Affordability calling card for Mitsubishi Outlander

Roseville, CA- Looking for a deal on a new sport utility vehicle that can haul seven people? Cost-conscious car shoppers should give the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander a look because it can be driven off the dealer lot for a very reasonable price.

The Outlander starts at $24,500 and even a fairly upscale model that’s loaded with amenities can be purchased for under $33,000. That’s pretty affordable for an SUV with three rows of seating.

The Outlander was redesigned in 2014 and two years later added several notable changes. The 2017 version gets a few new wrinkles, most notably a previously optional 6.1-inch touchscreen and rearview camera that are now standard features. Two years ago, the Outlander received a freshened exterior, the first Mitsubishi to have the brand’s new front design, which the Japanese manufacturer is calling the “Dynamic Shield.”

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander

* Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 166 horsepower; 3.0-liter, V6, 224 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 25-31 mph; 20-27 mph
* Price: $24,500 to $32,600
* Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years, unlimited; corrosion 6 years/100,00

The front grille is mostly chrome and the rear styling includes an extended liftgate, LED taillights and a new bumper. Both 18-inch alloy wheels and heated side mirrors are now standard. Mitsubishi also points out that it has added new platform enhancements to improve the handling and ride. However, some auto reviewers question if the ride and handling are really that much better.

There’s definitely a list of competitors that can contend with the Outlander. Among those SUVs are the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Nissan Rogue and the Kia Sorento.

The Outlander provides two engine choices. The more powerful one – 3.0-liter, V6 that produces 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque – is no world beater. But this particular Outlander goes 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, about average for the class.

Going with the less powerful engine (test driven here) – 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, that generates 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque – means one saves a little gas (25-31 mpg) yet certainly gives up some performance as well. This Outlander has been known to labor up steep hills and goes 0-60 mph in a sluggish 9.2 seconds.

Note that the four-cylinder has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds and the V6 version more than doubles that load capacity to 3,500 pounds.

The Outlander would make a pretty good companion on long trips with considerable freeway driving. It doesn’t have much cabin road noise, handles well on most surfaces, and offers better than average steering. And if one wants to veer of the main arteries, an Outlander equipped with all-wheel drive is capable of some mild off-roading.

For a relatively inexpensive vehicle, the Outlander offers a solid interior in terms of design and quality. We like the many soft-touch materials and the dashboard is smartly laid out and most people will find it intuitive.

The Outlander seating is comfortable and everyone should be happy with the exception of the third row, which is cramped. The hauling area is small at 10.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row of seats, but expands to 34.2 cubic feet behind the second row.

The affordable price and great warranty – drivetrain is 10 years/100,000 miles – gives the Outlander an edge over some of its competition. While not the top choice in its class, improvement has arrived overall and makes the Outlander an SUV to consider.