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Mitsubishi, like many other Japanese automakers, is known for making great cars. However, if you’re shopping for an SUV with third-row seating, then you should think before buying a Mitsubishi. That’s because the Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the worst SUVs with third-row seating. So what are the better options?

The Mitsubishi Outlander’s third-row seats aren’t good

Generally speaking, if you’re in the market for an SUV with third-row seats, it’s because you need those extra seats. And if an SUV doesn’t quite deliver on that, then it just isn’t that good. That’s exactly the main problem with the Outlander. In fact, according to Consumer Reports’ road test of the Outlander, its third-row seats are simply not “intended for adults.” 

Consumer Reports quotes the Outlander’s owner’s manual and says that the people who are sitting in the third-row seats have to be shorter than 5 foot 3 inches. There are some adults who are shorter than that, but by and large, Mitsubishi is saying that the Outlander’s third-row seats are intended for kids. 

As a result, the Outlander’s third-row seats are cramped, but that’s not its only issue. Consumer Reports said that actually getting to the third-row seats is a chore as well. Consumer Reports said that access to the Outlander’s third-row seats is “tight.” On top of that, despite having third-row seats, there aren’t any A/C vents on the third row itself. This means that the third-row passengers will generally be uncomfortable in almost every way possible. 

The Mitsubishi Outlander’s other problems

Something that Consumer Reports didn’t like about the Outlander, other than its third-row seats, was its engine. The Outlander’s standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates 166-hp. This engine made the Outlander feel sluggish on the road. Consumer Reports says that the Outlander’s engine was not only underpowered, but it was also very noisy. 

On top of that, the Outlander doesn’t really handle well and Consumer Reports gave it a 2 out of 5 for emergency handling. The Outlander also didn’t score well in the comfort category, as Consumer Reports largely gave it a 3 out of 5 for ride and seat comfort.

Additionally, despite being a small SUV, the Outlander’s engine doesn’t deliver a great fuel economy. Consumer Reports said that the Outlander gets 17 MPG in the city, 30 MPG on highways, for a combined 24 MPG. Overall, as a result of all of these issues, Consumer Reports doesn’t even recommend buying the Outlander.

Indeed, Consumer Reports gave the Outlander an overall score of 54 out of 100, making it one of the worst SUVs in its segment.

Some better alternatives 

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Like Consumer Reports said, the Outlander is a small SUV with third-row seating, which is rare in America. However, it’s not the only small SUV with third-row seating. The VW Tiguan is a well-liked small-SUV that has third-row seating and Consumer Reports did recommend the Tiguan over the Outlander. Consumer Reports gave the Tiguan an overall score of 61 out of 100.

Another Consumer Reports recommendation is the Nissan Rogue, which is the best-selling car in New York. The Rogue is the 6th best small SUV, according to Consumer Reports, and it has an overall score of 75 out of 100. Both of those small SUVs have third-row seats and both are also in the same price range as the Outlander is, at about $25,000 to start.

However, if small SUVs are too small, then there are larger SUVs that have third-row seating. Consumer Reports recommends the new Hyundai Palisade in particular. The Palisade is much larger, roomier, and more decked out in features than the Outlander is. That said, the Palisade is also more expensive, as it starts at about $32,000.