Mitsubishi Reveals Restyled 2016 Outlander in NY
Extensive Facelift, New Technology Enhance CUV
Mitsubishi Motors North America showed the new 2016 Outlander today at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, revealing an extensively enhanced crossover compared to its predecessor.
The most obvious change to the Outlander is its all-new styling. Mitsubishi says the front-end design, called “Dynamic Shield,” was inherited from the bumper side protection on the company’s legendary Montero. If you squint, the metallic trim that frames the grille and underlines the headlights does indeed look like an old Montero’s brushguard. It’s a clever way to tie in Mitsu’s heritage without the Outlander appearing like it’s trying too hard to be an off-roader (looking at you, Jeep Patriot).
Redesigned front and rear fascias, front fenders, headlights, door rocker panels, and taillights give the Outlander a fresh, new appearance. LED taillights and front position lights are standard on all models, and LED headlights come standard on the Outlander GT. The crossover’s midsection is largely the same as it’s been since the model’s redesign for the 2013 model year, although those new rocker panels help update the profile a little. Overall, the Outlander is still an inoffensive SUV, but the front and rear three-quarter views have a welcome bit of edge in them.
Much like the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, many of the Outlander’s upgrades come under the skin. Mitsubishi hasn’t revealed full powertrain details yet, but it’s probably safe to assume that it’ll come with the same 2.4L I-4 and 3.0L V-6 as the current model. That I-4 comes mated to a continuously variable transmission, which Mitsu says is extensively retuned for 2016 to improve acceleration, performance, shift feel, and torque delivery. We’re again guessing that the V-6 will again be attached to a six-speed conventional automatic.
Increased body and suspension rigidity will lend a solid feel to the CUV. We found the current Outlander to handle relatively well for a family vehicle, so any improvements will likely add to its adequate skills. A redesigned electric power steering system should help here as well, while additional sound insulation, improved weather stripping, and noise isolating windshield and rear door glass will improve interior comfort and reduce driver and passenger fatigue.
Inside, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice too many changes to the 2016 Outlander. A new steering wheel and audio system are the most obvious updates. However, the devil is in the details, as nicer materials appear on the seats, headliner, and accent trim. Thoughtfully, the folding rear seat is easier to operate than before, something that parents will appreciate when wrangling packages and kids into and out of the seven-seat SUV.
Automatic climate control, hands-free device connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and soft-touch interior trim provide even the base Outlander with a decent list of standard equipment. The top-line GT model gets standard power-folding side mirrors and a Homelink-equipped auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Mitsubishi’s Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control are available on the Outlander SEL and GT. The 2016 Outlander will likely once again be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, thanks to its good ratings on crash tests and that optional collision mitigation. And as the only compact SUV with a standard third-row seat, parents of growing families might do well to consider the Outlander.
Mitsubishi is keen to point out that their 2014 sales were up nearly 25 percent over 2013, maintaining that momentum through the first quarter of 2015. And although the current Outlander’s design is just a few years old, it’s good to see the company doing everything it can to keep the crossover fresh. Our overarching feeling toward the 2015 Outlander is one of competent ambivalence, but the updates for 2016 (combined with Mitsu’s excellent warranty and long list of standard equipment for the money) should help the company grow its presence in the U.S.