Could this be Mitsubishi's swan song?

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC Review

It's now the shining star in Mitsubishi's lineup

By: Amos Kwon

Web2Carz Editor-In-Chief

Published: February 26th, 2016

Mitsubishi is waning in the states, and it seems like their recent efforts to stay afloat have been noble but not so well-received by the car buying public. Their top-ender Outlander GT S-AWC is their finest offering, as it attempts to do a lot in a very competitive segment. Though it isn't a challenge to make a halfway decent 7-passenger SUV these days, it's certainly a nearly insurmountable task to make a great one. The Outlander GT S-AWC seems to go after the low-hanging fruit by delivering a a big SUV that has come a long way but still has a long way to go (without the luxury of time). But if it's no muss, no fuss you're looking for, along with good dependability and a decent array of features, this could be your affordable big SUV. We took to the roads of Tahoe with the Outlander GT fully loaded to see what it could handle.

  • Exterior: A handsome and original body

    The body of the Outlander GT S-AWC is easily the best thing about the SUV. It sets itself apart with a clean and not overly ornate design that makes good use of the two-bar grille design that's almost Lexus spindle-like. Its proportions are right with overhangs that are the right size. Even though there's a lot of brightwork in the front, it's not overdone.

    • The swept headlights and taillights give it a refined look.
    • SUVs in red don't really light our fire, but the Outlander's Rally Red is a pleasant sight to behold.
    • Its overall design should hold up well over time since its not enslaved to anything particularly trendy like floating roofs or tacky non-functioning fender vents.

  • Interior: Comfortable but dated

    Mitsubishi tried hard to upgrade the Outlander GT's cabin with some success. Overall, it's not a bad place to sit for hours at a time, but the overall look could use a contemporary touch -- especially when it comes to the look of the center console. If you want small handsome touches like wood trim and contrast stitching on the perforated leather seats, you'll be more than satisfied. The third row seats are an afterthought, unfortunately.

    • Seating is comfortable, as we experienced on our five-hour drive to Tahoe with two kids in tow.
    • Updated steering wheel feels good in the hand, and the controls are easy to manage.
    • Rain-sensing wipers, power folding side mirros and tire pressure monitor are nice touches.
    • Flip and fold second-row seats are convenient and easy to use.
    • Too much gloss black cheapens the interior and attracts fingerprints.

  • Driving Impressions: Does slow and steady win the race?

    The Outlander GT S-AWC drives smoothly on road and takes highway cruising speeds pretty well. The ride quality is good, and now that Mitsubishi took the time to make the SUV handle better in the turns, the package is much improved. The gear shifting seems lazy, but thankfully the paddle shifters aid in selecting the right gear when called upon.

    • Once it finally gets to highway speeds, it's comfortable and very quiet. Any attempt at hill climbs is met with lackluster acceleration and awful gear-hunting.
    • Turn-in is good, and body roll is kept to a minimum.
    • The brakes are progressive and easy to modulate during all driving conditions.
    • The locking diff got us out of a sticky spot when going in reverse on a snow-covered incline. Crisis averted.

  • Final Impressions: A respectable SUV that needs work

    We wanted to really like the Outlander GT. It looks handsome. It's outfitted properly with the right features, but the overall execution leaves us wanting more. Mitsu's engineers certainly took the time to make the SUV feel higher in quality, quieter on the road and comfortable for driver and passengers (only as far back as the 2nd row, though). It just needs a more updated interior look and far better and more accessible power, in spite of the fact that it has a V6.

    Mitsubishi just needs to try harder since it's struggling here. The Lancer is gone, and they still have a lot to prove outside of their ability to make a rally car for the street. We'd like to see them succeed, and though the Outlander GT will do just fine for customers wanting affordable utility, it's just not going to blow anyone's socks offf.

  • Specifications & Price

    Engine: 3.0-liter V6

    Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive with locking differential

    Power Output: 224 hp / 215 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy: 20 mpg city / 27 mpg highway

    Base Price: $30,995

    As Tested: $35,195 (including $850 destination and handling)

    Options on our tester: GT Touring Package: Navigation, Forward Collision Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning

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