Mitsubishi is trying to push its way onto your shopping list by virtue of the Outlander’s standard third-row seat (rare among small SUVs), its temptingly low $23,845 base price, and some big discounts on the showroom floor. That might make the Outlander seem like a lot of car for the money, but don’t be fooled. This is not a competitive model. (Read the complete Mitsubishi Outlander road test.)

Despite a few updates, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander feels old enough to have been cast in a “Friends” episode. Compared with the best in this class, the Outlander is almost the bottom feeder. (The lowly Jeep Cherokee gets that honor.)

The Outlander now has a slightly improved ride, it’s quieter than it used to be, and it ekes out slightly zippier acceleration and better fuel economy—a competitive 24 mpg.

But the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is reluctant to corner, requiring excessive steering-wheel twirling. And with lots of body lean, it’s one of the clumsiest vehicles we’ve recently tested. The soft suspension’s ride feels initially absorbent, but it can get unsettled to the point of occupants experiencing motion sickness. And the continuously variable transmission amplifies the engine’s nasty howl to that of a Soundgarden reunion.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

The touted third-row seat inside the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is okay in a pinch, but it’s so tiny that you shouldn’t count on it for everyday use. It’s also odd that a vehicle with a third-row seat lacks A/C vents for rear passengers. The second-row bench is rather roomy, but the front seats didn’t earn raves and don’t offer lumbar adjustments. As with most other small SUVs, getting in and out of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outland eris a breeze.

The interior is dated, plasticky, and crude—with the exception of the modern-feeling infotainment system.

The Outlander’s crash tests earned it a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Forward-collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning are optional on the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.

These cars sell in so few numbers that we don’t have sufficient data to predict their reliability; Mitsubishis generally hold up well.

But even factoring in the expected big discounts, we’d rather have a good used SUV. And if you need a third-row seat in the small-SUV class, you’d be better off with a Nissan Rogue than with the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander interior

HIGHS: Standard third-row seat, access, visibility, crashtest
results
LOWS: Agility, acceleration, unsettled ride, engine noise, no A/C vents for rear passengers
POWERTRAIN: 166-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cyl.; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 24 mpg
PRICE: $23,845-$31,845

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander backseat

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the February 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.