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One of the favorite games auto journalists love to do when they review a car is play the game, How Much Does It Cost? Having been in the automotive industry for a while, I take the game seriously, and am generally within $1,500 of the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). This time around with the Outlander ― as I sat in the SE Premium Package interior, complete with leather surfaces, premium sound system and a big sunroof ― I proved to be a miserable, utter failure at the game. In fact, I was so far off on the asking price, I began to question if I needed a new reading glass prescription to process the Mitsubishi pricing sheet.

“There is no way that is the suggested price,” I thought to myself.

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The Outlander comes in four trim levels, starting with the ES and SE in two-wheel drive setups, with all-wheel drive versions of the two trim levels serving as additional models.

The SE model featured in this review came with the Premium Package, a $2,600 option. For that price you get a host of upgrades, including  a glass sunroof, leather seating, 710 watt Rockford Fosgate sound system (with 10 inch subwoofer), satellite radio, power driver’s seat, power remote tailgate and wood-like interior trim panels. Heated side mirrors and seats ― two cold weather favorites ― are standard at this trim level, and work quite well.

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After driving the Outlander on the highway and laying down the miles, a few things become apparent:

  • This car is loud on the interstate. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) drones on, endlessly searching for optimum power. When you mash the accelerator, louder engine noise fills the cabin, with the speedometer climbing very slowly.
  • It appears that performance has been left at the factory in the interest of improved fuel economy, which is an Environmental Protection Agency estimated 24 city and 29 highway.
  • The 166 horsepower, 2.4 liter engine produces 162 lb-ft of torque. The power plant figures simply aren’t enough to hastily move the 3,472 pound vehicle down the road.
  • The third row is tight, even for small children. The lack of legroom and difficult ingress/egress access makes for a feature that will only be used in the direst of situations.
  • Second row passengers, will find the 56.1 inches of shoulder room and 37.3 inches of leg room adequate. Equally civilized is the simplicity to which child seats can be secured via the integrated LATCH anchor system.
  • The third row proves most useful folded down into the floor, whereupon the cargo area capably swallows 34.2 cubic feet of luggage. With the second row folded as well, the volume swells to 63.3 cubic feet.
  • While the driving position allows for a clear view of the road ahead, the rearview camera adds peace of mind when backing out of crowded parking lots and kid-frequented driveways. The lack of navigation at this price point is a bit unsettling.

Handling-wise the Outlander’s AWC (all-wheel control) drivAWC system works quite well, delivering confidence in precarious conditions. Body roll is present when taking turns at speed, but not overt.

In terms of value, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander gives a lackluster performance compared to the competition. At the time of this writing, the 2014 model ― without the Premium Package ― has an average trade-in value of $17,867, holding onto 67.1 percent of its value over the year. For a little context, the average segment value is 70.7 percent.

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Back to the game, How Much Does it Cost?  Mainly due to the way the vehicle performed and the level of interior finish, I thought the Outlander would be priced at $25,000 as equipped. To put things in perspective, look no further than the directly competing Hyundai Santa Fe. With the ability to seat seven just like the Outlander, a base, two-wheel drive Santa Fe starts at $31,025. That price is about $4,000 more than the starting MSRP of an all-wheel drive Outlander ($26,195 before $850 destination fee), however, the finish and appearance feel superior, the performance is much greater, and more features come standard. Those four things alone will continue to ensure the Outlander is outsold by its competition again in 2015.

With such steep 1-year depreciation, the real value an Outlander buyer might find is when they buy a used one. After all, that’s a lot of vehicle to take home at a much lower price, just one year after being considered new.

Do you own a 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander? If so, let us know what you think of it in the Comments section below!