The small-SUV class is one of the most competitive automotive market segments, with several top models scoring within but a few points of each other in our tests. In this environment, this revised version of Mitsubishi's Outlander needed to be a home run to help it stand out to car buyers. Instead it's a rather mediocre model that rates near the bottom of the category.
The Outlander's biggest distinction is its standard third-row seat. Though it's tight and designed only for kids, the feature made it one of only two small SUVs that can carry up to seven people at the time. Another plus is the strong air-conditioning system, which proved particularly effective at chilling the cabin, even during a hot, humid heat wave.
But those positives aren't enough to offset the vehicle's many shortcomings. Compared with the previous Outlander, which was sporty and agile, this retooled model handles clumsily, tending to lumber through corners and feeling like a larger vehicle than it is.