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Renting a Vehicle? Choose the Mitsubishi Outlander - Here’s Why

If you are given a choice of vehicles at the rental corral, choosing the Mitsubishi Outlander can be a great idea because it has a special feature. 

Renting a vehicle is always a crap shoot. You never really know what vehicle you will end up in. In many instances, the rental car company simply points you to a row of similarly-sized vehicles and says, “Pick whatever you want.” That happened to us this week, and we luckily chose the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV.

Image of 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander by John GorehamRelated Stories

1) Rental Review of the Nissan Rogue Crossover SUV

2) Rental Review - Chevy Impala Sedan

Our options included Nissan Rogues (which we have chosen in the past) and Hyundai vehicles. Having had the Rogue on a past trip and having just tested and reviewed one last week as a media vehicle, we wanted to try something new, and opted to try the Mitsubishi Outlander SE. That is the second step up from the base trim of the 14 (not a typo) Outlanders that Mistubishi offers. Ours was not a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. You can read a review of the Outlander PHEV here.

What Do You Really Want In a Rental Vehicle?
We think many people who rent a vehicle want the following:
1) Simple to use controls they find familiar
2) A volume knob for the audio system
3) A vehicle with good visibility
4) Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, depending on how you swing
5) Ample cargo space
6) A smooth, quiet ride
7) Decent fuel economy
8) Easy-to-use power ports for your phone
9) Cupholders in the center console
10) Clean, not smoked in, etc.

Image of 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander by John Goreham

If this list is similar to one you might come up with, then the Mitsubishi Outlander is perfect. The controls are simple, and all the things you need to use on instinct, like wipers, lights, turn signals, and HVAC are right where you would expect. They operate like 95% of the vehicles on the road in America do. 

Android Auto For the Win
Entering our rental Outlander in Colorado in an area that we were not familiar with, we immediately plugged in our phones. We opted to use Android Auto since we find it is better than Apple CarPlay when Google Maps is the main priority. Once we plugged in, the Android Auto prompt came up instantly, and within literally 10 seconds, our familiar navigation view was on the screen, and our destination input was via voice command. If you were an on-the-road salesperson in the era of Mapquest and Hertz Magellin (like me), you know just how special and wonderful today’s nav options are. Within a minute of being in the vehicle, we were in drive and following the route with ease. 

The Outlander's Big Advantage
Arriving in Colorado, we had just two adults and a middle schooler. So, any five-passenger compact or midsized SUV would have been just fine for us and our luggage. When we selected the Outlander, passenger space was not foremost in our minds. However, after we arrived at the hotel and events we were attending, folks began asking if “they could jump in our car for the short ride…” Remembering that the Outlander has two added bonus seats in its temporary-use third row, we said “sure,” and on multiple trips, the third row came in very handy. The Rogue and other options we may have chosen would not have had this feature. Nobody cared about the spaciousness of the compact third row since 1) they were kids and 2) we were only going to dinner a few minutes away. 

Image of 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander by John Goreham

The bonus third row really became valuable when our parents asked for a ride back to the airport. With now five passengers a lot of luggage, and a 75-minute ride ahead of us, the third row again saved the day. Instead of being squished in between grandparents, our middle schooler got her own row, and my parents had room to spread out comfortably in the middle row. We added an arrow in our image so you can see the 13-year old in the way back. We folded down one of the pair of third-row seats and the luggage (five carry-ons and a bunch of handbags and backpacks) all fit in the remaining cargo area. Bravo, Mitsubishi for ignoring the dummies in the auto press who harp on about compact third rows being “too small for adults.” Compact third rows rock, and writers who don’t understand that must own church vans.

2024 Mitsubishi Outlander - The Drive
During our time with the Outlander, it clipped apexes, slid sideways neutrally in corner drifts, had very little lift-throttle oversteer, and under at-the-limits braking. - We’re kidding. We drove it like adults drive SUVs and it was very nice. The power could be better, but the Outlander PHEV provides that if it is a priority for you. After almost 19,000 miles of renters bouncing it off curbs, the Outlander remained 100% rattle and squeak-free. It drove like a new car. The only sign of wear was a loose rearview mirror that had been roughly adjusted by 50 or 60 renters. Even the tires had even wear and no cupping. 

Image of 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander by John GorehamRenting a Mitsubishi Outlander - Conclusion
After a few days with the Outlander, it became clear that it is a durable, practical, and enjoyable three-row vehicle residing in a segment with SUVs that only offer two rows. We would suggest the Outlander to any shopper who has kids, or grandparents, or who may attend parties. That third row is a huge advantage. 

Fast Facts - 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander SE
Price = $32,940
EPA-Estimated Combined Fuel Economy - 27 MPG
Observed Fuel Economy on 85-octane fuel - 32 MPG
Seating Capacity - 7 passengers
IIHS Rating - Top Safety Pick +

Warranty Duration - 10-years or 100,000 miles

Images of the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander by John Goreham.

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John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can connect with John on Linkedin and follow his work at our X channel. Please note that stories carrying John's by-line are never AI-generated, but he does employ Grammarly grammar and punctuation software when proofreading.