We drove the SUV that kept Mitsubishi alive and it may be the best deal out there

We drove the SUV that kept Mitsubishi alive and it may be the best deal out there

Mitsubishi Outlander LE 2018

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

Our 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander LE test car.

  • The Mitsubishi Outlander helped keep the brand alive during its darkest days.
  • It's also Mitsubishi's flagship model.
  • The current Outlander has been around since 2013 but was refreshed in 2016.
  • The Outlander compact crossover starts at $23,945 while our test car costs $29,260.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, Mitsubishi churned a string of hits including the Elicpse, the Montero, the 3000GT, Galant, and the legendary Lancer Evolution.

Sadly, Mitsubishi's fortunes took turn for the worse over the past 15 years. Saddled with an aging lineup of products, the devastating effects of a financial crisis, and a lack of resources to develop competitive new models, Mitsubishi looked to be on the verge of exiting the US market.

In fact, the brand's share of the US auto market was down to just 0.5%.

But now, things have started to look up for Mitsubishi. The company's decision to ride the wave of demand for crossover SUVs finally paid off with sales rebounding over the past few years. In 2017, Mitsubishi's US sales jumped 7.7% over the previous year to just under 104,000 cars. A 2016 takeover by the Renault-Nissan Alliance means Mitsubishi will finally have the money and resources to develop a new generation of cars.


However, we probably won't see the real fruits of that development work for a couple of years. In the meantime, Mitsubishi is dependent on the vehicles it already has in its stable.

In the US, it can be argued that no model has been more important to Mitsubishi's bottom line than its flagship offering, the Outlander crossover SUV. (The Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero/Shogun exited the US market more than a decade ago.)

Last week, Mitsubishi delivered a 2018 Outlander 2.4 LE S-AWE in Diamond White Pear to Business Insider's suburban New Jersey road test facility for evaluation.

The Mitsubishi Outlander starts at $23,945 while our mid-grade Limited Edition costs $29,260 as tested.

Here's a closer look at the Mitsubishi Outlander crossover SUV.