The Outlander was a late arrival in the market when it debuted in 2003. It shared the same car-like design as its other mini-SUV competitors, which translated to good handling but poor off-road capabilities. Over the years, Mitsubishi has tried to make its mark with the Outlander by creating a unique look and also by slowly taking care of these issues.
Despite the improvements, the Outlander has always stayed in the shadows and has not been as successful as some of its competitors. Nevertheless, it has become a all-around better SUV over the years, and the new 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander may finally have what it takes to fully challenge its rivals.
New For 2013
The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander marks the pinnacle of this generation as it gets ready for a complete redesign this year. The new features are limited this year, but they include the following:
- Heated side mirrors
- Heated front seats for the SE and GT trim
The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander has a striking exterior design. While other compact crossovers are designed to be conservative and unremarkable, the Outlander challenges them with its sharp and creased exterior style.
The aggressive style has been tweaked and improved over the years, and this year is no exception – although the changes may not be so evident. The fog lamps have a new shape, and the lower rear bumpers, lower side sills, and front bumper are now completely black instead of body-colored, like before.
The 16-inch wheels from last year have been replaced with 18-inch standard wheels on all models. The available exterior features in the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander include rain-sensing wipers, chrome surround for fog lights, and high-intensity discharge headlights.
Interior & Cargo
The aggressive and masculine exterior of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander carries over into to its cabin. Clean surfaces and square lines dominate inside the vehicle, in stark contrast to the smooth accents and premium touches of its competitors. The rawness of the Outlander’s interior gives it a rugged, tough look, and the parts look like they can take a beating. For a more luxurious touch, the GT model comes with a soft-touch door trim and upper instrument panel, along with double-stitch accents.
One oddity about the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander is that its steering wheel tilts but cannot telescope, which can make it tough for tall drivers to get comfortable behind the wheel. Mitsubishi’s Fuse system is quite useful, allowing iPod access and phone calls through an intuitive user interface akin to the Ford Sync system.
The front row offers generous space, as does the second row of seats. However, the third row that comes with the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander SE and GT models tend to be a little too cramped for comfort. They are usable for short drives, but ineffective for regular use because of their lack of space and proximity to the tailgate glass.
On a positive note, the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander offers a flip-down tailgate that is rated to support 440 pounds, which is a unique feature in this segment. The third row and second seats can be folded down completely too, bringing the cargo space up to around 73 cubic feet – one of the largest in the segment.
The Outlander comes with all the usual safety features, including stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, and front side airbags. The front head restraints are also standard among all variants.
The IIHS awarded the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander its highest rating of ""Good"" in terms of front-offset and side-impact crash safety. The vehicle scored average marks in roof-strength tests.
The ES and SE versions of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander feature a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 168 horsepower (hp) and 167 lb-ft of torque. These two versions come with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. The GT version is fitted with a 3.0-liter, V-6 engine that delivers 230 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque, and a standard traditional six-speed automatic.
The SE and GT can be fitted with an all-wheel-drive option. With the all-wheel-drive option, the driver can select different modes for the necessary traction. This option also improves the front differential of the vehicle.
The top-end Outlander GT goes from zero to 60 mph in around 7.9 seconds, which is just about average for a V-6 powered city crossover. Fuel economy is decent too, ranging from 23/27 mpg city/highway for the two-wheel-drive ES to 19/23 mpg city/highway for the four-wheel-drive GT.
Despite the lack of pure muscle power, the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander offers one of the most enjoyable rides. It handles better than most other crossovers, and its suspension has been calibrated perfectly for nimble and athletic handling.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander
- Kia Sorento
- Toyota RAV4
- Ford Escape
- Mazda CX-5