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Mitsubishi Outlander review

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    The lower profile rubber gives a jittery ride on minor irregularities at speeds over 80km/h. Photo Gallery

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Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Mitsubishi Outlander, with specs fuel and verdict.

Mitsubishi Outlander 3.5

The Outlander is a must-succeed for Mitsubishi in Australia and in large part the new SUV should.

It’s a diamond in the rough - there are a few harsh edges - but it definitely deserves shopping against the latest crop of mid-sized soft-roaders. It sits on the same chassis as the outgoing model but has new panels and suspension, which help cut the weight by 100kg and lift towing capacity to up to 2000kg. The diesel is a more than decent engine and the one I’d go for. If you can’t do the oilburner, the 2.4-litre petrol is a willing playmate, even with a continuously variable transmission.

VALUE

Like its competitors, the Outlander comes in front and all-wheel-drive guises. It is the only vehicle in this class to have five and seven-seat options. The FWD models are restricted to the 2.0-litre petrol engine and the ES version costs $28,990 with the five-speed manual gearbox.

A CVT adds $2300. Entry to the AWD ranks comes via a 2.4-litre petrol engine with a CVT at $33,490. A step up in trim to the LS brings seven-seats and a $38,990 tag. The 2.2-litre diesel is only sold in seven-seat setup and with a six-speed auto. Prices for the oilburner start at $40,990 and climb to $45,490.

TECHNOLOGY

You have to pay to get the good stuff. The ES-badged base models have reverse sensors in place of a camera, which kicks in with the 6.1-inch touchscreen on the LS model. And those who want a burger with the lot will need to buy the Aspire and then spend an extra $5500 for the Premium pack that adds automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, better sound system and a powered tailgate. A plug-in hybrid will join the Outlander line-up midway through next year.

DESIGN

If it’s what’s on the inside that counts, the Outlander counts as a big step up. Better feeling switchgear and soft-touch plastics give the cabin a quality feel compared to its predecessor. The downside is the deletion of the glovebox chiller and two-piece tailgate. Also worth a “Do’h” comment is the decision to fit a subwoofer on the Aspire model in on the left rear side of the cargo area - and stop the removable cargo blind from being stowed in its floor recess.

Some will appreciate the extra space in the third-row seats; others will bemoan the fact cargo space has dropped by more than 100 litres to 477 litres (with the third row seats folded).The second-row seats no longer tumble flat in a one-touch operation but the flipside is they add another 300mm to cargo length, so that Ikea table will almost certainly fit in the back. The front end is a smart-looking unit, with horizontal layers that contrast with the Triton-inspired round fog lamps on the Aspire.

SAFETY

ANCAP has rated the Outlander as a five-star car. A reinforced passenger cell uses more high-tensile metals and there are seven airbags to protect the occupants. The only area the Outlander copped criticism was the bonnet edge, with not enough give on the area where kids’ heads come into contact with the car. Its overall score of 35.58 out of 37 was just behind the Honda CR-V and Volvo XC60 in the mid-sized SUV ratings.

DRIVING

Sometimes bigger isn’t better. That’s the case with the ride on the range-topping Aspire’s 18-inch rims against the 16s fitted to the ES and LS models. The lower profile rubber gives a jittery ride on minor irregularities at speeds over 80km/h. The extra sidewall on the 16s soaks up the same bumps rather than send them into the cabin.

There’s a bit of road noise from either set but interior noise is decibels lower than before. The suspension is adequate, though pitch and body roll isn’t as composed as a Mazda CX-5 or Subaru Forester. The 2.2-litre turbodiesel is the pick of the engines and the paddle shifters - solid metal ones, not flimsy plastic jobs - help maintain momentum uphill when the automatic transmission’s default drive mode tends to upshift early and drop below the 2000rpm threshold where things get interesting.

The 2.4-litre petrol does a commendable job, despite being handicapped by a CVT that drones under load like an economics lecturer. The 2.0-litre petrol is a fleet or inner-city special. The five-speed manual it is mated with is good but buyers increasingly want a self-shifter and in this case that’s the CVT.  Most potential private owners who compare the two petrols will spend the extra $2K for the 2.4.

In the real world the entry donk will probably use more fuel than its big brother because it has to work harder to achieve comparable acceleration. There’s an Eco mode to help grow leaves on a digital tree. Mitsubishi says it helps modify driving habits; I turn it off. When most drivers will accelerate into a non-existent gap to stop a fellow motorist from changing lanes, those deciduous leaves are going to drop off the dash, so I can’t see it reforming the masses.

Likewise the all-wheel-drive system has three settings, 4WD Eco, which delivers a claimed 5-10 per cent fuel saving by delaying the onset of AWD and cutting the aircon compressor; 4WD auto, which is an on-demand setting and 4WD lock that keeps all four wheels digging in for maximum traction.

VERDICT

A “top hat” and suspension rework of the Outlander now puts it in the top bracket of the mid-sized SUVs. And if you need to carry seven, it’s in a class of its own.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Price: from $28,990-$45,490
Warranty: 5 years/130,000 km
Service interval: 12 months/15,000km
Crash rating: five stars
Safety: 7 airbags, ABS, TC, ESC, EBD, hill-start
Engine: 2.2L turbodiesel four-cylinder, 110kW/360Nm; 2.0L four-cylinder, 110kW/190Nm; 2.4L four-cylinder, 124kW/220Nm
Transmission:  5-speed manual (2.0L), CVT (2.0L, 2.4L), 6-speed auto (2.2L)
Dimensions: 4.66m (L), 1.8m (W), 1.68m (H)
Weight: 1395kg (2.0L manual), 1495kg (2.4L CVT), 1610kg (2.2L auto)
Spare: Full-size
Thirst: 5.8L/100km, 153g/km CO2 (2.2); 6.6L/100km, (2.0 CVT), 7.5L/100km (2.4 CVT)

RIVALS

Mazda CX-5
Price: 
from $27,880 -$46,680
Engine: 2-litre 4-cyl 114kW/200Nm; 202-litre turbodiesel 129kW/420Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual; 6-speed auto
Thirst: 6.4L/100km, 148g/km CO2 (2.0), 5.7L/100km, 149g/km CO2  (2.2 turobdiesel)

 

 

Mazda CX-5 - see other Mazda CX-5 verdicts

 

 

 

Nissan X-Trail
Price: from $28,490-$44,490
Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder, 102kW/198Nm; 2.5L four-cylinder, 125kW/226Nm; 2.0L turbodiesel, 127kW/360Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, CVT, six-speed auto
Thirst: 8.4L/100km, 199g/km CO2 (2.0L); 9.1L/100km 214g/km CO2 (2.5L); 7.2L/100km, 191g/km CO2 (2.2L)

 

 

Nissan X-Trail - see other Nissan X-Trail verdicts

 

 

 

Toyota RAV4
Price: from $28,990-$49,990
Engine: 2.4L four-cylinder, 125kW/224Nm; 3.5L V6, 201kW/333Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4/5-speed auto (2.4L/3.5L)
Thirst: 9.1L/100km, 213g/km CO2 (2.4L); 10.5L/100km, 246g/km CO2 (3.5)

 

 

Toyota RAV4 - see other Toyota RAV4 verdicts


 

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 4 comments

  • We own a 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander LS auto, after only 500kms we noticed a flat spot in the auto, a leak & other engine noise issues. Took to service dealer for 1st service, they said it was ok. We were not happy with that outcome so we waited for Mitsubishi Service Reps to arrive (Nth Qld) 2 months later. After driving it they authorised a new transmission - had to wait 7 weeks for it to arrive from Japan. All the while we felt very unsafe whilst driving our brand new car, in fact it’s hardly being driven. New transmission arrived finally in Feb 2014 (new car now 7months old has 4400kms on clock) installed- seemed ok! Saturday 22nd Feb, 2014 the car totally shuts down when driving in the city at a roundabout. No warning - Nothing! Dashboard says “ASC System Service Required” Car put on a flat tray truck & held in yard until Monday for service repairs. A “crank angle sensor”  failed & was replaced. We think we have purchased a “Lemon” and we are a small business who buys our cars new so we don’t have problems with the car - whoops?? This car makes us feel unsafe, we have 4 small grandchildren who are often in the car with us, so we are worried about our safety in our “New Car”?

    Jill Carey of Mackay QLD Posted on 26 February 2014 4:02pm
  • Ash

    The Australian Consumer Law negates the need for a lemon law. My advice is to contact your local consumer protection agency and the ACCC who administer the ACL.

    Steve Crossman of Perth Posted on 24 January 2014 2:25pm
  • My experience with Mitsubishi Outlander in Australia!
    Hi,
    I have a 2010 Outlander which was a great car till recently. In May, my engine stopped without any warning in exit ramp of a freeway. After I restarted the car the check engine light came on and the engine had erratic behaviour when ideal or in drive when stopped. The car was still under warranty. So I took it to Mitsubishi for service. I took the car 5 times for the same problem without it being fixed. They had the car for a month in June and it only took 5 minutes for the check engine light to come back on once I got it back.
    They had the car from 10th of July and still not fixed (MORE THAN 4 MONTH IN TOTAL). They refuse to give me any updates on the progress and since we do not have Lemon Law in Australia they don’t even respond to my request for refund. They refuse to let me contact Mitsubishi Motors Australia MD.
    Worst customer service ever (both Mitsubishi and Alan Mance dealership). Can’t be more disappointed. Would never buy a Mitsubishi again, would tell everyone about my experience because what they are doing is just unfair. They are abusing lack of customer protection in Australian law.

    Ash of Australia Posted on 24 October 2013 1:04am
  • we drove one of these as a rental and were impressed even with 4 adults and their bags. Would really like to see how it performs off road in 4WD option.

    Gerald Robertson of Christchurch New Zealand Posted on 12 February 2013 5:25pm
Read all 4 comments

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