Styling Showdown: 2013 vs. 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
Less Exciting, More Mature
In the course of a model or a brand's styling evolution, in the never-ending quest for differentiation and distinction, sometimes the styling knob is cranked to 11. Vehicles in recent memory that have pulled this off successfully include the Range Rover Evoque, Hyundai Sonata, and Mazda CX-5, among others. But a radical change in styling is not always successful, especially in market segments that generally favor or reward safe, predictable, and consistent. While the above three models certainly haven't suffered for their bold styling gambles, some companies have dialed back the visual excitement on certain models in the quest for more mainstream acceptance. The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV is one of these.
Compared with the 2013 model's Lancer Evo-esque big, mouthy, forward-canted grille, the 2014 model's subtle, rounded nose goes for a more subdued, efficient, high-tech appearance. The only styling daring of note on the front of the vehicle is the pronounced S-shaped detail going from the outer edge of the headlight housings to the lower grille, flanked by low-mounted foglights with satin metallic bezels.
The rest of the 2014 Outlander plays it safe to a fault on the exterior. The side profile is standard two-box compact SUV. A pronounced horizontal crease running from the headlights to the taillights is the only noteworthy flourish that could be remotely considered bold. Around back, the taillights are vaguely reminiscent of the last-generation Subaru Impreza hatchback, with a clear horizontal reflective strip stretching the width of the tailgate.
The 2014 Outlander also grows up on the inside, with a more formal-looking interior with woodgrain or carbon-fiber accent trim dominating the dashboard theme, compared with its predecessor's broad expanse of uninterrupted, but tastefully sculpted grained plastic. We don't dislike the new model's interior, but we didn't especially object to its predecessor's, either.
The 2014 model's safer styling may broaden its appeal to a larger audience, but we liked the Evo-inspired lines of the 2013 model. The Outlander's little brother, the 2014 Outlander Sport, continues the aggressive styling theme for the time being. Unfortunately, its tepid 148-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 doesn't exactly evoke fantasies of high-powered rally drifting through mountain roads.
We're going to call our opinion on the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander neutral. We don't hate it, but it doesn't stoke any sense of desire or passion either. Of course, neither do most of the other entries in the segment. What do you say? Is the 2014 Outlander's redesign a win or a fail?