In 2003, Mitsubishi got aboard the SUV bandwagon with the release of the Outlander SUV, a fully-featured SUV with plenty of engine oomph and lots of customizable options. For 2004, the 2.4 engine was upgraded, boosting the horsepower to 160. All 2005 Outlander models now had an optional manual transmission, new advanced airbags and disc brakes complemented the safety features, while some tweaks to trims were made. ABS and side impact airbags made their debut in 2006, with nominal changes to the SUV otherwise. In 2007, the carmaker redesigned the Outlander, increasing its size and adding a wide array of upscale features including the desirable third-row and a new 220 horsepower V6 engine.
The 2008 Outlander offered buyers their choice of either a four or six-cylinder engine, with a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). Aside from changes to the trim levels, the car was unchanged from its previous year. While 2009 yielded no major changes, 2010 offered a host of them. The styling was redesigned, adding new fascias in the front and the rear, the SUV also featured a new hood, new fenders and a brand new mesh grille, and the GPS was updated with a new LCD display and upgraded functions. From 2011-2013 only minor revisions took place, with the carmaker planning a completely redesigned model for 2014. It would now offer a larger and more luxurious interior cabin, standard third-row seating and new technology features for buyers.