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Mitsubishi Outlander 2021 review: Exceed AWD petrol

We like the Outlander's proud stance

Mitsubishi’s Outlander has been a feature in the Australian market for close to two decades with this third-generation version on sale from 2012.

Mitsubishi has made clever exterior tweaks and additions to the features list over the years to keep it current and a real competitor in a packed medium SUV market.

Its space, versatility and value-for-money proposition has caught the eye of many an Australian family and this week the top-of-the-range Exceed came to visit with ours.

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✅ What does it look like?

The Outlander’s blade grille and chrome definition add interest to an otherwise restrained exterior. We liked the bold tail-light cluster, proud stance and the fact that unlike more boxy competition, this lady is not afraid to lead with her nose.

The Outlander’s blade grille and chrome definition add interest to an otherwise restrained exterior. The Outlander’s blade grille and chrome definition add interest to an otherwise restrained exterior.

The interior feels quite demure, too, probably courtesy of a darker colour palette. The high gloss piano black inserts may attract the dust but offer a nice contrast, as does the stitching on the leather seats and around the gear shift.

The combination 8.0-inch touchscreen with the climate controls below is a tidy central feature and well positioned for inputs from the driver.

Less appealing though are the plastic blanks holding the place of feature buttons – just makes me feel like I’m missing out on something.

✅ How does it drive?

Our Exceed AWD featured Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine. The unit is good for 124kW of power (which doesn’t arrive until 6000rpm) and 220Nm of torque.

What this delivers is a car that gets the job done but won’t give you a thrill while doing it.

The Outlander is a comfortable and uncomplicated drive with a new 'Super All Wheel Control' (S-AWC) system that further enhances its reputation for reliability.

The Outlander is a comfortable and uncomplicated drive. The Outlander is a comfortable and uncomplicated drive.

The system works by sending torque to each rear wheel when needed and can also brake each rear as required, which gives you better handling and stability on all surfaces.

The Outlander has to work hard, especially around the 2000rpm mark, and will make slow progress up steeper inclines unless you are strong on the accelerator.

It has no such issues once at speed though and is also pretty easy to manoeuvre around tight corners and in and out of car parks.

Given its size, the Outlander is pretty good on the juice. We got around 7.8L/100km during our week behind the wheel which is close enough to the claimed 7.2L/100km for my liking.

✅ How spacious is it?

One of the Outlander’s better selling points is being able to fit seven seats into a medium SUV. Granted this third row is better suited for occasional, rather than everyday use, but it is handy to have especially if, like us, you often have the kids’ friends in the back.

My girls declared it a little bit squishy before giving it the tick, but I wouldn’t be rushing to seat your mother-in-law back there.

One of the Outlander’s better selling points is being able to fit seven seats into a medium SUV. One of the Outlander’s better selling points is being able to fit seven seats into a medium SUV.

The 60/40 split-folding middle row, with its improved seat shape and reclining back, is really comfortable, with rails that allow you to increase or decrease leg room if needed.

The sunroof in the Exceed impedes a touch on head room but not enough to really notice.

  • The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres. The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres.
  • The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres. The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres.
  • The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres. The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres.
  • The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres. The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres.
  • The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres. The boot is a family-friendly 477 litres.

The boot is quite family-friendly. too, its 477 litres easily taking a pram and the weekly shop, opening up to 1608 litres with the second row stowed flat.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

Seven seats is not the only trick the Outlander has up its sleeves. This vehicle is extremely popular with families and its easy to see why. It is a no-drama, low maintenance offering which doesn’t have to be cajoled into the next activity.

Sometimes its good to appreciate the little things, like the Outlander’s climate control dials that can be changed on the go, deep door pockets that actually hold water bottles, dedicated rear air vents so kids won't fuss about how hot they are, and a steering wheel that is adjustable for height and reach.

The Outlander features deep door pockets that actually hold water bottles. The Outlander features deep door pockets that actually hold water bottles.

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tethers if you are carrying little people and seat pockets to hold their bits and pieces.

Storage-wise up front, there are also two cupholders and a flip-down centre armrest, but a shelf for a phone or keys would be handy.

Interestingly, too, we were able to raise the boot lid automatically from inside the car or via the key fob but found it didn’t raise itself if engaged via the rear lock. It was happy enough shutting automatically, though. Weird.

✅ How safe is it?

The Outlander’s maximum five-star ANCAP rating dates back to 2015 but Mitsubishi has ensured it is equipped with the latest safety offerings (with the exception of cyclist detection, that is).

The Exceed is fitted with a 360-degree camera, and features blind spot warning, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

It also has a cool low-speed intervention feature which brakes the car automatically if you accidentally press the accelerator while too close to an obstacle in front or behind the car.

There are seven airbags (no curtain airbags in the third row), auto low beam headlights and forward collision mitigation. Only the front seats have seat belt reminders, so you'll have to do the spot check with the kiddies.

✅ What’s the tech like?

So, the Outlander Exceed comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity with super handy voice activation.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen fronts the multimedia and satellite navigation systems. An 8.0-inch touchscreen fronts the multimedia and satellite navigation systems.

There's a decent 8.0-inch touchscreen that fronts the multimedia and satellite navigation systems. The set-up itself is quite common sense and intuitive but the touchscreen operation can be a little crotchety and often needs more than one stab to prompt a response.

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The petrol Exceed usually starts at $43,290 before on-roads with a five-year/100,000km warranty. Mitsubishi is currently offering drive-away deals with an extended seven year warranty and two years free scheduled servicing. 


The Wrap

The Mitsubishi Exceed offers a well-equipped, well-priced proposition with the versatility of seven seats and a reputation for reliability. It is not as funky or even as exciting as some of its competitors, but it doesn’t need to be, its clearly doing enough to impress.

Likes

Versatility of seven seats
Relaxed nature
Features list

Dislikes

At times lacklustre performance
Crotchety touchscreen
Fiddly auto boot

Scores

Vani:

3.5

The Kids:

3.3

$43,290

Based on new car retail price