2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

August 2, 2013

Bottom line: The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is a genuinely okay, safe, reliable and reasonably affordable compact crossover-utility vehicle for a young family. “Okay” means you can do better, and possibly for a similar or lower price.

Ride, acceleration and handling: A solid C-plus in all three.

Failing grade: Its third-row seats are flimsy and relatively useless. They are located too close to the rear lift-gate. They get an F.

Body style/layout: This is front-engine, compact crossover-utility vehicle equipped, in base form, with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive, what Mitsubishi’s marketers call “all-wheel control,” is available. There are three trim levels — base ES, mid-grade SE and top-grade GT.

Engines/transmissions: The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE driven for this column came with a standard 2.4-liter, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine with variable valve timing (166 horsepower, 162 pound-feet of torque). The engine is linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission. A 3.3-liter gasoline V-6 (224 horsepower, 215 pound-feet of torque) linked to a six-speed automatic transmission is available.

Capacities: Comfortable seats for five adults. Two small children can be tucked in the third-row rear seats. This column recommends that you not do so. Cargo capacity is 63.6 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 16.6 gallons of gasoline (regular grade is recommended).

Mileage: Averaged 24 miles per gallon on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear); four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; stability and traction control; and side and head air bags.

Recommended optional safety equipment: This column strongly recommends available lane-departure warning and collision-avoidance systems.

Price: The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SE with all-wheel drive starts at $25,795, with a dealer’s invoice price of $24,706. Price as tested is $32,295, including $5,675 in options (onboard navigation with high-definition backup camera, lane-departure warning and collision-avoidance systems, power glass roof, leather-covered seats and other items) and a $825 U.S. port-to-dealer transportation charge.

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