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Mitsubishi Outlander



  • I am a numbnut. It was listed nowhere, nor was I told that my Outlander XLS does in fact have ABS brakes. I didn't think it was standard, but my boyfriend begs to differ. am I that oblivious? Sorry, I wanted to clarify my previous statement for a better opinion from everyone. Thanks!
  • Has anyone encountered an irritating squeaking noise coming from the rear suspension of the Mitsubishi Outlander? I was told by the dealership that it is a common problem with the 2003 Outlanders and Lancers. They said that it was due to the cold weather in Canada, the rubber bushings get dry up and cause this squeaking to occur. To solve this problem, the bushings have to be replaced. However, this $10 (Canadian) part has been on back ordered for 2 weeks now and I was told that it would take at least a few more weeks for it to arrive
    from Japan.

    My question is: Has anyone out there encountered this problem and if so, do you have a recommendation for an interim solution?

    Thank you in advance.

  • michaellmichaell Posts: 4,300
    Last weekend the auto show was in town. As my wife will be getting a new vehicle later this summer, it was an opportunity to go and see all the potential contenders in one place and compare them. One of the vehicles we saw and were impressed with was the Mitsubishi Outlander; in fact, we liked it enough to stop at a Mitsubishi dealer and take a test drive. This review is my impressions of that test drive. We test-drove the Outlander XLS AWD, white with a gray leather interior and sunroof.


    Well, it certainly is distinctive. The Outlander is meant to compete with the Subaru Outback and Outback Sport, and while none of these cars are going to win any styling or design awards, the Outlander is just plain odd in places. The nose, specifically; I know that it shares design elements with other vehicles in Mitsubishi’s line up, but let me tell you, Jimmy Durante didn’t have a schnoz like that. Once you can get past that (if you can get past that), the rest of the shape is pretty inoffensive. Nothing real ground breaking, just nice, clean lines. The XLS model we drove has the clear tail light treatment that is all the rage these days; the LS trim level has red tail light surrounds. Another difference between the LS and the XLS is that the XLS has darkened rear windows; the LS has just a bit of tinting. The proportions between the upper and lower body, however, does look slightly odd, like the place where torsos and heads are meant to go don’t have enough room, at least when compared to the place where lower parts of the human body are.

    Strangely, my wife, who normally does not like white as a vehicle color (along with red and black) actually did not mind the white of our test vehicle. According to her, there is enough gray colored body cladding on the front and rear bumpers to break up the monotony of the primary color of the car. Other colors available are a bright blue, a darker blue, a moss green, charcoal, silver and burgundy. Interior colors are charcoal or tan, cloth or leather.


    The interior of the Outlander didn’t scream “econobox” to me, which is a good start. Many cars these days have very generic, plastic looking interiors that I’m sure wear like iron but just don’t exude any pizzazz. Like the exterior, the interior is a lot of rehashed ideas, with one or two items that jump out; some good, some not so good.

    The driving position is nice; the drivers’ seat adjusts 10 ways, so it is not too hard to get a comfortable position behind the wheel. The steering wheel only adjusts up and down, but both my wife and I were able to make it work (when you are 5ft 11in and your spouse is 5 ft 3in, that isn’t always as easy as you think). The instrument panel is simple and easy to read, with white-faced gauges that are also quite trendy at the moment. The only real gripe I have is with the stereo, which looks like something from the 80’s. The sound is nice, but it only has a single CD (a 6-CD changer is a dealer installed accessory). Another throwback element is the analog clock (you remember, the kind with hands?), which is in a prominent position right in the middle of the dash. Storage bins are adequate, but if you have smaller children, you might find that there aren’t enough places to put all the small things you find you need.

    The rear seat is not too bad; not limo-like, but not cruel and unusual punishment for the rear seat passengers, either. The rear seats are split 60/40, and fold flat without having to do anything to the bottom cushions. There is a fold down armrest in the rear seat. The space behind the rear seats is larger than one might first expect, with an innovative trick that I would like to see duplicated by other manufacturers: under the rear floor, there is a space for the privacy cover to be stored when it is not being used. Quite slick!

    Driving Impressions

    The test drive was quite short – maybe 10 or 15 minutes total. As my wife will primarily drive the vehicle, I spent only a few of those minutes behind the wheel.

    The Outlander comes with only one engine and transmission choice – a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 160HP, with a 4 speed automatic transmission. Again, this compares to the Outback and Outback Sport, which has a 2.5 liter, 1645HP 4-cylinder. However, the Subaru’s are available with a 5-speed manual transmission as well. In the Outlander, this engine and transmission combine to make an OK amount of thrust. The test drive loop we were taken on was deserted business parks, not the open 2-lane roads and highways that my wife and I normally drive.

    With that being said, it is hard to determine if the car has enough “get out of its own way” power … a longer test drive may be in order. Given the test drive conditions, it wasn’t too bad. Transmission shifts were smooth and unobtrusive. Ride and handling seem to be as good as, if not better than, most of the “cute utes” (RAV4, VUE, Escape/Tribute twins, et al) – the Outlander has a much lower center of gravity, and seems more car-like in these respects. The ground clearance is nice, and the car rides high enough to offer great visibility.

    Final Thoughts

    The test drive really was not long enough to do a thorough evaluation of the car, but if first impressions are anything to go by, the Outlander seemed to do well. My wife was suitably impressed to keep it on her short list, and I have to say that, while I wasn’t overwhelmed, it is a nice little car with a few features that make it good for all weather capability. The Outlander also comes with a decent warranty, which may be an important factor to some folks. Price wise, our test vehicle, which was pretty much fully loaded (ABS is the other option our car had, along with the leather package), came in just under $25,000, which really isn’t too bad considering all you get for the price.
  • chrisbothchrisboth Posts: 493
    Dont pay more than 22.5!
  • michaellmichaell Posts: 4,300
    Thanks for the pricing advice, but that's assuming that we buy the Outlander.

    It is still too early to make a final decision. As I pointed out, the biggest concern that we have is the lack of HP -- 160 may not be enough when one lives at 6000'. Other possibilities include the Saturn VUE (250), the Ford Escape (200) or the Subaru Forester XT (217).

    But, there were some nice qualities about the Outlander as well.
  • cambocambo Posts: 10
    Here is an update after 3000 miles with my 03 outlander.

    I bought a XLS 2wd with sunroof, infinity stereo, leather and abs. The vehicle was a steal with the 2000 dollar rebate and another 500 dollars for being a recent collage graduate. The Outlander is defiantly a step up from my Chevy s10.

    I drove the 4wd and 2wd and found the 2wd has noticeably more power. I live in California and would only need 4wd up in the hills during storms and those days I usually stay at home. I don’t find the acceleration bad at all. My wife’s car is a Mazda protégé5 and the outlander feels just as peppy and a lot quieter. Last week I drove to Reno and was pleasantly surprised at the Outlanders hill climbing ability. Especially going over Donner summit at 7500ft, I could hold 80mph and only remember dropping into 3rd once. The engine seems to have the most power around 3000 rpm. I like the manual mode feature. It helps to use the engine to brake on the long descents by dropping it into 3rd. My mileage has been going up on every fill-up. So far with all city driving I get 21mpg. Last week on my trip to Nevada I got 24.5 mpg. I thought this was great since I drove 75-80 for the whole trip and it was hilly.

    I love the look of the interior. The leather seats and white gauges sure give the vehicle an upscale feel. The heated seats work well on the few cold days we have in California. On the downside the all black interior was *&#@ hot today when the temperature hit 86 degrees. I can’t imagine what it will be like with 100 degree days. The stereo has great bass and will not need upgrading at all. I do think the sunroof is a little small.

    I have 2 issues with the car. One, I have a small rattle coming from the rear when I hit bumps. The second is a slight pull to the right on the freeway. I am going to get this checked out when I get my first oil change.

    I bought a Thule bike rack the fits perfectly on the roof rails. The only problem is I can’t use the wind faring so the rack adds a lot of wind noise.
  • Check to be sure the jack is stowed properly. If it is a little loose it can cause noise. We have an '03 LS that had the first oil change today at 3060. It's my wife's and she likes it more and more as time goes by. She was really talking it up yesterday to the roofer working on our house. They are really nice vehicles and I'm expecting a very good and very long relationship with this one.
  • rnn59rnn59 Posts: 8
    As a follow up to the various gas mileage posts that are here at Edmunds, my experience is this:

    1. Yesterday's April 4th trip from Agawam MA to Salem MA. and back, I calculated 23 miles per gallon which was all highway driving with a 2003 Outlander with AWD.

    2. In town driving I'm getting 20 miles per gallon.

    My other impressions after 11,000 miles on the vehicle are as follows:

    I have had no major problems with it. I do follow the recommended service schedule that is recommended by Mitsubishi. For what ever its worth, I do use Mobile 1 oil in the engine. I changed over to Mobile 1 after 6,000 miles on the engine. I have used Mobile 1 in all of my new cars since it fist came out.

    I like the way the car handles on the road. It's rock solid. On a trip I find the seats to be comfortable.

    The car was purchased from Howser Mitsubishi in Springfield MA. The only problems that I find at that dealership is that the service department is not open in the evenings and on Saturdays. I find that I have to take time off from work to get the car serviced. Another issue that I have with them is that even though you have the first appointment set for 8:00 in the morning, they do not take the car in until an hour later. They always have an excuse for not getting the car in on time as promised. That is my only complaint.
  • beagledogbeagledog Posts: 2
    Did you get any responses? I just bought a new 2003 and I have a severe pull to the left - can't take my off the road at all. I thought it was an alignment problem but when I called service they said the 2003 had a known problem in assembly and I would need to bring the vehicle in for at least a day as they would have to basically tear down the front end!!!!!! Now I'm torn between doing that, not believing them as a way for service to bill the parent, or wondering if I have a lemon. Other than the admittedly big problem I like it. Any advice you can offer woud be great!
  • althai2000althai2000 Posts: 2
    I just bought a new 2004 OutLander LS. I love it. I have one problem. I have about 500 miles on it. I've noticed steering pull to right side. You must keep your hand on steering at all time. I filed a complaint as #118. I will take it to the dealer soon.

    For those who trying to buy this car, please make sure to have a long test drive.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I am friends with the local Mitsu dealer shop foreman. He told me the 03 Outlander did have some problems with steering drift. He mentioned there is a long procedure of checking things in order to fix the drift so I would think the dealer is being truthful to you, beagledog. It might need to stay there all day if they end up having to try several things to fix the problem. Your car may need just a simple wheel alignment or cross rotation of the front tires. I would give them a chance to fix it before worrying about having a lemon. Good luck! I think the Outlander is the nicest small SUV out there.
  • beagledogbeagledog Posts: 2
    I appreciate the information Tonge! I will definitely take it into the dealer now!
  • pcs15394pcs15394 Posts: 27
    My 03 Outlander also drifts to the left and you definitely cannot relax your grip while driving it. My wife complains that the steering is very loose and sensitive. I agree with her and am planning on taking to the dealer. Steering was always very sensitive but not quite as "loose" as it currently is.
  • I got Outlander04 that having abot 900 miles. My car was pulling to the left side of the road. Mitsu tech. balanced all wheels and did alignment this week. He did adjust the steering also. According to alignment report, it was off spec.

    It is now running a lot better.

    For those who has Outlander, you may need to check if your car is pulling to the left.

    Good luck to you all. Thank you for this dicussion group, it really helps me out
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    S&P downgrades Mitsubishi (The Australian)

    "The agency downgraded Japan's Mitsubishi Motors despite its announcement of additional cost-cutting plans, saying the latest series of vehicle defects called into question the company's viability."

    Steve, Host
  • jjpeterjjpeter Posts: 230
    Has anyone investigated the availibility of an after market K&N cone filter type kit for this vehicle? I have replaced the stock airbox on two of my vehicles and it makes a remarkable different in throttle response and low end punch. Its like running a mile trying to breath through a drinking straw, and then suddenly breathing normally.

    Might help with fuel economy also, because you get more performance with less throttle play.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Guess not Jjpeter - try the K&N Air Filters, bolt-on power? discussion.

    In the news, Mitsubishi boss says automaker must reconnect with U.S. consumers (Detroit Free Press)

    Steve, Host
  • cracoviancracovian Posts: 337
    Steve - thanks for the article. No incentives, fewer models and fleet sales, aging and already outdated lineup and they expect to return to profitability next year based on the increased sales volume? Selling what and to whom exactly?

    I'm waiting for the usual mega rebates to kick in at the end of the year though it might be too late to lift the sales.
  • You can now get instantanious and trip gas milage easily and relatively cheap at that. Two of us were checking out a 2000 Kia Sportage with 100,000 miles I am considering buying. We hooked up a Scanguage to the OBD port. It reads out, among other functions, RPM, MPG, MPH and percent load.The 2L engine with Mt under ideal road conditions showed 60mph=39mpg,70mph=36mpg,75mph=34mpg,and 80mph=31mpg. Several observations were averaged to get the mpg figure. Anyway the point being that speed cost in mpg. The guage really shows cost of what seems to be small inputs to the throttle. I highly recommend this relativly inexpensive electronic gadget. See it at . I need to replace a 78 Dodge Slant 6 van with nearly 300,000 or 400,000 miles on it.The Kia Sportage needs about $1,400.00 worth of parts, tires and labor. If I go new it comes to a decision between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Mitsubishi Outlander simply because they have the better EPA milage ratings. I purchasing a SUV simply for the comfort of the seating position as I am 66 years old and have some arthritis. My only reservation on the Outlander is its lack of a manual transmission. Are they good for 200,000 miles given proper care? How expensive are repairs to it? Are the brake problems reported due to lack of engine compression braking caused by AT upshifting at worst possible moment? Can an old MT guy learn to live with this AT? I would like to hear from dedicated manual gear shifters on how well they like this AT. As it stands now I will most likly get the Santa Fe simply because of the 5 speed trans.Thanks for any and all comments. This is a very informative site.
This discussion has been closed.