2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Is Low-Cost Family Goodness

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander is a three-row, small-midsize crossover. This means it’s smaller than most family sport utilities and still seats more than five. The Outlander is also one of the cheapest options on the dealer’s lot, making it attractive to the very budget minded. We give it a “C,” which mirrors similar scores at CarNewsCafe and iSeeCars.

  • Vehicle: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Number of Seats: 7
  • XM Pref: The Joint
  • Starting/Base MSRP: $23,945
  • Our Rating: [C]
  • City/Highway MPG: 25/30
  • Kids Like It?: Yes
  • Best For: ¬†Suburban

The 2018 Outlander¬†(not to be confused with the smaller Outlander Sport) is very low cost and covers most of the bases a family machine should. It’s roomy, fuel efficient, extremely safe, and not totally ugly. Those are high points. On the low side, it’s not necessarily pretty either and it is a pretty boring drive. The GT model, which adds a bigger engine, isn’t worth the high upgrade cost to get it as it adds little to the mix.

We do note that our low-ish rating of the Outlander comes with a big caveat: if you are looking for a family-sized and family-ready vehicle and don’t have much to spend, this is definitely your ticket. Buyers who don’t expect to be coddled and have the fanciest will be well-served by the 2018 Outlander.

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander comes in five trim models with either a four-cylinder or (in the GT) a six-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive (called “All-Wheel Control”) is optional.

How Useful Is the Mitsubishi Outlander As a Family Hauler?

In the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander, there’s more room than might be expected of a vehicle this size. Most of it is in the front and second rows, with the third row being for kids-only (and seating two). Three across in the second row is also doable if they aren’t big people or kids in large child safety seats.

The interior of the Outlander isn’t memorable or stylish, but it’s very functional. The materials used are of good quality, though an air of cheapness does creep in once in a while. There isn’t much in the way of contrast in colors or textures in the lower trims, but in the SEL and GT trim points, that changes as faux wood and other items get added.

Probably the best point about the 2018 Outlander is in its capability. Safety scores are very high for this crossover and its ability to weather almost any storm with dogged confidence (thanks to its superb AWC system) is better than anything we’ve seen elsewhere. Our initial drive of the Outlander was during the worst part of Wyoming’s winter and it never hesitated or lost its cool.

Cargo space in the Mitsubishi Outlander is pretty good and thanks to a wide opening and flat floor, it’s easy to access. With the third row up, cargo is at 10.3 cubic feet, but folding all of the third and second row seats flat yields 63.3 cubic feet. Note that the seats truly do fold flat. Unusual in today’s market.

All three of our kids were comfortable and happy in the 2018 Outlander as we drove around in daily tasks and took a short road trip for a couple of hours of highway time. This was true of both the LE model and the GT model we drove on separate occasions.

Expected Reliability/Dependability and Value

Most ratings of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander are about average when it comes to reliability expectation. Because the 2018 model is mechanically identical to the past couple of years for the crossover, we can see the longer-term trend being that the Outlander in this generation is roughly average with the segment.

We also note the outstanding warranty that Mitsubishi gives for their vehicles.

Which Version of the 2018 Outlander Would We Buy?

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander comes in five trim packages. The base model (priced above) doesn’t come with much in the way of niceties, but does have more than might be expected of a base level offering. New this year is the LE trim, which sits right in the middle of the trim points and probably offers what most buyers would want out of their Outlander. The high-end GT trim is pretty spendy compared to the base model.

As such, we’d recommend shopping the SE or LE models for the best value. The SE adds fog lights, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seating, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as satellite radio for the infotainment. The LE adds to that with blacked exterior trim points (including the roof rails) and the safety of blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Those who want a little more out of their purchase can look at the SEL, which adds more tech and convenience and access to upper-level options not available in the lower trim points. Shop this trim closely with the SE if that’s in your budget.

Radio Setting and Kid Approvals

The Outlander seems to really like Reggae. Thus the station of choice for this rig is The Joint on SiriusXM 42. The kids liked bumping to the beat while mostly illegible Jamaican ramblings were chanted. Dabbing ensued.

A Note on Our Process: Reviews here are based on Aaron’s reviews found around the Web. The goal here is to forego the usual “horsepower and capability” jargon of most automotive reviews and instead focus on how well the vehicle is as a regular family hauler for a single dad. Links to full, formal reviews are included in this review in order to provide more information should you wish to have it.