Which SUV do I buy: Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-5 or Subaru Forester?

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

G'day John,

I'm thinking of upgrading from a 2002 Subaru Impreza hatch and was wondering what you think of the current shape Mitsubishi Outlander (2.4 petrol)?

I've been very happy with Subaru for many years, but will need more room as our kids get bigger. I like the Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester and Mazda CX-5, but think the Outlander may be ahead on the rear cargo capacity. The Outlander is also slightly cheaper than the CX-5 and Forester, but I don't know if that is for a reason (like the X-Trail's often dodgy gearbox). I haven't heard of anything bad about the Outlander, but any information will help.

Thanks, Shane

Hello Shane,

Mitsubishi’s been asleep at the wheel since the GFC, but they show some signs of waking up with the Triton and Pajero Sport - not so much the Outlander, which has had - essentially - only the world’s most garish cosmetic makeover. They tried to make the 2.4 petrol’s CVT a little better to drive - successfully (it is slightly less monotonous thanks to a software upgrade) - but it can’t really compete with Forester or in particular 2.5-litre Mazda, both of which have direct injection, and the Mazda also has a proper epicyclic auto transmission.

CX-5 actually has a longer wheelbase than Outlander (+30mm) so there will be more legroom in CX-5, and Outlander is +155mm longer overall, so it could have up to +185mm more cargo floor length - depending on packaging. Outlander is also packaged in some variants with seven seats, and there are spatial allowances required for that (ie. they’ve crunched second-row space to allow for the third row in the erstwhile cargo bay.)

Outlander would want to be cheaper than CX-5 (because it’s not as good) but the warranty is pretty hard to argue with and the service interval is also OK. CX-5 GT & Akera murder the Outlander Exceed on spec. There are no real reliability issues with any of the three on your short list, but in my view you should also strongly consider Kia Sportage (there’s a 2.4P that kicks serious arse, with an awesome auto and driveline) and also the Hyundai Tucson. 

John Cadogan

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