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There is no such thing as the ideal or perfect vehicle. Nor do perfect vehicle reviews exist. The purpose of reviews, in general, is for auto experts to experience new cars first and report on likes and dislikes. Consumers can then make educated decisions about their purchases. It’s not uncommon to see varying descriptions, either. So when the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander started getting poor reviews, it surprised many to learn it also won one of Kelley Blue Book’s most notable awards.

The Mitsubishi Outlander didn’t get the best reviews from the experts

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander has plenty to offer, including the industry-standard tech, driver aids, and cargo capacity. But many of the first rounds of reviews from the experts weren’t so favorable.

And while they did often point out these positive aspects, each pro seemed to be met with a con. The Car and Driver experts weren’t impressed with the Outlander’s styling and shared the interior felt cheap. They also say the infotainment is outdated, and the third-row seating is cramped for passengers.

Edmunds cites the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander’s base, four-cylinder engine is noisy and slow. They, too, felt the third-row offers a tight fit. In many other reviews, the overall consensus from the experts points consumers to find a better vehicle among the competition.

How Kelley Blue Book designates its awards

Kelley Blue Book designates various awards based on actual consumer ownership data. They have tools, including their Fair Purchase Price mechanism, that helps them evaluate the ownership experiences.

One of the most reliable categories in which they award top vehicle models is the 5-Year Cost to Own Award. In this segment, the experts compile information based on purchase prices, insurance premiums, fuel economy, and interest rates. Those vehicles offering the most value with these data points in mind, earn the awards.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander becomes an award-winner

Despite the bland reviews by the experts, the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander is the 5-Year Cost to Own Award from KBB, and for the second year in a row. For consumers, this is huge. It means if you’re in the market for a midsize, third-row SUV that is inexpensive to operate and own, the Outlander beats all others in its class.

This 2020 crossover has a moderately low range of MSRP, many times thousands of dollars less than its competitors. Considering it offers AWD, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, plenty of driver assistance features, and a variety of trim levels, it’s a lot of vehicle for the money. Its increased seating capacity is often popular with budget-constrained families, as well.

Why the cost of ownership matters to consumers

Budgets are important for car-buyers, and it goes beyond the purchase price. Consumers want a reliable and safe vehicle that is easy on the wallet for gas, insurance, and repairs.

One attractive aspect of the Mitsubishi is the robust warranty coverage. Its four-cylinder engine may not be peppy or high-performance, but it rates 30 mpg on the highway. This means fewer trips to the pump. If fuel efficiency is a primary concern, the Outlander is also available in a plug-in hybrid model, offering a 20-mile range before the gas-powered engine engages.

When it comes time to make your SUV purchasing decision, the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander deserves a look. You’ll want enough room for your passengers and family members. But you’ll also want a safe, reliable, and connected vehicle, too.

The Outlander is a classic example of a worthwhile vehicle that may not earn the head nods of the expert reviewers, but it certainly ranks high among actual owners. And it’s the opinion of consumers that may be worth its weight in gold.