2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Explorer and Outlander have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Explorer has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Outlander’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Outlander doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard Reverse Brake Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Outlander doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Explorer’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Outlander doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Explorer has standard 911 Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Outlander doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Explorer and the Outlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

The Ford Explorer weighs 741 to 1640 pounds more than the Mitsubishi Outlander. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Outlander’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 8 times as many Ford dealers as there are Mitsubishi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Outlander doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 20th.

Engine

The Explorer has more powerful engines than the Outlander:

Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

300 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid

318 HP

322 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Platinum 3.0 turbo V6

365 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Explorer ST 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

415 lbs.-ft.

Outlander 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

166 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Outlander GT 3.0 SOHC V6

224 HP

215 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Outlander doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Explorer’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Outlander doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Explorer Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander AWC’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Explorer 2.3-liter’s standard fuel tank has 2.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander AWC’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 15.8 gallons). The Explorer V6 Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 3.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander FWD’s standard fuel tank (20.2 vs. 16.6 gallons).

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Outlander doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outlander:

Explorer

Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.

Outlander

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

11.9 inches

The Explorer ST’s optional front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Outlander are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Outlander (255/65R18 vs. 225/55R18). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outlander (275/45R21 vs. 225/55R18).

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outlander’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer ST/Platinum offers optional 21-inch wheels. The Outlander’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Outlander doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

The Explorer has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Outlander; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Outlander’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Explorer has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Outlander doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 14 inches longer than on the Outlander (119.1 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 6.3 inches wider in the front and 6.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Outlander.

Chassis

The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Outlander doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Outlander doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has 24.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Outlander (152.7 vs. 128.2).

The Explorer has .1 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more front legroom, 6.6 inches more front hip room, 5.4 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom, 7.2 inches more rear hip room, 5.9 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.2 inches more third row headroom, 4 inches more third row legroom, 1.5 inches more third row hip room and 4.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the Outlander.

Cargo Capacity

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Outlander.

Explorer

Outlander

Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

10.3 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

34.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 cubic feet

63.3 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Outlander doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Explorer. The Outlander doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Explorer’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outlander’s (3000 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Mitsubishi Outlander is only 3500 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Explorer is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Outlander. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster) and outside mirror angle. The Outlander doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Outlander doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the Outlander have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

On a hot day the Explorer’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Outlander can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The Outlander doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Outlander only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Explorer has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Outlander has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SEL/GT.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Explorer Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Outlander doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Explorer has standard extendable sun visors. The Outlander doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Outlander offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Explorer and the Outlander offer available heated front seats. The Explorer also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Outlander.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Outlander doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Outlander doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Outlander doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

The Ford Explorer outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander by over six to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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