Price, content, fuel economy and style: which compact crossover has it all?
Sixth Place: Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC V6
Looking for something quirky and different? The Outlander GT V6 might be a good bet. It is one of few vehicles in this class still offering V6 power, a third row seat, and the only one with a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo. Its looks are one-of-a-kind, too, but in a less positive sense. With exterior looks this bad, the Outlander can’t possibly be any good, right? Wrong!
THE MOST TRADITIONAL CROSSOVER
The Outlander is one of the most comfortable vehicles in this comparison. It was ranked second only to the Forester in both NVH and ride comfort. It also has a surprisingly attractive interior.
Aluminum paddle shifters are lifted straight from the rally-ready Evo and the stereo is great. It turns the vehicle into a mobile dance club threatening to deafen eardrums with every earth shaking bass drop.
See Also: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Review – Video
With such a glowing endorsement, how is it still in sixth place? Aside from looks, there are some troubling faults. It is the most expensive vehicle here, achieved the worst observed fuel economy, and, despite considerable size, has an archaic second row seat folding mechanism. The 3.0-liter V6, the only six-cylinder in this comparo, has its drawbacks and its benefits. At 224 hp it is underpowered for what it is. Still, competing in a segment against 4-cylinders it gives the Outlander and authoritative amount of power right off the line – unlike the Hyundai Santa Fe’s turbocharged 4-cylinder. The Santa Fe makes more power, but only feels faster when your foot is hard into it.
Finally, there’s the rear cargo area that is troublesome as the hatch opening is very narrow and wider items won’t always fit.
- PRICE AS TESTED: $34,725
- ENGINE: 3.0L V6, 224 hp, 215 lb-ft
- TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
- OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 22.4 MPG
- CARGO CAPACITY (behind second row): 34.2 cu-ft
GALLERY: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC V6
Fifth place: Honda CR-V EX-L AWD Navi
What is last year’s top-selling compact crossover doing in fifth place? Fact is, it missed third place by less than two points and three of the vehicles that beat it did not exist last year; the bar keeps rising higher.
The CR-V remains one of the user-friendliest crossovers on the market. We love the large center storage bin between the front seats and the dual center console screens that show navigation and audio information to be displayed simultaneously. The sophisticated gauge cluster and unique fake marble interior trim also drew praise. Our only real issue inside the CR-V had to do with the driver’s seat that some testers found to have too much built in lumbar support.
GREAT, BUT NOISY ENGINE
The 185 hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is rev happy and feels powerful. It is very flexible, but lacks grunt at higher speeds. The engine is also unrelentingly noisy. In fact the only car we found to be louder in this test was the compass. Fuel economy for the CR-V turned out to he 25.9 mpg, tying the RAV4.
The CR-V is one of the easiest vehicles to drive in the test. It handles rather well and has responsive, but over-boosted steering. All of the CR-V’s actions are predictable and ride comfort was ranked as average. NVH on the other hand is below average on this crossover as it is not just the noisy engine spoiling the serenity behind the wheel, but wind noise as well.
See Also: 2012 Honda CR-V Review – Video
Honda needs to give the CR-V a shot in the arm by spicing up its body style. Then again, styling for the rear hatch is bang-on and a low load floor height combined with a wide opening and hatch-mounted rear seatback releases makes loading this crossover easy.
It should come as no surprise that the three of the most mainstream compact crossovers here, the RAV4, CR-V and Santa Fe Sport, all ended up in a mid-pack deadlock. With more pros than cons, these vehicles will continue to be big sellers and justifiably so.
- PRICE AS TESTED: $31,275
- ENGINE: 2.4L four-cylinder, 185 hp, 163 lb-ft
- TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
- OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 25.9 MPG
- CARGO CAPACITY (behind second row): 37.2 cu-ft
GALLERY: 2013 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD