Best & Worst Mitsubishi Outlander Years

We've ranked each Mitsubishi Outlander model for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst Mitsubishi Outlander years and pick the best one.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive review of the best, neutral, and worst years of the Mitsubishi Outlander – one of the most popular compact SUVs for you.

Drawing from numerous sources, including owner-reported reliability, maintenance costs, safety ratings, and expert reviews, we’ve analyzed each model year to give you the most accurate assessment.

I will give you nsights on why certain years stand out for their excellence, while others fall short due to persistent problems.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the details.

Table of ContentsShow

Mitsubishi Outlander Generations

Mitsubishi Outlander is a versatile crossover that’s undergone significant transformations across its generations. While some models excelled, others had some shortcomings.

Here are the Mitsubishi Outlander eras.

1st Generation (CU/ZE/ZF)2003-2006
2nd Generation (CW/ZG/ZH)2007-2013
3rd Generation (GF/GG/ZJ/ZK/ZL)2014-2019
4th Generation (GM/GN/ZM)2022-Present

Mapping out the generations provides a clearer overview, as significant changes between them can influence your decision.

Mitsubishi Outlander, Best, Neutral and Worst Years

Before starting to analyze Outlander’s best and worst years we should note that our rankings are based on multiple factors and real data collected from reliable sources including:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Up next is a graph consolidating the ratings from these sources, offering a comprehensive picture of each model year’s performance across the board.

Mitsubishi Outlander Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

This is the brief interpretation of the graph demonstrating each generation’s finest, neutral and worst years.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st (2003-2006)200620052003
2nd (2007-2013)2008
3rd (2014-2019)2016
4th (2022-Present)2023N/A2022

When we refer to ‘Neutral Years’, we’re talking about model years that neither shines brightly nor lag significantly in these aspects, offering a balanced but not extraordinary ownership experience.

Remember, unfavorable factors such as NHTSA recalls, diminish the car’s reliability and, consequently, its ranking.

Let’s delve into the best and worst Outlander years, dissecting the model by its generations.

Best & Worst Years for Mitsubishi Outlander 1st Generation (2003-2006)

Mitsubishi Outlander 1st generation 2003 model
The 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander

The 1st Generation Mitsubishi Outlander started its journey in 2003. This was Mitsubishi’s initial attempt to capture the growing compact SUV market.

Although the first few years had their fair share of teething issues, this generation set the stage for the evolution of the Outlander.

The Best Years: 2006

The 2006 model was the culmination of the first generation’s improvements and revisions.

Despite dealing with lingering suspension and exterior lighting problems, this year saw a reduction in severe issues like airbag malfunctions that plagued the earlier models.

These adjustments resulted in a more dependable and enjoyable driving experience.

The Neutral Years: 2005

In 2005, the Outlander was a consistent performer with a harmonious combination of reliability and functionality.

Despite its fair share of minor issues, this model year didn’t have any severe problems, making it a relatively safe bet for consumers.

The Worst Years: 2003 and 2004

The early years of this generation (2003 and 2004) saw a myriad of problems.

From airbag malfunctions that posed safety risks to suspension issues affecting ride quality and exterior lighting glitches hampering visibility, these issues understandably dissuaded potential buyers.

Best & Worst Years for Mitsubishi Outlander 2nd Generation (2007-2013)

Mitsubishi Outlander 2nd generation and 2007 model
The 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

The second generation saw Mitsubishi refining its Outlander and positioning it as a competitive option in the compact SUV segment.

The Best Years: 2008 and 2011

The 2008 and 2011 models showed significant improvements in reliability and performance.

The company addressed many of the earlier issues, resulting in fewer customer complaints and higher satisfaction ratings.

The 2008 model year has the highest Car Smite overall score amongst all model years.

Enhanced engine performance and advanced safety technologies also made these models years a hit among consumers.

The Worst Years: 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013

Despite improvements, some years in the second generation faced considerable issues.

The 2007 model, for example, had steering and suspension problems that affected handling and ride comfort.

Engine cooling and electrical issues in 2009 and 2010 further undermined the dependability of these models.

The 2013 model Mitsubishi Outlander, on the other hand, stood out for its high NHTSA recall number.

These issues made for a frustrating ownership experience, earning these years a spot in the ‘worst’ category.

Best & Worst Years for Mitsubishi Outlander 3rd Generation (2014-2019)

Mitsubishi Outlander 3rd generation and 2014 model
The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander

This generation was a leap forward, with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV winning the Technology Car of the Year Award in 2021–2022 Japan Car of the Year Awards.

The Best Years: 2016 and 2020

The 2016 and 2020 models stood out as the best in this generation, largely due to their exceptional balance of performance, reliability, and technology.

These models received high marks from owners and critics alike for their smooth handling, comfortable ride, and advanced tech features.

The Neutral Years: 2014, 2015 and 2018

The 2014, 2015, and 2018 models had some powertrain and transmission issues, but they also delivered a solid driving experience overall.

While these issues were problematic for some, others found them to be acceptable considering the overall package that these models offered.

The Worst Years: 2017 and 2019

The 2017 and 2019 models experienced notable powertrain and transmission issues. These mechanical flaws influenced the vehicle’s performance and dependability.

Additionally, some owners reported that these issues recurred even after repairs, leading to dissatisfaction and decreased trust in the vehicle’s reliability.

Best & Worst Years for Mitsubishi Outlander 4th Generation (2022-Present)

Mitsubishi Outlander 4th generation and 2022 model
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

The fourth generation began in 2022 and is still ongoing, with models continuing to push boundaries in design and technology.

The Best Years: 2023

The 2023 model represents a significant leap in the evolution of the Outlander, boasting advanced safety features, refined design, and superior driving dynamics.

With high owner satisfaction and fewer reported issues, this year marks a high point for the Outlander.

The Worst Years: 2022

Despite the enhancements made in the 2023 model, the 2022 Outlander has had some early problems. As more data becomes available, these issues will be evaluated more thoroughly.

However, initial reports suggest potential problems that could affect the overall reliability of this model.

Mitsubishi Outlander Average Resale Value

Here’s a graph that shows the average list price for each Mitsubishi Outlander model year. It’s useful as you can see the most desired models here.

Mitsubishi Outlander Average List Price


You are now able to make an informed decision when purchasing your next Mitsubishi Outlander.

Based on our in-depth review, which year of the Outlander would you choose for yourself and why?

We are particularly interested in your thoughts on the issues related to the worst years, and if they are deal-breakers for you. Leave a comment with your thoughts down below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.