Crossovers like the Mitsubishi Outlander are attractive replacements for sedans as they offer a little more utility and versatility, plus a driving position that better suits not only aging Baby Boomers but busy moms.
The Outlander has that, including seats that are quite comfortable for first- and second-row occupants, and a great driving position. The Outlander at last gets tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustment (its predecessor lacked the telescopic function), so those with longer legs and shorter arms (and vice versa) are able to feel more at ease. The second-row seat slides several inches fore and aft, and the seatbacks adjust individually for rake.
Mitsubishi boasts that the Outlander’s third row is nearly five inches wider than before, with 2.4 inches more legroom, yet as one of the most compact models with three rows of seating on the market, the Outlander performs no spacial magic. Even getting into that third row is something only kids will try; and even pre-teens may be looking at their knees. Think of it only as a pinch-hitter third-row seat, for when you suddenly need to bring a couple more kids back from practice.
Interior trims vary a bit between models; the ES and SE get what’s called a ‘standard accent’—a matte-metallic trim for the dash and doors—while woodgrain interior trim is optional with the Premium or Touring Packages.
The Outlander has more noise insulation in the floor, dashboard, and headliner for 2014, and combined with the somewhat more compliant suspension and improved aerodynamics amounts to a very quiet, refined cabin.
Seat-folding involves many more steps than you’d expect—including lifting and flipping forward the lower cushion, removing the second-row headrests, clicking an unlock lever, and then releasing the seatbacks to flip those forward. Yet the effort is definitely rewarded; the Outlander has a lower cargo floor than other vehicles in this class, and it’s nice and flat (and 13 inches longer than the outgoing Outlander, Mitsubishi says).
There’s an underfloor storage box that has enough space to hide a couple of laptop bags out of the way, as well as open side boxes just aft of the wheel wells—giving smaller items a place without rattling around too much.