cam engines don't sound like a recipe for great gas mileage, but you'd be surprised at what Mitsubishi has achieved with its 2020 range of Outlanders. The most fuel-efficient gas-powered version, the 2.4-liter 2WD base model, will do an impressive 25/30/27 mpg city/highway/combined. This number drops to 24/29/26 mpg when in 4WD configuration. The heaviest drinker of the bunch will be the top of the line GT, which is powered by a 3.0-liter V6. The EPA estimates that it will suck down 20/27/22 mpg. 2.4-liter models are fitted with a 16.6-gallon fuel tank, while the 3.0-liter V6 only gets 15.8 gallons. This gives the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander an estimated range of between 348 and 448 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.6 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/30 mpg
* 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander ES FWD

Outlander Interior

Mitsubishi is playing catchup with its competitors when it comes to the interior of their compact crossover SUV: once you step inside the cabin, you're greeted by a slightly dated space that doesn't feel as well planned or built as its competitors. So it might not impress from a visual and design standpoint, but the Outlander does offer a decent amount of standard features: the base model gets standard heated front seats, remote keyless entry, and dual-zone climate control. When you step up to the SE, you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Soft-touch seats become available on the SE, and top-spec GT models are offered with a standard heated steering wheel and multi-view camera system. All but the base trim get push-button start.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Dashboard Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Gear Shifter Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Infotainment System Mitsubishi
See All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Seven adults can be squeezed into the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander without any major complaints unless those seven people play for the Harlem Globetrotters. We were pleased to note that the Outlander is offered with standard third-row seating. How does this Japanese SUV fair in terms of interior space? Not too bad, actually, but its competitors offer more. Headroom measures in at 40.6 inches in the front, dropping to 39.9 inches on models fitted with sunroofs. The second row provides 38.4 inches falling down to 37.2 when fitted with a sunroof, and all the way in the back, you get 35.7 inches. The all-important legroom measurement reads as follows: in the front, there's 40.9 inches of space, and second-row passengers get a respectable 37.3 inches. All the way back in the third row, you're offered 28.2 inches. Both the Kia Sorento and Nissan Rogue offer more space.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Front Head Room 40.6 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.4 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Are you a fan of Nappa leather or carbon-fiber? Well, the Mitsubishi Outlander offers none of those. Instead, you get a very simplified choice of fabric, soft-touch material, and leather on the seats. Base model cars get material seats that feel hard-wearing and should be the go-to for those who plan on taking their Outlander outside city limits. SE, LE, and SP models get an attractive combination of soft-touch and material seat upholstery, which offer good comfort and look pretty good too. If you want leather, you'll have to stretch to the SEL or GT. All models get to choose between a plain black or beige interior color. Whereas the competition has moved towards soft-touch plastics, the Outlander still clings to dated hard plastics finished off in matte black. You also get fake aluminum accents around the air vents and a scattering of gloss black around the infotainment system.

Outlander Trunk and Cargo Space

Trunk and overall cargo space might not be of much significance when you're dealing with a two-seater convertible or tractor, but when it comes to the world of SUVs, it is absolutely imperative that you offer as much space as possible without compromising passenger space. Unfortunately, the Outlander can't match the competition. Behind the third row, you get a usable 10.3 cubic feet of trunk space, but the Kia Sorento offers an extra cubic foot of space. Fold the third-row seating, and that space opens up to 34.2 cubic feet (33 with a sunroof). This time the margin between the Kia Sorento, Nissan Rogue and Outlander widens by a more significant number; the Kia offers nearly four cubic feet of space more and the Rogue offers even more. With all the seats folded behind the first row, you'll get 63.3 cubic feet (61 with a sunroof), which is almost ten less than the Sorento. Small-item storage, on the other hand, is pretty good: passengers get seatback pockets, front and rear bottle holders, a center console storage bin, third-row cup holders, a glove box, and even an underfloor cargo area storage space.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Interior Overview Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Rear Passenger Seats Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Trunk Space Mitsubishi

Outlander Infotainment and Features

Features

Younger buyers are expecting more and more from manufacturers who are desperately competing for Millenial money, and rightfully so - the more competition, the better the car; at least, that's how it's supposed to work. The 2020 Outlander is fairly well equipped in base form, and top-spec models can start to feel quite premium. Standard features on base models include LED daytime running lights, manually adjustable front seats, a single front USB port, rearview camera, as well as remote keyless access, cruise control, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system. Moving one step up the trim ladder will bag you auto headlights and a set of foglights, rain-sensing window wipers, an eight-way power-adjustable driver, a passenger seat in soft-touch fabric, and a leather-wrapped shift knob amongst others. SEL models are the first in the lineup to get leather seats, a driver's seatback pocket, and silver roof rails. Things start to get serious when you move up to the GT trims: you'll now get standard LED headlights, a more powerful sound system, multi-view camera system, Mitsubishi's advanced S-AWC drive-mode selector, and safety features such as adaptive cruise control.

Infotainment

The base model gets a seven-inch display, which includes HD radio compatibility, AM/FM audio, Bluetooth streaming as well as steering wheel mounted audio controls, a six-speaker sound system, and a front USB port. This system offers all the basics but unfortunately misses out on advanced services. SE models and above get a larger eight-inch display, but, more importantly, enjoy standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. SiriusXM satellite radio, steering wheel voice recognition control, and rear USB ports are also thrown in for good measure. The GT trim model enjoys the rich tones of a Rockford Fosgate sound system with a 710-watt amplifier and a ten-inch subwoofer. There's no navigation on offer, but we prefer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enabled navigation, anyway.

Outlander Problems and Reliability

There have been no recalls for 2020 year models, but looking back over the last two years, the Outlander has been recalled three times. Seeing as one of the recalls was for a label with an incorrect rim size figure slapped on it, we'll only consider the other two of real significance. In September of 2018, the Outlander was recalled due to safety systems such as auto forward braking failing to activate, and another issue was detected with the pedestrian detection system that warranted a recall. Mitsubishi will cover the Outlander with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which includes an impressive five-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty and five years of roadside assistance. J.D Power gave the 2019 Outlander a user rated reliability rating of 80.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles

Outlander Safety

Although the Outlander doesn't display the most comforting driving characteristics, it compensates for it by offering a seriously safe cabin that will keep its occupants secure in the case of a serious accident. The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander has been tested by both the NHTSA and IIHS and left both safety rating agencies thoroughly impressed. The NHTSA awarded the Outlander a full five out of five stars and the IIHS, arguably the leading voice in American automotive safety standards, was so impressed with the Outlander that it gave the car a Top Safety Pick award. The Nissan Rogue shares the Outlanders Top Safety Pick status, but the Korean Kia Sorento does one better with a Top Safety Pick Plus award.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

The IIHS doesn't just hand out Top Safety Pick awards for nothing; the Outlander earned that accolade by providing an impressive range of active and passive systems that have been proven to keep heads and legs intact during a major crash. Standard safety features found in base model Outlander SUVs include hill start assist, ABS with brake force distribution, stability control, and eight airbags. You'll have to look at the SE model and upwards to get the truly advanced safety features, though. SE models offer standard forward collision mitigation assistance, lane departure warning, and auto high beam assist. LE models and upward benefit from blind-spot monitoring with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. GT models also get adaptive cruise control.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander a good SUV?

In an age where every second car manufacturer is jumping onto the SUV bandwagon, it takes more than just the good old college try to be competitive. Mitsubishi has decades of experience in building tough and reliable SUVs, but in this new age, buyers depend on more than good ground clearance numbers and sturdy cloth seats. The Outlander received a minor update in 2019, and 2020 saw the addition of a couple of new features as well, but behind the fresh face lies an SUV that's showing its age. The 2.4-liter engine found in lower-trim models is woefully underpowered and struggles when pulling along a full load, but gets good gas mileage and should be bulletproof. The ride and handling is another issue we simply can't get past; its wallowy, wobbly and uncommunicative - not something you want in a family SUV. The interior is also showing its age and makes use of hard plastics and glossy bits and pieces that just don't cut it anymore. Its saving grace is its affordable price tag and good safety record.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander?

You can get your rear in the driver's seat of a 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander for as little as $24,895 when you go for the base model ES 2.4 in 2WD guise. That price will increase to $26,895 when you select 4WD. The price increase of $2,000 for 4WD is consistent across the range. The SE will set you back $26,095, rising to $28,095 for the 4WD version. The LE steps up the price to $27,295 (2WD) and $29,295 (4WD), and the SP goes for $28,495 (2WD) and $30,495 (4WD). SEL models sit below the range-topping car and cost $27,495 (2WD) and $29,495 (4WD). At the top sits the GT, which comes with 4WD as standard and goes for $33,745. Mitsubishi will charge you $1,195 for destination and handling fees. Compared to Kia's Sorento and Nissan's Rogue, the Outlander is the cheaper choice, on average.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Models

If you can't find an Outlander to suit your needs then there's no helping you; Mitsubishi offers their compact crossover SUV in six different trim levels, which stretch over a near-on $10,000 price difference. This includes the ES, SE, LE, SP, SEL, and GT. The ES shares its 2.4-liter inline-four engine and CVT trans with SE, LE, SP, and SEL models, and all but the GT are available in either 2WD or 4WD configurations.

The base model features comforts such as dual-zone climate control, LED daytime running lights, and a seven-inch infotainment display with Bluetooth streaming. SE models get an upgraded eight-inch display with SiriusXM satellite radio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and forward collision mitigation, amongst others.

LE models add blind-spot warning with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic assist as well as a power sunroof.

The SP gets mostly appearance upgrades in the form of black-painted 18-inch wheels, black side mirrors, a black hood badge, and more of the sort scattered around the exterior.

It's the SEL that takes things up a few degrees with leather seats, a power remote liftgate, and silver carbon-style instrument panel accents.

At the top of the range, the GT gets exclusive rights to a 3.0-liter V6 engine and is only available in 4WD. Power is sent to a six-speed auto transmission with paddle shifters, and you also get a set of LED headlights and a multi-view camera system.

See All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

For 2020 Mitsubishi has all but done away with its additional packages; what you see is what you get, but with six different trim levels to choose from, the Outlander has cleverly spread its entire feature offering across the lineup. Mitsubishi does, however, offer a few useful accessories, which it labels as packages in any way. This includes the $375 LED illumination package for floor illumination in blue LED, or the $540 popular value package which adds body side moldings, a cargo mat and net, as well as front and rear mudguards, an aluminum and leather shift knob, a third-row floor mat and wheel locks. For those who need to tow stuff, the $495 towing package adds a tow hitch and trailer tow wire harness.

🚗What Mitsubishi Outlander Model Should I Buy?

New buyers are spoilt for choice with six trim levels to choose from, two engines, and 2WD or 4WD, there's something for everyone. The Outlander is best looked at as a family workhorse, rather than a trendy city runaround; if you're looking for a city crawler, then you'd be better off looking elsewhere. For that reason, we would suggest sticking to the lower end of the lineup. We would go for the SE purely because it includes advanced driver assistance systems such as forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and automatic high beam assist. The SE also offers an upgraded eight-inch infotainment system with standard SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Other conveniences include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, push-button start, and steering wheel voice recognition control. The SE goes for $26,095, only $1,200 more than the base model when selected in 2WD guise. That said, the Outlander is due for replacement, so you might want to hold out for a while either to benefit from potential discounts or to sample this model's replacement.

Check out other Mitsubishi Outlander Styles

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Comparisons

Kia Sorento Kia
Nissan Rogue Nissan
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mitsubishi Outlander166 hp25/30 mpg$24,895
Kia Sorento 185 hp22/29 mpg$26,990
Nissan Rogue 170 hp26/33 mpg$25,490

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander vs Kia Sorento

Kia has taken the American car market by storm in recent years, and it's easy to see why: their cars are good to look at, they're packed with features, and they drive good too. The 2020 Kia Sorento plays into that ethos perfectly. We should start with the Sorento's most disappointing feature; it's base engine. As with the Outlander, Kia's 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is underpowered and underwhelming. With 185 hp and 178 lb-ft, the Sorento is more powerful than the Outlander, but struggles all the same. You'll have to get the 3.3-liter V6 engine if you're serious about getting around. Fuel consumption ranges from 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined in the base model, down to 18/24/20 mpg in the AWD V6. On the road, the Sorento displays car-like driving characteristics, which is far removed from the sloppy experience we had in the Outlander, and the interior and infotainment setup are also more modern. The Sorento scored a Top Safety Pick Plus award from the IIHS and starts at $26,990. We'd happily pay the extra money for the Kia.

See Kia Sorento Review

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander vs Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue is an affordable contender to the Outlander that will appeal to younger buyers. It offers similar power levels, with its 2.5-liter four-pot mustering 170 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, and, although it doesn't offer a big V6 or turbo alternative, it still manages to get the job done, and the lack of power is made up for by a gas mileage figure of 26/33/29 mpg city/highway/combined. The exterior styling hasn't seen an update in quite some time, but it still looks more compelling than the muted Outlander, and its more compact dimensions will appeal to younger and smaller families. On the road, the Rogue handles and drives better than the Outlander, despite suffering from unresponsive and overly light steering. Inside, the Rogue is clearly the better car; its styling design and build quality is sure to win you over. The Rogue has a good list of standard features and shares a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS with the Outlander. If it was our choice, we'd go with the Nissan every time.

See Nissan Rogue Review

Mitsubishi Outlander Popular Comparisons

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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Video Review

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$24,895 - $33,745
Price Range (MSRP)
Mitsubishi Outlander