Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the new Mitsubishi Outlander with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
In the booming and bustling world of mid-size SUVs, five years can be an eternity. But that's how long it's been since an all-new, or even majorly updated Mitsubishi Outlander arrived on our shores. Sure, there have been some style updates along the way, but it's been the same basic package since way back in 2012.
And age is beginning to hurt the Outlander, with Mitsubishi's go-to SUV finishing in sixth position in the 2016 sales race, miles behind the segment leaders (Mazda's CX-5 and Hyundai's Tucson), and neck-and-neck with Subaru's Forester.
So, the entire Outlander range has undergone a shake-up for 2017, with Mitsubishi adding technology and safety kit across the line-up. Sadly, it's also increased the costs, with list pricing climbing anywhere from $10 to a little over $1000.
So have the changes helped or hindered the Mitsubishi Outlander?
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
Deciphering the Mitsubishi Outlander model range is a little like unravelling The Da Vinci Code, with the engines, transmissions, even how many seats, changing across a single trim level.
The price range kicks off with the entry-level LS, which is offered in front-wheel drive (FWD), with five seats and a five-speed manual ($28,750). Opting for the continuously variable transmission (CVT) however, earns you two bonus seats, for seven in total ($30,500). Finally, the LS is also available with all-wheel drive (AWD), seven seats, a CVT and a bigger engine ($33,500).
Standard fare across the LS trim level includes an Apple Car Play/Android Auto-equipped 7.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit that will pair with your iPhone, and also features a CD player and DAB digital radio. It can be controlled via the steering wheel buttons. The Bluetooth-equipped sound system is matched with six speakers.
You'll also find 18-inch alloys, cloth seats, dual-zone climate control (ac), a 12-volt charge point in the boot and a shark-fin antenna. You can also expect cruise control, power windows and keyless entry. Opt for the automatic version, however, and you'll add electric exterior mirrors, while choosing the AWD model adds an electric parking brake.
The Mitsubishi Outlander's exterior design might not push the envelope, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The Outlander range then steps up to the LS Safety Pack, available with a CVT only. The LS Safety Pack is available with five seats ($32,000), or you can opt for a bigger petrol engine and AWD (upping the cost to $35,000), or you can add two seats for seven in total ($36,000). Finally, the LS Safety Pack can be equipped with a diesel engine and a conventional torque converter six-speed automatic, along with seven seats ($39,500).
Standard fare across the LS Safety Pack line-up includes the same features as the LS, but adds forward collision warning with AEB, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and auto high beams. You'll also add automatic windscreen wipers and headlights and an electrochromatic rearview mirror.
By comparison, the Outlander range tops out with the seven seat Exceed model, available in a CVT-equipped petrol version ($44,000) or a diesel model paired with a conventional automatic transmission ($47,500). Standard fare includes a sunroof, leather seats, push-button start and Mitsubishi's clever parking system that will slam on the brakes if it thinks you're going to have an accident while parking.
All models arrive with front and rear cup holders and room in the doors for bottles. Weirdly, there's no GPS sat nav anywhere in the line-up, but that's easily fixed using your phone's map system that will display on the screen.
There are seven colours on the Outlander's palette, including White, Starlight Pearl (a kind of beige) Cool Silver Metallic, Titanium Metallic (a grey), Black Pearl, Ironbark Metallic (brown) and Red. There's no blue, orange or green available.
The above are Mitsubishi's retail prices (or RRP), but you can and should haggle at multiple dealers to see how much wriggle room they can offer on the official price list.
Is there anything interesting about its design?
The Mitsubishi Outlander's exterior design might not push the envelope, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it's a simple, un-fussy body design with a bold and aggressive grille and 18-inch alloy wheels even from the entry level model.
Inside, every interior option is clean and simple.
It's diminutive for a potential seven seater, too, with the Outlander's dimensions measuring a sprightly 4695mm in length and 1810mm in width - shorter and thinner than other full-time seven seaters.
Inside, every interior option is clean and simple, and all feature the same 7.0-inch touchscreen taking centre stage in the middle of the dash. Deeper pockets will earn you leather wrapped seats and more technology options, but the basic elements remain the same: safe, uncluttered and easy to understand.
How practical is the space inside?
Your boot space and luggage capacity depend heavily on whether you've got five or seven seats, and on how many passengers you're carrying.
Boot space is pegged at 477 litres in five-seat models, though that number climbs to 1608 litres with the 60/40 rear seat folded flat.
The exterior dimensions don't change when you opt for a seven seat model, so cargo space is restricted to 128 litres. But as you can see in our interior photos the third row is split 50/50, so you can drop some or all of the seats to increase your luggage space to a maximum 1608 litres.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
In terms of engine specs, the entry level Outlander LS is offered with a 2.0-litre petrol engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission or CVT, with power fed to the front wheels. The engine produces 110kW (147 horsepower) at 6000rpm and 190Nm from 4200rpm.
Stepping up to an AWD model (a light-duties, no low-range 4WD) requires a bigger engine size, with Mitsubishi's 2.4-litre petrol unit producing 124kW (166 horsepower) at 6000rpm and 220Nm at 4200rpm. The bigger engine will use a claimed/combined 7.2L/100km (expect that number to climb if you're heavy on the gas). Both petrol engines offer the same 1600kg towing capacity.
Whoever coined the phrase, 'You get what you pay for' could have been describing the Outlander range.
The sole diesel engine on offer is a 2.2-litre motor with output ratings of 110kW at 3500rpm and 360Nm from 1500rpm paired with a six-speed torque converter automatic. Fuel use is a claimed (combined cycle) 6.2L/100km, with towing specifications pegged at 2000kg - enough to shine in most towing reviews, but a long way off the 3500kg industry best. Diesel-equipped vehicles are 4-wheel drive only. There is no LPG model in the line-up, though the Outlander is also available in a yet to be updated hybrid model.
The Outlander range requires a 0W-20 oil type and oil capacity is pegged at at between 3.9 and 4.5 litres. Gross vehicle weight ranges from 1985kg to 2280kg. For common issues, including diesel problems, turbo problems, timing belt or chain issues, as well as transmission problems, please see our Mitsubishi Outlander problems page.
How much fuel does it consume?
The Outlander's 2.0-litre petrol engine's fuel consumption is pegged at a claimed/combined 7.0L/100km with a manual transmission, and drops to 6.8L/100km with the CVT. It requires 91RON fuel and its fuel tank capacity is 63 litres.
Step up to the bigger 2.4-litre petrol engine and your fuel economy numbers climb, too, with the official claim at 7.2L/100km, with that engine paired exclusively with the CVT. It will also sip 91RON fuel and has a slightly smaller tank, at 60 litres.
The 2.2-litre diesel fuel consumption is an official 6.2L/100km, with that engine linked with a conventional six-speed torque converter automatic. It's packing a 60-litre tank.
What's it like to drive?
Whoever coined the phrase, 'You get what you pay for' could have been describing the Outlander range. If you're counting your pennies, then you'll find yourself behind the wheel of the manual LS, complete with spongy but forgiving five-speed gearbox, largely underwhelming 2.0-litre engine, offering adequate acceleration and a drive experience best described as no-frills.
There's nothing obviously wrong with the way the budget offerings drive, and the inclusion of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, accessed via a large touchscreen, adds plenty of entertainment options to while away long drives. But there's little in the way of engagement or excitement, a feeling not helped by the steering which feels disconnected from the action going on beneath it.
Regardless of the model, the ride (delivered by MacPherson front, multi-link rear suspension) is tuned for comfort.
The bigger petrol engine improves matters, but the pick of the bunch is the top-tier diesel engine which lives exclusively in the most expensive model, the seven seat Exceed ($47,500). The extra torque offers more accessible performance, helping push the Outlander through traffic and up to speed noticeably quicker than the petrol models. You still won't be winning any 0-100km/h sprints, but it feels quicker than its siblings - helped by the sharp-shifting six-speed automatic, instead of the CVT in the cheaper models.
But regardless of the model, the ride (delivered by MacPherson front, multi-link rear suspension) is tuned for comfort, the seats are wide and comfortable, the vision is fine and it's easy to drive and park. In fact, it feels considerably smaller than other dedicated seven seaters. And that's because it is, with the CX-9 for example, stretching a little over 5.0m, compared to the Outlander's 4.7m.
Road noise is kept to a minimum, except the diesel engines aren't the most refined we've driven. The turning circle is an official 10.6 metres. With 190mm ground clearance, the AWD equipped vehicles offer some level of off-road ability and a decent wading depth, but don't expect the best off-road reviews from what is essentially a city-based SUV.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
The entire Outlander range was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested in 2014, owing to standard safety features including seven airbags (dual front, side and curtain airbags, as well as a driver's knee airbag), Hill Start Assist, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
Safety Pack models add AEB, active cruise control and lane departure warning, while Exceed models offer blind-spot monitoring, a surround-view parking monitor and Mitsubishi's 'Misacceleration Mitigation System', which will hit the brakes if it senses an impending accident while you're parking.
All Outlanders are equipped with two ISOFIX attachment points, one in each window seat in the back, so you can fit two baby seats.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?
All Outlanders are covered by Mitsubishi's five-year/100,000km warranty, and in terms of service costs, require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 15,000kms. Each also arrives with four years complimentary roadside assistance and three years capped price servicing, with service and maintenance costs published on Mitsubishi's Australian website.
An owners manual and a full-size spare is included in the standard features list, and the Outlander range received a 2.5 out of five reliability rating from US based research company J.D. Power. The injection of fresh technology will likely assist with resale value, too.
For common faults, problems and issues, including reliability issues, please see our Mitsubishi Outlander problems page for owner feedback.