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Mitsubishi Scored the Lowest in an Important Category From Consumer Reports

With 2020 behind us, 2021 is set to deliver some long-anticipated developments from major car brands. With excitement already building for the next great models, some unforeseen surprises have come as drivers get to try out their new recently available 2021 models. Consumer Reports recently released annual report card scores brands based on a variety of factors. While some brands like Honda and BMW gained unexpected ground in this year’s report, Mitsubishi received abysmal rankings. Why did Mitsubishi receive such a poor score, and does it mean to avoid the brand?

How does Consumer Reports calculate its scores?

For Consumer Reports‘ annual report card, the lineup of an entire brand is tested and then the brand receives an overall aggregate score based on all its vehicle offerings from that year. Consumer Reports offers rankings in predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, road test, and safety which are then compiled into an overall score from which all brands are ranked. While Mitsubishi was actually up to 30th out of 32 in its overall score from its 2020 ranking of dead last, it was the road test portion that put an ugly black eye on the brand’s models from this year.

The road test portion of the report combines the results of over 50 tests and evaluations, rating nearly every aspect of the car’s functionality on the road. While Mitsubishi’s safety and reliability tests were nothing to brag about, this road test is what seriously brought down the company’s rating.

How bad was the road test score?

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Mitsubishi received a road test score of 48/100. For context, the next lowest of the brands listed was Jeep with 58/100. Of the three Mitsubishi models tested, none of them received a recommendation from Consumer Reports, although Genesis, Acura, Jaguar, Lincoln, Land Rover, and Alfa Romeo also all received no recommended models this year.

This rating scored Mitsubishi poorly in a number of metrics, but none of its models fared worse than the 2021 Mirage. Its test was a terrible showing. The vehicle received a 2/5 in acceleration, taking 12.1 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. Comments on the tests called the transmission and brakes “unresponsive,” and the interior was found to be cheaply designed and uncomfortable. Even the headlights were rated poorly.

Mitsubishi’s other models, the Outlander and the Eclipse scored arguably better, but not well enough to raise the brand’s road test out of the bottom position. With both the Outlander and Eclipse scoring especially low on safety and road test portions, none of the three offerings received a recommendation from Consumer Reports.

This low rating comes as bad news for Mitsubishi, which has had poor ratings in recent years and has come under fire recently for manufacturing incredibly dangerous fleet vehicles.

Is Mitsubishi a bad choice?

Mitsubishi is a manufacturer with a long history of producing some excellent cars, but like any auto manufacturer, it has some misses. While the Consumer Reports scores might have some car buyers wondering if Mitsubishi is a bad purchase this year, what constitutes a good value is more complex than just a ranking from one publication.

Though Consumer Reports factors in cost and value as part of its “owner satisfaction” rating, for many people, a Mitsubishi car is a quality purchase for the cost compared to other brands. While the Mirage did horribly on Consumer Reports’ reliability rating, a car buyer on a budget who doesn’t push their vehicle too hard may feel with an MSRP under $15,000 and the model’s excellent fuel economy of 43 highway MPG are worth compromising for.

What’s the next move for Mitsubishi?

Mitsubishi has been at or near the bottom of Consumer Reports’ list for years, and many car enthusiasts are beginning to wonder whether Mitsubishi’s best days are behind it. Founded in 1870, Mitsubishi desperately needs a win if it is to preserve its legacy as an industry-leading Japanese auto manufacturer. 

With prospects like the Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid the company showed off last year in Paris and the announcement of an under $18,000 electric vehicle, all eyes are on Mitsubishi to see if it can turn its slump around.