Mitsubishi Outlander SUV 3rd Generation 2014-2020 (GF/GG/ZJ/ZK/ZL) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Outlander SUV 3rd Gen

Read in this article:

3rd Gen Mitsubishi Outlander: What Owners Say

  • Owners love that it's an affordable crossover with a decent helping of standard features.
  • The Outlander is a spacious, comfortable family car if the family is no larger than five people.
  • Impressive fuel economy figures for most models.
  • Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV offers a usable EV-only range.
  • Owners aren't fans of the firm ride.
  • The Outlander feels somewhat dated - Mitsubishi waited too long before it started selling the 3rd-generation Outlander in the USA.
  • The exterior and interior design is bland.
  • The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine feels underpowered.

Mitsubishi Outlander Third Generation Facelift

Mitsubishi's 3rd-generation Outlander, also known globally by various codenames like GF/ZJ/ZK/ZLGG, was on sale for so long that it received two notable facelifts during its lifecycle. Mitsubishi waited a full two years before sales of the 3rd-generation Outlander started in the US, and by that time, it was already dated compared to all its rivals. This set the tone for the Outlander going forward.

2016-2018 Outlander 3rd Gen Facelift Front Changes

For two years, the Outlander's crossover design was nondescript and generic. As you can see on these front images, when Mitsubishi redesigned the entire front end with its Dynamic Shield design language, the headlights received a new angular design with a strip of daytime running lights in their lower edge 1, along with a stylish new grille comprising two thick chrome slats and a blacked-out center bumper underneath it 2. It is framed by bold C-shaped chrome slashes swooping in toward the center underneath each headlight before diving down the bumper, separating the black inner section from the body-color outer sections. The chrome strips then curve outward again to terminate underneath the new fog-light housings 3. Finishing off the look is a satin-aluminum-look lower front lip spoiler 4.

2019-2020 Outlander 3rd Gen Facelift Front Changes

For 2019, the front-end received some minor tweaks, with the two thick chrome grille slats being slimmed down and horizontally centered in the grille in line with the three-diamond logo, with black mesh above and below them 1. A new, taller lower air dam with a chrome frame and slots at either end is used 2. The headlights are subtly tweaked and their lenses rearranged 3.

2016-2018 Outlander 3rd Gen Facelift Rear Changes

Mitsubishi dropped the outdated rear light clusters for 2016. To save some money, the tailgate pressing and the outlines of the body-mounted taillamps are the same, but the light units themselves are completely overhauled and now all-red instead of all-white 1. The trim panel below the rear window is replaced with a brand-new one containing larger and more angular tailgate-mounted taillight units and an arch-shaped chrome trim piece over the Mitsubishi logo 2. The frumpy old bumper is replaced by a new one that places the backup lights and rear reflectors within the black lower section in upright slots on either side. By reducing the body-color rear bumper area, the bumper looks less heavy and bulbous, and far more dynamic 3. While the car received no off-roading enhancements, the 2016 facelift at least made it seem like it could get the job done. For the 2019 refresh, the rear is left alone entirely.

2016-2018/ 2019-2020 Outlander 3rd Gen Facelifts Side Changes

Even in profile, the changes to the 2016 Outlander's front and rear ends are clearly noticeable, especially the bold new headlights that sweep upward a lot further into the front fenders. Body-side moldings attached to the lower doors and sitting just above the rocker panels grow thicker toward the rear and now contain a contrasting satin-silver strip, doing much to break up the flat, slab-sided look of the old car 1. Mitsubishi added several new alloy wheel designs throughout the years to keep it fresh 2. With the 2019 facelift, Mitsubishi added 18-inch alloys as standard across the range 2.

2016-2018/ 2019-2020 Outlander 3rd Gen Facelifts Interior Changes

The Outlander's interior has remained consistent. While the overall look stayed the same, Mitsubishi continued to add new tech as it became available, as well as fresh colors and material choices. The 2016 facelift has a slightly restyled steering wheel too 1. The basic layout with the screen at the top, the climate controls in the middle, and storage space below that has remained throughout the Outlander's life. The Outlander PHEV comes with a few unique interior features, including a model-specific static shifter.

Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain

Mitsubishi's 3rd-generation Outlander is available in three flavors, including two gas options and a plug-in hybrid. PHEV and NA 2.4-liter models can tow 1,500 lbs, while the larger 3.0-liter V6 can manage 3,000 lbs. The 4B12 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder is the most common engine, and it is the most affordable for buyers on a budget. This particular engine was carried over from the 2nd-generation model, which means it felt outdated right from the start. The 2.4 produces 166 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and it sends the power to either an FWD or AWD system via a CVT transmission.

The most powerful engine available is a 6B31 3.0-liter V6, producing 224 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. These figures aren't exactly explosive, and that's because it was also carried over from the 2nd generation model. This particular engine is limited to the top-tier GT specification and comes standard with a traditional six-speed automatic transmission and AWD.

Mitsubishi added the 2018 PHEV to the range, and this turned out to be the Outlander's saving grace. It finally gave the Outlander reasons to exist, as no other manufacturer was selling a plug-in hybrid in the segment. You could get a standard non-plug-in hybrid, but the Outlander sets itself apart by offering 22 miles of electric range. If your daily commute is less than that, you can save a bundle in fuel costs. The PHEV powertrain consists of a 4B11 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine paired with two 60-kW electric motors. It's mated to a CVT transmission and comes standard with AWD.

2.4-liter Inline-Four 4B12
166 hp | 162 lb-ft
Horsepower
166 hp
Torque
162 lb-ft
Transmission
CVT

The base 2.4-liter engine is mostly underwhelming; the Outlander would have benefited from the smaller 2.0-liter turbocharged version of this engine as used in the now-defunct Mitsubishi Lancer, which produced 237 hp in even its most conservative state of tune. The 4B engine family started life in 2005 as a joint-venture "World Engine" project with Chrysler and Hyundai and the result of using the 166-hp 2.4-liter derivative is performance that is below par compared to competitors. The main problem is the CVT transmission which is meant to improve fuel consumption. As CVT transmissions tend to work best when coupled with an engine that delivers lots of torque low down in the rev range. It's not particularly effective in this application - the 2.4 engine only delivers maximum power at 6,000 rpm and peak torque at 4,200 rpm.

When it comes to this engine, there are a few things to note. It's a generally robust engine that will last for ages and it has a chain drive for the double overhead camshafts that should require no maintenance if you frequently change the oil. Fueling happens via a traditional multi-point injection system too, so there is no harmful carbon buildup on the backs of the intake valves as in the case of some modern direct-injection engines. However, the sluggish CVT requires you to pin the throttle to make any sort of reasonable progress, which results in an unnatural and annoying transmission whine. Third, make peace with the fact that you're not going anywhere fast, as letting off the accelerator and plodding along sedately is the only way to avoid the gearbox whine.

3.0-liter V6 6B31
224 hp | 215 lb-ft
Horsepower
224 hp
Torque
215 lb-ft
Transmission
Six-speed automatic transmission

The V6 Outlander is by far the most pleasing to drive. While it's still not considered brisk, at least it's not annoying. It's an old-school naturally aspirated V6 engine mated to an equally old-school six-speed automatic gearbox, and that's a recipe that works. It's a thirsty engine, however, but the same is true of most crossovers with a large naturally aspirated engine. This engine uses a cambelt that has to be replaced every 105,000 miles.

Unfortunately, the V6 is limited to the top-tier GT trim. It comes standard with AWD and all the luxury goodies, which pushes the price up quite a bit, over $30,000. The GT is also the only Outlander with a usable tow rating of 3,000 lbs. Thanks to depreciation, the 3.0-liter V6 is now more attractive than ever.

2.0-liter Inline-Four Gas Engine 4B11
117 hp | 137 lb-ft
Horsepower
117 hp
Torque
137 lb-ft
Transmission
CVT automatic
  • Electric motors: Two permanent synchronous electric motors
  • Horsepower: 80 hp (front wheels) + 80 hp (rear wheels)
  • Torque: 101 lb-ft (front wheels) + 144 lb-ft (rear wheels)
  • Engine + electric motors hybrid system output: 197 hp

The PHEV was revolutionary when it was first introduced in 2018, and by today's standards it still holds up well. It has two 60-kW (80-hp) motors - one at the front and one powering the rear wheels - powered by a 12-kWh battery pack, good for 22 miles of EV driving - later improved to 24 miles. You can charge the battery overnight from a standard household outlet. While this model is claimed to be AWD, it works differently than the other models. You still have an ICE engine under the hood, mated to a CVT transmission. The rear wheels are powered by one of the electric motors, mated to a single-speed direct-drive unit. There isn't a mechanical link between the two axles.

In EV mode, the Outlander PHEV can hit 83 mph, which is perfectly adequate. As a hybrid, it's on the rough side. The system doesn't play together as well as it does in a Toyota hybrid, but the main selling point is the impressive fuel economy and the electric-only range. It's important to remember that due to the placement of the batteries, Mitsubishi had to remove the third-row seats: all PHEV models are five-seaters only.

2014-2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Real MPG

All models perform worse than the EPA-estimated figures in real-world scenarios. The EPA figures would only be possible if you had the patience to drive the CVT the way it was intended to be driven. In other words, slow acceleration off the line, and never using more than a quarter throttle. Most drivers wouldn't be satisfied with this sluggish drive, however.

In PHEV models, the Outlander's MPG rating falls very rapidly once the battery is depleted. Once you've used up those 24 miles, it reverts back to being a gas-guzzling crossover. Unfortunately, the EPA does not have customer feedback for the V6 model, likely due to it not being a popular option.

EPA MPGREAL WORLD MPG *
2.4 CVT auto 2WD25/30/2721.5-26.4-28
2.4 CVT auto AWD24/29/2622.4-29.4-33.4
3.0 V6 six-speed auto AWD20/27/2324.8
PHEV CVT auto AWD74 MPGe / 26 MPG59.7-64 MPGe / 24.7 MPG

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.

Safety

Even though the Outlander launched without most of the driver assistance systems we take for granted these days, it is a safe purchase. Structurally, it's a strong car and the NHTSA gave it an overall rating of five stars. It also received five stars in the side impact test, and four stars in the rest of the evaluations. Keep in mind that the active safety measures improved over the years as Mitsubishi started adding new tech.

From launch, all Outlanders came with seven airbags (including a driver's knee airbag), ABS, stability control, and tire-pressure monitoring. Driver-assistance features such as frontal collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning cost extra. The SE/GT spec adds a backup camera. From 2018, the backup camera became standard.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

Overall Rating::
(5/5)
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating::
(4/5)
Side Crash Rating::
(5/5)
Rollover Rating::
(4/5)

3rd Generation Mitsubishi Outlander Trims

The Outlander has an easy-to-understand trim structure. For the first two years that it was on sale, only three trims were available: ES, SE, and GT. As part of the 2016 facelift, Mitsubishi added the SEL trim. In 2018, the LE was introduced and it proved to be the most popular trim during the 3rd gen's final few years. The SP was a one-year-only special edition, while the GT served as the top trim from 2014 to 2020.

Trim-specific changes are outlined in the sections below and mostly, the next trim has everything the previous one has, plus more, as indicated. Some changes affected the entire range and to this end, 2016 brought the fresh looks and LED daytime running lights to all models, as well as a second row that folds more easily. For 2017, a backup camera is made standard across the board. New range-wide options include a surround-view camera, auto high beams, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a heated steering wheel. With smartphone integration optional from 2017, the built-in navigation is no longer offered, as Mitsubishi realized most owners would probably use smartphone-based navigation mirrored on the vehicle's infotainment screen instead. Along with the standardization of the seven-inch touchscreen, 2018 sees standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well.

Besides the mild facelift, 2019 Outlanders gain illumination for the window switches, redesigned front seats, rear ventilation vents, an electronic parking brake across the board, suspension tweaks to improve ride quality, and better sound insulation. At the same time, the spare wheel was dropped in favor of a tire-repair kit and interior trim quality was improved. 2020 Outlanders have an improved AWD system with yaw control and Normal, Snow, Lock, and AWD Eco driving modes. The optional Rockford Fosgate disappeared from the 2020 lineup in favor of a Mitsubishi-branded "Power Sound System".

ES
2014-2020
Engine
2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmission
CVT
Drivetrain
FWD and optional AWD

The ES is essentially a rental spec offering nothing but the basic necessities, which include halogen headlights, fog lights, 16-inch steel wheels, heated side mirrors, rear privacy glass, power locks and windows, cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, cruise control, a manually tilting/telescoping steering column, a 60/40-split sliding/reclining second row, a 50/50-split third row, and a radio/CD player with six speakers. The 2015 model gets the SE's Fuse Hands-Free Link System voice commands with Bluetooth and a USB port, new cloth upholstery with contrast stitching, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter knob. The 2016 ES has 18-inch alloys to replace the 16-inch steel wheels of before. The 2017 ES has an infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen and finally has access to AWD, while the 2018 ES has the same seven-inch touchscreen used on the rest of the 2018 lineup.

SE
2014-2020
Engine
2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmission
CVT
Drivetrain
FWD and optional AWD

During the first two years on sale, the SE proved to be the most popular. It's still affordable but includes more niceties, such as 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity with Fuse Hand-Free Link System voice commands, a backup camera, and an infotainment system with a six-inch touchscreen, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio, and an upgraded audio system. For 2015, the upholstery is a new cloth/leatherette blend. For 2017, the size of the touchscreen goes up to seven inches, for 2019, rear USB ports are added, and for 2020, the SE has forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and lane-departure warning, as well as an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.

SEL
2016-2020
Engine
2.4-liter four-cylinder / 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid
Transmission
CVT
Drivetrain
FWD and optional AWD

The SEL was introduced along with the 2016 facelift. It's yet another affordable model with more nice-to-have features than the SE, like black roof rails, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and gloss-black interior trim. More importantly, it has access to a lot more packages than the base trims. This includes the SEL Premium, Advanced Safety, and Touring packages, adding all manner of extras such as a power liftgate, driver-assistance features, upgraded infotainment, navigation, and premium audio systems. With the advent of available smartphone mirroring for 2017, the navigation falls away. The 2018 SEL gains a remote power tailgate, lane-change assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, as well as an alternative 2.0-liter plug-in hybrid powertrain option for a price premium of over $8,000 when it was new. The 2019 SEL gets USB ports in the rear.

LE
2018-2020
Engine
2.4-liter four-cylinder/PHEV
Transmission
CVT
Drivetrain
FWD and optional AWD

The LE was another late introduction, meant to keep the Outlander relevant, slotting in between the SE and SEL. This tactic worked, as it quickly became the most popular Outlander model, available with the ICE and PHEV powertrains. It comes as standard with everything the SE has, plus blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a sunroof, a black headliner, synthetic suede seats, an eight-speaker sound system, black roof rails, and black chrome grille accents, among other blacked-out exterior styling features.

SP
2020
Engine
2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmission
CVT
Drivetrain
FWD and optional AWD

The SP was only available for one year as a limited edition. Essentially, it's a design package based on the LE. It comes with a black hood badge, black door handle covers, 18-inch black alloy wheels, and model-specific interior touches, like faux-suede inserts on the seats.

GT
2014-2020
Engine
3.0-liter V6 / 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid
Transmission
Six-speed automatic transmission / CVT
Drivetrain
AWD

The GT served as the top-tier model from the beginning to the end and the normal internal combustion-engine model gets the V6 engine, AWD, and six-speed automatic transmission as standard; the 2018+ hybrid receives the 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain. The 2014 model comes with all the goodies the SE has, plus rain-sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlights, woodgrain trim, satellite radio, paddle shifters, velour/leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and rear parking sensors. The 2015 GT gets cloth/leatherette upholstery. The 2016 GT has some of the SEL's Premium and Touring packages' as standard, including a power liftgate, sunroof, nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, and satellite radio, but not the navigation and advanced driver-assistance features. The 2018 GT gains a standard surround-view camera and a heated steering wheel, as well as a 2.0-liter plug-in hybrid option. Rear-seat USB ports are standard on the 2019 GT and adaptive cruise control on the 2020 GT.

Third Generation Mitsubishi Outlander Features (2020)

ESSESELLEGT
Back-Up CameraSSSSS
Bluetooth ConnectionSSSSS
Leather SeatsN/AN/ASSS
Apple CarPlay (Only Post-Facelift)SSSSS
Keyless EntrySSSSS
Keyless StartN/ASSSS
HD RadioN/AN/ASSS
Alloy WheelsN/ASSSS
SunroofN/AN/AN/AN/AS

Interior, Trim, And Practicality

The Outlander is available in five and seven-seat configurations. The PHEV is limited to five seats due to the battery placement. Headroom and legroom are plentiful in the first and second rows, but the Outlander's third row is only suitable for small kids. It only has 28.2 inches of legroom and 35.7 inches of headroom. These seats are best left folded flat, and are only to be used on odd occasions when you need to transport six people over a short distance.

In-car storage is quite good. All three rows get cupholders, while the second and first row benefit from large door pockets. The center console also has ample space for phones, not to mention the large storage space hidden underneath the front armrest. With all three rows in place, the ICE Outlander has 10.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity. It's usable, but nothing special. Fold the third row flat and you get 34.2 cubes to work with. That's enough for a family of five for a weekend away from home. The PHEV's battery placement eats into the cargo capacity, dropping the above figure down to 30.4 cubes. Still, it's an ample amount of space for a family of five.

TrimESSESELLESPGT
Black Premium ClothSN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Black/Beige Premium ClothN/ASN/AN/AN/AN/A
Black/Beige LeatherN/AN/ASSN/AS
Black Cloth with suede insertsN/AN/AN/AN/ASN/A

3rd-Gen Outlander Maintenance and Cost

Mitsubishi hasn't done particularly well in the last decade: The dealer count has dropped down to 300, though there are always independent specialists you can rely on. The Outlander is also built in Japan, so you might have to wait for specialty parts that aren't readily available. Having said that, the Outlander is generally a robust car with reliable engines. The drivetrain is also covered by a ten-year/100,000 warranty, so the later you buy the more time you get coverage directly from Mitsubishi.

The Mitsubishi dealership network is geared for preventative maintenance. Service intervals might seem short, but this is generally to prevent the cars from breaking down. A basic oil change, oil filter replacement, and tire rotation are advised every 7,500 miles. If you frequently drive on muddy, salt-sprayed, dusty, or rough roads, or you operate your vehicle on short trips in freezing temperatures, or it idles for prolonged periods, Mitsubishi recommends that you half that distance and replace the oil every 3,750 miles. Every 15,000 miles, Mitsubishi will inspect the brake hoses and driveshaft boots and replace the cabin air filter. You can expect to pay around $200 for these services.

Every 30,000 miles all of the above needs to be done, plus the car will receive a new engine air filter. The car will also go through a thorough inspection, including looking at the brakes, suspension, coolant hoses, and the entire exhaust system. A more comprehensive service like this usually costs around $500. If you require coolant changes or any other sort of labor-intensive service, that price can quickly double. Mitsubishi replaces the CVT's transmission fluid every 30,000 miles but only under severe operating conditions. We would do it every 30,000 miles anyway, given these sometimes-delicate transmissions' propensity to develop problems if neglected. Mitsubishi recommends that the brake fluid is replaced every 45,000 miles. The oil in the transfer case should be replaced every 60,000 miles.

At 105,000 miles, a new set of spark plugs are due and the 6B31 V6 engine requires a new timing belt. Due to the labor involved with changing the timing belt, a service like this can cost around $3,000, though an independent service center should be able to do it for much cheaper. The PHEV follows the same maintenance procedures as the other ICE models, though its electric motors require little to no maintenance and its 4B11 2.0-liter engine requires no cambelt replacement, as it uses a chain, just like the 4B12 2.4-liter engine. Mitsubishi replaces the coolant every 120,000 miles.

3rd Generation Outlander Basic Service

Engine Oil Change Including Filter

Gas engines: 4.6L (4.9 quarts) for 2.0 PHEV and 2.4; and 4.3L (4.5 quarts) for V6

Recommended oil viscosity: 0W-20

How often to change: 7,500 miles

Average price: Around $58-$62

Sparkplugs

2.0 PHEV

Part code: 1822A154

Average price: $182 for four

2.4

Part code: 1822A088

Average price: $140 for four

3.0 V6

Part code: 1822A067

Average price: $229 for six

Air Filter

2.0 PHEV

OEM part number: 1500A537

Average Price: $24

2.4 and 3.0

OEM part number: ?MR968274

Average price: $24

Battery

All models (including the PHEV) use a standard battery that you can order direct from Mitsubishi

Part number: ARE17FB1X01

Replacement: Every 3 to 5 years

Average Price: $245

PHEV high-voltage battery pack

Part number: 9450B075

Replacement: Every 10 years

Average price: $10,000

2014-2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Tires

2014-2015 ES
Tire Size:
215/70-16
All-season:
$504-$742 per set
2016+ ES, plus SE, SEL, LE, GT, and PHEV
Tire Size:
225/55-18
All-season:
$606-$884 for four

Check Before You Buy

There were more 2014-2020 Mitsubishi Outlander recalls than expected, although most of the flaws were minor and Mitsubishi was more than happy to rectify problems. 2014-2020 Outlander problems were most prevalent for the 2015 model year, as is usually the case with new models, and the 2014 model was only recalled for wiper problems.

2015 models were recalled nine times, for an inoperative right rear seat belt buckle, lower control arms that may detach, parking brake actuators that could corrode, and a seat belt lab fastener that wasn't torqued properly, and the wiper issue from the previous model year. More serious recalls include an engine that may stall or overheat, hesitation during acceleration, and fluid leaks from the transmission hose. A liftgate error and doors opening unexpectedly were added for the 2016 model year. Mitsubishi's recalled more than 130,000 Outlanders, Outlander Sports, and Lancers for defective relays. This was part of the Outlander's 2014 electric problems, and in this case, the engine could stall, provide reduced power, or overheat.

For the 2017/2018 models, three of the previously mentioned recalls were issued, along with a recall for a software glitch in the collision avoidance system. Some of the safety systems also stopped working altogether. The 2019 model was recalled for incorrect rim size information on the certification label. The then-new PHEV was recalled for the same reason, along with the inoperative rear seat buckle and an incorrectly assembled rear seat belt unit. There are no known PHEV problems, specifically. The rear seat belt assembly would go on to haunt the Outlander all the way to its final year of existence.

These are the model year error codes you'll most likely encounter when shopping for a 3rd-generation Mitsubishi Outlander:

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Code P1590 is an error code for the CVT transmission. 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Outlanders all had reported CVT transmission problems.
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Code P2096 is a warning for catalytic converter problems.
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Code P0340 is a fault with a generic camshaft position sensor.
  • 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Code C1043 is a code that alerts you that the Active Skid Control system (ASC) is malfunctioning.

The PHEV's 2.0-liter 4B11 is just a smaller version of the mainstay 4B12 2.4-liter engine and both are products of the world engine developed Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai in the early 2000s. It is a modern DOHC design with an aluminum block and cylinder head, a balancer shaft, and a maintenance-free chain drive for the cams. If properly cared for, this engine can do big mileages well in excess of 200,000 miles and has no significant weak spots to worry about; just be sure you replace the oil frequently to prevent premature wear and sludge build-up. The 6B31 V6 engine is also reliable, but a bit more maintenance-intensive, since it has a cambelt that must be replaced every 105,000 miles. The water pump runs off the cambelt and it's always a good idea to replace both the cambelt and water pump at the same time, because a water-pump failure that snaps the cambelt can ruin the engine.

2014-2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Main Problems

The CVT Transmission

Mitsubishi's CVT is problematic to begin with. As mentioned earlier, the EPA-estimated gas mileage figures are nearly impossible to achieve unless driving without any haste. Mitsubishi eventually intervened after owners complained about CVT transmission problems, offering customers a software update to make the car feel a little faster. This wasn't the only flaw, however. The 2015 and 2016 Outlander was recalled for a recalcitrant CVT that hesitates and fails to respond promptly to the driver's right foot, as well as a transmission hose that can leak fluid, disabling the transmission entirely. Most transmission failures seem to be concentrated around the 2016 model year.

Mileage: Transmission failure at around 50,000 miles.

Cost: Up to $8,900 for a replacement gearbox.

How to spot: Mitsubishi made software updates to the CVT transmission and replaced a fluid hose under a recall, so be sure to test drive the vehicle properly to ensure that acceleration is instant and the transmission operates smoothly and without delay or shuddering.

Doors Opening

Mitsubishi's recalled more than 130,000 Outlanders, Outlander Sports, and Lancers for defective relays. This was part of the 2014 electric problems, and in this case, the engine could stall, provide reduced power, or overheat.

Mileage: N/A

Cost: N/A

How to spot: The relays should have been replaced free of charge. Ask for the vehicle's service history and ensure the work was done.

Electric Gremlins

There are various problems reported over the years. While there aren't enough of these problems to call them common, they do have one thing in common. The Outlander has multiple electronic gremlins, including window, AC, SEL rear AC, battery, and Bluetooth problems.

Mileage: N/A

Cost: N/A

How to spot: When you test drive an Outlander, make sure all of the above works. Check if the AC blows cold and whether the Bluetooth system can link with your phone.

Paint Problems

Various complaints centered around paint that chips easily, so make sure the paintwork is in good condition, as any repairs and/or repainting may end up costing a lot, depending on the extent. There were more complaints on 2014-2016 models.

Mileage: 10,000-40,000 miles on average.

Cost: Depends on the extent of the damage.

How to spot: Check the paint for peeling and chipping.

Less Common Problems

We came across a few other problems, but in cases where less than five people reported a problem, it didn't make the list above. As an example, around five people complained about premature brake wear. These all had one thing in common - the powerful 3.0-liter V6. This is hardly the car's fault. Other limited glitches include ignition switch problems, as well as some alternator problems. We also read up on the back bottom tail lights problems, but not many owners complained about it. This particular problem is more prominent in Australia, where a recall was issued. We'd just keep a close eye on the bulbs, just in case they aren't as robust. A few owners complained about an inaccurate speedometer and the odd air-conditioning compressor failed, so check the operation of these items during your test drive.

Which One To Avoid

The Mitsubishi Outlander third generation has a lot to offer, but so do other cars in the segment. It's not particularly good in any one area. You could make an argument for reliability, but Toyota does an even better job with the RAV4. We'd avoid all models apart from the later PHEV, as it at least offers a unique selling point. Early ES models with the ugly steel wheels and low spec levels are also not desirable at all. In terms of problems, the first five model years - 2014 to 2018 - stand out as causing the most problems.

Which One To Buy

The Mitsubishi Outlander 3rd generation isn't a particularly good car. It's acceptable in many ways, but not excellent in any one area. The only model worth going for is the PHEV. When it was new, it cost quite a lot more than the standard ICE car. But thanks to insane depreciation, the 2018 models lost nearly 40% of their value within three years. And considering the ten-year/100,000km warranty, makes for a good buy. A used PHEV is a good prospect, especially since it retails for what most entry-level compact crossovers cost these days. The 24-mile electric range is useful if not that impressive anymore. If you do need an Outlander, this is the one to go for. Just keep in mind that the battery pack is expensive to replace and might not make it much past ten years, so buy the most recent model you can find. By the 2019 model year, the Outlander was virtually problem-free and these are the best years to buy in terms of potential reliability.

3rd Gen Outlander Verdict

The 2014-2020 Mitsubishi Outlander has always felt behind the times. That's because it is. Compared to all of its rivals, the Outlander doesn't have a standout feature. The PHEV is a different story, however. Used prices make it the cheapest plug-in hybrid you can still buy with a huge chunk of battery warranty left. We'd avoid all the other Outlander models, but if you have a short daily commute, the PHEV can save you a ton of money.

Back
To Top