The Outlander we tested, with the optional third row and four-wheel drive, totaled $26,595. This is an uncomfortable price, considering the topline XLS V-6 4WD model starts at just $300 more and comes with the third row standard. For the cost of an iPhone, the XLS offers 220 hp, 204 lb-ft of torque, and a real six-speed automatic. Downsides? The XLS doesn't come with the Rockford Fosgate system or sunroof, a $1610 package. And the V-6 comes with a fuel-economy drop of 3 mpg city/1 mpg highway. Still, that narrow price difference will likely entice many prospective Outlander buyers to step up to the V-6.

The Outlander SE 4WD is a competent crossover with some impressive standard features. It rides smoothly and looks attractive, but with the third-row option, it nudges the price too close to the V-6-powered XLS trim, negating value. If frugality rules, skip the third row. If seven-passenger seating is a necessity, opt for the XLS.

Base price $25,895
Price as tested $26,395
Vehicle layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 2.4L/168-hp /167-lb-ft DOHC I-4
Transmission Continuously variable auto
Curb Weight 3700 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 105.1 in.
Length x width x height 182.7 x 70.9 x66.1 in.
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 20/25 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.88 lb/mile