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How Well Does A Mitsubishi Outlander Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

When you are in the market looking for something on a budget that might perform well on snow, then the Japan-made Mitsubishi Outlander is one of those that would urge you to do it. But you have to know for sure if it’s good in snowy terrain or not. To help you with that, we have taken into account many different factors that would decide whether or not it’s good in snow.

The hybrid version of the outlander is not recommended because the ESC and ASTC systems don’t allow for optimal power in these conditions. However, the S-AWD is considered to be a great vehicle for snowy conditions. Owners are positive about this car version because of its high ground clearance of 8.4 inches, a long wheelbase of 106.5 inches, and great traction overall.

But, it’s not the whole story; it’s just the tip of the iceberg. To make it crystal clear, we have discussed all the aspects in detail. We’ll start with a selection of comments from owners about the performance of Mitsubishi Outlander in snowy conditions. After that, we’ll discuss the specifications of this SUV, such as tires, drive systems, and electronic support systems.

And at the end, we’ll discuss the ground clearance, the weight distribution, and the wheelbase. We’ll finish with a few suggestions for optional traction devices that can provide even more grip. Let’s read more.

Also, read: How Many Miles Can A Mitsubishi Outlander Last?

Experience Of Mitsubishi Outlander Owners

The owners of Mitsubishi Outlander have a better firsthand experience than anyone else. Therefore, it is important to know what they have to say about it. We went through many blogs and forums to know what people have to say about its performance on slippery surfaces.

I just finished a 3800 mile trip with my new Outlander and kept it in Eco… When I got back home, there was snow all over, so I got to test the 4wd,

I was very surprised how well it functioned in ECO, even in thtrane snow; I really did not need to even shift it to Normal in conditions that would have left me stranded in my old 2WD sport.


handled the snow like no one’s business. We were able to get out and do some shopping and run errands with no trouble at all! It handled the snow like a champ! Whether you have rain, snow, or nice sunny weather


Also read: Types Of Gas A Mitsubishi Outlander Takes (All Generations)

Does Mitsubishi Outlander Have Snow Tires?

From the factory, you get P235/60R18 all-season tires, which can do pretty good in all types of weather for sure, but they can’t give traction when you are driving in snow. And no matter what systems you have integrated to prevent your wheels from sliding, you will suffer in winter without snow tires.

If you live in a region that sees a lot of snow, then make sure to put on nice snow tires so the wheels will remain happy with their relationship with the road. Otherwise, they will block their connection with it, and you will lose signal from the road, which will cost you big time.

Why should you go with the snow tires? Well, snow tires have the following characteristics that make them suitable in heavy snow to black ice, and everything in between that winter has to offer.

The Tread Rubber

Extreme cold temperatures cause the tread rubber of an all-season or summer tire to stiffen and become less able to provide sufficient traction. To combat this, the tread rubber compounds of winter tires are composed. They remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better even at temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tread Depth and Patterns

Unique to snow tires are deeper tread depths and unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and thus provide better traction on the snow. The tread patterns, too, are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.

Biting Edges

Snow tires have many biting edges and high densities of small slits that increase the tread surface area, thus increasing grip in wet, icy, and snowy conditions.

Have Snow Tires Equipped As Soon As Possible

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

From the Owners Manual

Only Mitsubishi Motors Authorized wheels should be used because your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. Using another type of wheel risks air leaks and sensor damage, as installing the tire pressure sensor properly will not be possible.

What Drive System Does A Mitsubishi Outlander Have?

Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC)

Who doesn’t like drifting, which by the way, becomes super easy on snow, but losing that rear end is dangerous, and not everyone wants that, especially not on roads covered with snow. Luckily, Mitsubishi has been developing an amazing feat of all-wheel-drive systems that increases traction several notches.

This system is known as the Super All Wheel Control that distributes power to the wheels according to the terrain you are traveling on.

Approximately the numbers are somewhat like this on the front/rear;

  • Below 40mph: Eco 90% front, 10% rear
  • Normal: 80% front 20% rear
  • Snow: 50% front 50% rear (this system will allow more aggressive rear-wheel engagement)
  • Lock: 50% front 50% rear (rear diff is locked together), similar to 4×4.

Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

As the name suggests, the front-wheel-drive will transfer power to the front wheels. This system is not as great as the S-AWC regarding its snow drivability, but it does offer very reasonable traction.

IF you are looking to save some money and opt for the FWD instead of an AWD, it’s actually not a concern. You might get around as easily as you would in some other AWD systems. These integrated systems into the modern-day car are extremely subtle and would be doing most of the work, keeping itself firmly to the ground.

Although This front-wheel drive is not that bad, the S-AWD is what you should consider first if you see a lot of snow ahead. 

What Electronics System Helps The Mitsubishi Outlander In The Snow?

4WD Lock

Mitsubishi Outlander comes equipped with the 4WD lock, making it one of the most amazing things on snowy roads. With this, you get the traction of a truck in snow, and when this system is coupled with the Mitsubishi’s Super AWC, then snow becomes irrelevant; you don’t have to worry about getting stuck anytime soon.

ASTC System

Active stability control in Mitsubishi is one of the good ones in the automotive industry, maximizing traction while the driver turns the vehicle. If the vehicle were to experience understeer or oversteer, the system will engage and reduce the speed of that particular wheel or wheels that would allow the vehicle to regain traction.

The Traction control system is a part of the Active Stability Control that prevents the wheels from spinning excessively. Once the system senses the wheel spin, the power to that particular wheel would cut off, and the torque will be transferred to the wheel that still has traction.

This system should only be turned off if you are traveling on dunes where you need your wheels to keep on going because if one wheel were to stop, you would get stuck in those dunes. Another scenario where you can turn this off is when you want to perform the rocking maneuver after getting stuck in the snow. Other than that, you should not turn it off. 


Anti-Lock Braking System is now a standard feature in all cars and was one of the earliest safety features introduced more than forty years ago. In non-ABS vehicles, when brakes are applied in an emergency, the wheels get locked, the car skids, and the driver no longer has control of the car.

ABS uses sensors to detect wheel lock onset and prevent it by sequentially applying and releasing the brakes under heavy braking or in snowy and slippery road conditions.

Had it not been for the ABS, hard braking would have locked the wheels while turning and steering at the same time, and if the wheels do get locked and you happen to be turning, then that situation is a recipe for disaster.

It would be best if you never disabled ABS in any condition.  Turning off ABS will not help you in snow, and without ABS, things will always go sideways.

Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)

EBD systems have the job of channeling brakeforce to wheels encountering the most amount of wheelspin. Wheelspin is one factor that adversely affects vehicle stability and unpleasantly compromises driver control over the vehicle.

EBD systems make sure that the brakeforce is equally and optimally distributed among all 4 tires. Wheelspin can be significantly reduced with this system, decreasing the chances of grip loss in winters and snow. The resultant of this brakeforce optimization is vehicle stability and more driver control in winters.

Auto Hold

The electronic Parking brake with Auto Hold system. The auto-hold function is a component of the ABS and ESP system and, once you’ve activated the system by pressing the Auto Hold button, your vehicle will remain firm in its place. 

Brake Assist

As the name suggests, this system will provide extra force in case of an emergency and reduce the stopping distance considerably by engaging the braking system even before you slam the brakes in an emergency.

Also read: Mitsubishi Outlander Transmissions: Overview And Problems

Weight Distribution

A more important spec is the weight distribution. It impacts several key performance parameters such as response to acceleration/deceleration, cornering stability. Ideally, while braking, the weight distribution should be equal on all four tires.

Normally, the weight distribution differs in each trim level, and on top of that can differ even among the same trim levels due to different packages and add ons.

2022 ModelsWeight Distribution F/R
Mitsubishi Outlander ES FWD60/40
Mitsubishi Outlander SE FWD60/40
Mitsubishi Outlander ES S-AWC59/41

This weight ratio has been doing wonders for the Mitsubishi Outlander, and it’s not just the weight distribution; it’s also about the low center gravity that this SUV maintains, especially in the Plug-in Hybrids.

Ground Clearance

When deciding on buying a vehicle to drive in snow, ground clearance is an important aspect. Ground clearance is the distance between the chassis and the ground and is one of the basic dimensions of any vehicle. Lower ground clearance means more likelihood of the underbelly of the car scratching against the ground.

The low ground clearance can be a major issue if you live in an area with lots of snowfall. The higher the ground clearance, the better. We know it, and there is no way to refute this. Higher ground clearance adds to the vehicle’s winter-aptness.

A vehicle can easily knife through thick layers of snow with higher ground clearance, as that is one major point of concern for any winter driver. The sweet spot of ground clearance comes at 8 inches and above.

Mitsubishi Outlander has 8.4 inches of ground clearance, which is great news; you wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck in the snow anymore.


The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and the rear tires. The wheelbase dimensions affect the weight distribution of the automobile and are key specs that affect the balance and steering. Having a longer wheelbase means that the automobile would be more stable at higher speeds.

On the other hand, vehicles with short wheelbase can usually turn faster but are less aerodynamic. In other words, a longer wheelbase translates into more stability because in vehicles with a longer wheelbase, the onset of sliding is delayed, thus giving the driver more time to make adjustments. Mitsubishi Outlander has a wheelbase of 106.5 inches which works well in snow.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Mitsubishi Outlander?

This is where we recommend our readers to go for the snow chains to maximize traction. Still, unfortunately, you can’t use those on a Mitsubishi Outlander as per the Mitsubishis instructions. The way it performs in snow, you don’t really need extra traction, have a good set of snow tires, and you will be good to go without a hitch.

From the Owners Manual

Tire chains cannot be used on your vehicle. The clearance between the chains and the body is not sufficient to allow proper clearance, and the vehicle body might be damaged

Mitsubishi does recommend keeping a shovel or a short-handled spade for emergencies, and don’t forget to put a plastic scraper for the windshield. And to prevent your weather stripping from freezing, you can apply silicone grease.