KBB Logo Expert Review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

On the surface, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is arguably the most aggressively styled 7-passenger SUV on the road today. Beneath the Outlander's angular sheet metal is an available 3-mode All-Wheel Drive system, handsome interior layout and a state-of-the-art multimedia system with intuitive voice-recognition controls.

You'll Like The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander If...

If you are looking for a small SUV with one of the most spacious cargo areas in the category, an optional third-row seat and arguably the best all-wheel-drive system available for a non-luxury vehicle, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is worth your consideration.

You May Not Like The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander If...

While the Outlander returns adequate fuel economy figures, the Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox and the all-new Mazda CX-5 deliver greater fuel efficiency. Furthermore, the Outlander’s taut suspension may be unsettling for drivers looking for a more relaxed, forgiving ride.

What's New

For 2012, the Mitsubishi Outlander adds a new ECO indicator light that illuminates when the vehicle is being driven at peak efficiency and shows you when your right foot is getting the upper hand. Additionally, Premium and Touring packages now integrates the backup camera display into the rearview mirror.

Interior Features

Inside the Mitsubishi Outlander is a clean layout with distinguishable controls and plentiful storage space. With the rear seats folded, the Outlander can accommodate nearly 73 cubic feet of cargo – comparable to the class-leading Toyota RAV4. The Outlander’s versatile interior offers a variety of configurations for occupants and their gear, including a 60/40 split/fold-flat rear seat with a sliding function for enhanced passenger comfort and a small, yet handy, stowable third-row seat for SE and GT trims. The Outlander’s principal shortcoming would be the ES and SE model’s abundance of hard plastics and flat surfaces that emit a budget feel when compared to competitors like the Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V and the new Ford Escape.

Exterior Features

The 2012 Outlander commands a much larger presence than most vehicles in this category, led by its "jet fighter"-inspired trapezoidal grille and bulging fender arches. LED taillights and available xenon headlights (standard on GT trims) help communicate a level of refinement while GT models enhance the Outlander’s athletic demeanor with a pair of chrome exhaust tips and a black-out front bumper insert. The wheel lineup ranges from the ES grade’s 16-inch steel wheels to the 18-inch 7-spoke alloys found on SE and GT models.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the Mitsubishi Outlander's excellent steering and brake feel, sport-tuned suspension and supportive front seats deliver a balance of comfort and confidence that will accommodate a range of driving styles. And though many of its competitors like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape can tackle road imperfections with greater poise, we found the Outlander’s lively handling characteristics to be worth the insignificant drop in ride quality. While the standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is right-sized for basic daily driving tasks, most will find the available 230-horsepower V6 is more accommodating to heavy loads and spirited driving. On the fuel economy front, 2012 Outlander GT models offer a unique piece of fuel-saving technology called Idle Neutral Logic that automatically shifts the transmission into neutral when the vehicle arrives at a complete stop.

Pricing Notes

The base 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $23,000 and skyrockets to nearly $40,000 for a fully-loaded GT trim with all-wheel drive. That price range isn't too far from rivals like the Kia Sorento, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Be sure to check kbb.com’s Fair Purchase Price for what consumers are paying for their Mitsubishi Outlanders in your market area. If strong resale value is an important attribute in your next vehicle, you will find the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander comes up short. Moreover, we project the majority of the Outlander’s competitors will maintain superior 5-year residual values.

Notable Equipment

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered in three trims: ES, SE and GT. Standard across the board is rear privacy glass, LED taillights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a 60/40 split/fold-flat second-row seat and auto-off headlights. SE models add magnesium paddle shifters, 18-inch alloy wheels, a Fast Key entry and starting system – the key fob never needs to leave your pocket or bag – and a fold-flat third-row seat. The range-topping GT models add a 230-horsepower V6 engine, xenon headlights that are up to three times brighter than conventional halogen bulbs, and automatic climate control. Safety features include six airbags, active front head restraints and a reinforced body structure for enhanced collision protection.

Notable Options

All Outlander trims offer an available 40GB hard drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones, and Mitsubishi’s Fuse voice recognition system. SE and GT models offer all-wheel drive, a rear backup camera, a power tilt/slide moonroof, and a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system with a 10-inch subwoofer. The GT’s exclusive Touring Package includes leather-trimmed seating, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.

Favorite Features

Fuse Voice Recognition

Similar to Ford's voice-activated Sync system, Mitsubishi's Fuse allows voice control of Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones for hands-free phone capability as well as streaming audio. The system also provides advanced voice recognition commands for iPods, including Genre, Artist, Album or Playlist.

Flap-Fold Liftgate

An SUV with an abundance of cargo space and fold-flat seating is great for large cumbersome objects, but a protruding rear bumper can make loading such cargo an aggravating experience. Every 2012 Outlander features a unique tailgate-style rear bumper that folds level with the cargo floor, making it easier to slide bulky objects in and out.

Under the Hood

Mitsubishi provides a choice of a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing, or a more powerful 230-horsepower V6. Despite the Outlander GT’s fuel-saving Neutral Idle Control feature, ES and SE models and their 4-cylinder powerplants deliver an observable increase in fuel economy over the V6. The 4-cylinder engine drives through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) while the V6 is fitted to a manually selectable 6-speed automatic accompanied by steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Outlander ES and SE

2.4-liter inline-4

168 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

167 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 22/27 mpg (AWD)

Outlander GT

3.0-liter V6

230 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm

215 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/25 mpg (AWD)

Editors' Notes

As one of the larger vehicles in its segment, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander strikes a satisfying balance between compact and mid-size SUVs. The Outlander differentiates itself from the competition with an array of optional tech features along with aggressive styling, generous cargo space and available seating for seven. While its bold exterior design can certainly talk the talk, the Mitsubishi Outlander also walks the walk thanks to a sport-tuned suspension system, lightweight aluminum roof and available all-wheel drive (AWD) with three driver-selectable modes.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Owner Reviews

57 Reviews
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Mitsubishi, A family car or a paperweight?

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander SE

The positives about owning a Mitsubishi is, it has a 7 seater in the car because of the bench. The back is very spacious for trunk usage. The maintenance of the car is like every other car, and not very expensive. It takes synthetic, but I do the blended version and the car operates well. The car is cloth on the inside and has an all black interior. It had a bluetooth and a control panel on the side. The negative thing about the car is, it is a GAS guzzler. It takes a lot of gas but, I also drive a lot! The car always has massive amounts of recalls and the car doesn't take damage well. It feels like it's made out of plastic. I have been hit twice; small fender benders and the car cracks like nothing. Another negative is, the car is noisy! It also is not a smooth ride. I understand it's a 4 cylinder but, the acceleration is also very underwhelming. I live near a lot of highways, so I need a car with decent acceleration. I'm not a huge car connoisseur, however there are certain aspects of the car that noticeably falls short. I have not had the car longer than a year, so these are just things I have noticed now. The car is decent overall, and the price range is decent as well.

- Shy H

A vehicle for a variety of uses with excellent gas economy

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander ES

My 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander is a true gem. I have had no problems whatsoever with the car and truly do recommend it to anyone interested in a top-of-the-line vehicle. It runs just as well on an 8-lane highway as it does on the gravel back roads of the Upper Peninsula (Michigan), and as such, is quite accommodating for drivers of all different lifestyles. She has maintained superb fuel economy for a car of her size: particularly on the highway. I will say that continual city driving does bring the gas economy down substantially, but that is to be expected with most cars, I imagine. The large trunk made it quite convenient for moving my stuff to-and-from college. All-in-all, Mitsubishi created a fine automobile when they crafted the 2012 Outlander. I am not disappointed whatsoever.

- Benjamin K

Is fuel efficient and adorable, while giving you enough technology.

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander

Not only is the Mitsubishi outlander sport a nice, affordable crossover vehicle, it is also one of the cheapest cars to keep up with in maintenance. It is a smaller SUV, but the back seats fold down in order to give the owner maximum storage space. The outlander sport has great gas mileage at about 26 mph average. This is great compared to many popular SUVs that are much more expensive and do not the same fuel efficiency. This car had been great for long distance drives, with its Bluetooth connectivity, telescopic wheel, and USB charging port. It's a great deal and I highly recommend this car.

- Beth M

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