Car brands always have their good days and bad days. They have models that do well and ones that lead a very short life. But for the Japanese car brand Mitsubishi, the days of being a car brand worth driving are probably over. The company certainly faired better in the ’90s and early ’00s, but they’ve had trouble with reliability and overall satisfaction since the new millennium. This is especially true of the Outlander, Mitsubishi’s largest SUV.
Mitsubishi Outlander’s poor reviews
The Outlander isn’t getting much love from review experts. Overall, the latest model scores at the bottom of most lists for 2019. U.S. News gave it a reliability rating of 2.5/5 with an overall score of 6.2/10. They especially didn’t favor the engine or the cramped seats and recommended that you don’t choose this car, “unless you absolutely want it.”
Car and Driver call it, “a lukewarm option in a boiling-hot compact-SUV market,” with its bland styling, cheap-feeling interior, and outdated infotainment system. Overall, it gets its highest ratings for safety. However, you could probably find a better car with just as good of a safety rating that offers more features.
Consumer Reports thinks you should skip the Mitsubishi Outlander
Consumer Reports is a trusted reviewer of brands across America, and many consumers pay to get their opinion. For 2019, Mitsubishi was 30/33 on their list of brands on their overall ranking list, making it the 3rd worst brand available, a spot they’ve been near since at least 2016. In fact, Consumer Reports hasn’t been able to recommend a model for the last several years.
For their 2018 review, the Outlander scored very low, with Consumer Reports saying they’d, “skip the low-scoring Outlander altogether.” They had more bad things to say about it than good.
Specifically, the road test yielded subpar results. Scores for acceleration, transmission, fuel economy, cargo area, interior, and most comfort and convenience features all scored 3/5.
High scores included 4/5 for rear-seat comfort, braking, front and rear access, and usability, and a single 5/5 for the climate system. The lowest scores were for both routine and emergency handling with a 2/5 and a 1/5 for third-row access.
It added long warranty, lots of utility for the money, and standard 3rd-row seating to the pros list, with poor handling, a dated interior, poor acceleration, and racket from the engine on the cons list.
In the end, the only real thing going for it was, again, its nod as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And while it may have gotten a 3/5 for customer satisfaction, it only scored a 1/5 for reliability. Given that one of the most respected review websites doesn’t seem to like the Outlander in any recent year, you should heed their warnings.
Mitsubishi’s overall brand reliability
While consumers seem to like Mitsubishi — at least the Outlander — experts don’t favor the brand as highly. Mitsubishi hasn’t won any JD Power awards going back as far as 2000. In 2017, JD Power’s Dependability Survey rated them 7th from the bottom, with 182 problems per 100 vehicles, well above the average of 156. They were also awarded Japan’s worst automaker of 2016. So what happened to this once-reliable brand?
They seem to have peaked in the ’90s, according to Autotrader. For the Outlander, the problems seem to stem from engine trouble and braking issues, with WarrantyDirect accounting for 43.55% of problems being engine related and 20.97% being braking related.
Other Mitsubishi models scored low, too, proving that it’s not just the Outlander that’s the problem. In fact, the overall average reliability rating from WarrantyDirect probably only stems from the Lancer, which carries the brand with a 4.4/5 rating. Still, one model does not a good brand make.
Common problems with the Mitsubishi seem to be the clutch and automatic transmission prematurely failing and issues with the clear coat peeling. That said, if you’re set on this brand, the most reliable models seem to be the Colt or Lancer, which you can only seem to get secondhand.
The least reliable? Outlander and Shogun, which are both in production today. It sounds like Mitsubishi needs to go back to the drawing board or take some lessons from their past models.
Maybe with the new developments promised in 2021 and with the new hybrid release, the Outlander — and Mitsubishi for that matter — will see new life. For now, if you’re looking for a new car, you might want to skip the Outlander. With one of the top consumer rating companies saying to steer clear and the poor reviews from other places, it might just be worth looking elsewhere.