Mitsubishi ASX VS Mitsubishi Outlander
- Good safety package
- Interior space
- Weak engine/transmission combination
- Iffy ride and handling
- Feeling old
- ES and LS are cheap
- Plenty of space
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard
- PHEV is expensive
- Ordinary CVT
- Diesel servicing costs
You can never be completely sure about the age of a car, but I reckon the Mitsubishi ASX has taken over as the elder statescar after the demise of Holden's Captiva. The old Holden was commissioned by the pharaoh Khufu while the ASX arrived a few years later... in 2009.
Over the last near-decade, the ASX has consistently sold without any major changes. Evolution has been the name of the game (ironically), with now-annual running changes to the ASX to try and keep it fresh.
The compact SUV segment is enormously competitive, with new entrants squeezing the ASX harder than ever. Amazingly, despite being ready for the pension, it still manages to post excellent sales figures when by rights it should be languishing near the bottom - old cars are old news.
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
Mitsubishi must have a thing for old cars. The Lancer, Pajero and ASX are all now much older than most other car companies would tolerate without them being given at least a vigorous going-over, if not replacing them completely.
The Outlander is, comparatively speaking, a spring chicken, at just six years since its launch. That said, the pace of improvements has picked up over the past 24 months as new or updated competitors pile into the market.
This car has a couple of important things going for it; it’s cheap, and it also has a bang up-to-date plug-in hybrid model, the PHEV.
And as the MY19 Outlander has now arrived, virtually straight after the MY18.5, we thought it time for a good old fashioned shakedown.
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
It might be as old as the hills but the ASX keeps going. It's tempting to say it's on life support, but it still does the job, and with the new ADAS package, there's still life in the old dog. It's also cheaper than before, although why you'd want to spend money on the Exceed when you have everything that's worthwhile in the ES ADAS or LS is beyond me. As for the pick of the range, I'd go for the LS - it has the nicer interior trim and better seats.
The ASX will be with us for a while yet - as the newest member of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, whatever was on the way has been delayed. So for now, the ASX is the roomiest, cheapest and among the best-equipped in its class. It's just a shame it has to be so boring.
Does the ASX do what you need or is the old-timer too far off the pace? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The Outlander does trade a bit on being a lifestyle SUV. With a bling exterior and a big interior, it looks like it could pull it off. The only problem is, it's old and it's lagging behind its main competitors on various technologies. The lack of AEB in the lowest ES models is also a bit stingy, but Mitsubishi isn't alone here and it isn't as expensive as its rivals.
It's a very good suburban knockabout if you need the space. The LS with its standard ADAS package and better interior trim is the pick of the range, and I'd go for an all-wheel-drive version to improve the experience.
At its heart, the Outlander is cheap reliable transport. Being able to make choices around engine and seats means there's something here for everyone - if you're willing to look past its age, ride and handling and dull drive.
Can Mitsubishi's old-timer still get away with being cheap(er) and cheerful?
The early cars were a study in minimalism and looked so bare they could have come straight out of an early Grand Theft Auto game, such was the lack of detailing. These later models feature lashings of chrome and a far less timid approach, on the nose at least. The profile has been the same for the better part of a decade, with just the occasional addition like new wheels or wing mirrors.
The 18-inch wheels give the car a good solid stance and the paint looks pretty good these days. But that's pretty much it. The ASX is a box on wheels with doors that clang when you shut them.
Inside has once again had a going-over. The last proper update to the cabin made it a much better place to be. The part-suede interior of the LS is the one to go for, the Exceed's leather merely adds to the overall cheap-feel. The ASX is entirely unpretentious - no soft plastics, no attempt to cover gaps or blanks (the fifth cupholder is now covered by a dodgy-looking cap) and the switchgear is a mix-and-match arrangement to get the job done. Nothing wrong with that, but it might leave an aesthete twitchy.
Mitsubishi won few hearts with the Outlander’s exterior design in 2012, which looked rushed and unfinished. The years since have been kinder to the Outlander, with various styling improvements and a whole new front end arriving a few years ago. The chrome might be a bit much for me, but it's way better looking than it was and it now fits nicely with the rest of the Mitsubishi SUV range. This upgrade also added a new chin and a tweak to the Dynamic Shield (how Captain America is that name?) grille arrangement.
There is no body kit or side skirts, just a clean design save for some mouldings on the doors. The roof rails smarten things up a bit. You can spot the PHEV by the different design on the 18-inch alloys and requisite blue-accented badging.
Interior photos show a conventional interior. The materials are fairly basic - apart from the rather nice fake leather/micro suede seats in the LS - and the cabin is a mess of switchgear from different eras. Again, just like its ASX sibling, there is nothing avant-garde or exciting about the Outlander, which is perfectly fine. But you might want to know.
Straight up, I'll answer a common question - how many seats? The ASX is as near as you'll get to a five-seater in this segment. Interior photos show generous interior dimensions, its boxy exterior design delivering a good size cabin.
Front seat passengers score a pair of cupholders and a decent-sized central bin with a lid on top doubling as an armrest. Rear seat passengers miss out on many things - there's just one seatback pocket but there are two cupholders in the armrest.
Boot space starts with 393 litres, which is near the top of the class. If it's maximum luggage capacity you're after, drop the 60/40 split-fold rear seat and you'll have 1193 litres.
Despite looking like it's on stilts, the ground clearance is 205mm, which is significantly higher than the segment's low-rider, the Mazda CX-3. As you might expect, if you're this low-slung - and without 4 wheel drive, off-road ability is compromised.
The 4.4m long ASX's turning circle is a small-ish 10.6 metres.
Whether a five or seven seater, the Outlander offers reasonable storage and load capacity. Front and second-row passengers score two cup holders for a total of four, which matches the number of bottle holders. Only the LS and Exceed models get seatback pockets on both sides, which is a bit grim.
The cabin is a very decent size given the car's modest footprint. Its interior dimensions mean you can get seven people in, although comfort is relative. I've had four adults and two teenagers ensconced without major problems, although the trip will want to be short.
Third-row access is fraught and made more difficult by the overly complex middle-row folding mechanism, and legroom is tight to say the least. The middle row is not at all bad for leg and headroom, though.
Luggage capacity is dependent on the number of seats in use. With all three rows upright, the boot is a measly 128 litres. That number rises to 477 litres with the third row folded and is the same for a five-seat Outlander. Once both rear rows are stowed - and it's an annoyingly tricky process to fold the second row - you have a hefty 1608 litres.
Price and features
The MY19 upgrade - one of many over the ASX's long and fruitful life - has brought some changes to the price list and a rejig of the available models. There's a new entry-level model, the ES, the mid-point LS and a range-topping Exceed. All pricing is RRP and how much you pay is between you and your dealer. The drive-way price is helpfully listed on the Mitsubishi website, however. Our model comparison features the full price range.
A big change for MY19 is the end of the all-wheel drive (AWD) for the ASX, with just front-wheel drive on offer. So no more AWD option, meaning if you're after an off-road review, you're out of luck.
The new entry-level ES means it's now $1510 cheaper than before for the cheapest ASX.
The ASX now starts at $23,490 for an ES with a manual gearbox and $25,490 for the CVT automatic transmission. The value proposition is pretty reasonable - you get 18-inch alloys, four-speaker stereo, climate control, reversing camera, halogen headlights, leather gear shifter and steering wheel, power folding rear vision mirrors, cruise control, power windows all round, cloth trim and a space saver spare tyre.
The ES ADAS is $26,990 and is essentially the ES with a safety pack, which you can read about in the safety section.
Moving on to the second of the three models, the LS starts at $27,990 and is auto-only - so no manual transmission. To the ES spec you can add keyless entry and start, the 'ADAS' safety package, rear parking sensors, fog lights, auto high beam, auto headlights and wipers and partial leather seats with fake suede inserts (which are rather good, actually).
The $30,990 Exceed adds leather, two speakers to make the speaker number six as well as a sunroof.
The ES and LS comes with a four-speaker sound system while the top of the range Exceed scores six speakers. All of them have the same 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system. What is standard across the range is iPhone and Android integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto respectively. The new screen looks good and the updated software is easy to use, but it's not very well integrated - for instance, Apple CarPlay's clock disappears off the edge of the screen.
There is no sat nav (hmmm) or CD player (far enough, it's 2018), but there is digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a baffling screen that displays your GPS co-ordinates.
There are seven colours available - black, 'Lightning Blue', 'Titanium' (grey, obviously), red, 'Sterling Silver' and 'Starlight' all cost an extra $590 while white is a freebie. Not surprisingly, orange and brown are off the menu.
The Outlander has always been reasonable value, and, with the departure of the Holden Captiva, is probably the best-value seven-seat SUV out there. Though I would argue it already held that title, because the Captiva wasn't much of a car.
Our Outlander model comparison covers the entire range. We'll cover how much each model will cost you using the price list (RRP) pricing. Prices have moved a little bit, and in the case of the PHEV, they've moved a lot - happily, in a southerly direction.
There are 13 distinct models in the MY19 Outlander range, which opens with the manual front-wheel-drive 2.0-litre petrol ES. The ES manual distinguishes itself by being the only of the trim levels to sneak in under the $30k mark, weighing in at $29,290. It's also the only one of the cars with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet.
It's a bit complicated here in the ES arena - once you're past the bargain-basement manual transmission model, you've a choice of 4x2 and AWD versions, and the answer to the how many seats question is many, with five- and seven-seat versions available. The ES CVT 2WD seven seater is $31,290, the ADAS-equipped CVT five seater is $32,790 (more of ADAS in the Safety section), the CVT AWD seven seater is $33,790 and the CVT 4WD ADAS five seater is $35,290. That's slightly bewildering.
But wait, there's more. The plug-in hybrid PHEV jumps to a much cheaper-than-before $45,990, the one with the ADAS package is $47,990. It seems curious you can't have an ADAS AWD seven-seater, but there you go.
The ES specifications include 18-inch rims, a six-speaker sound system, reversing camera, central locking with automatic door lock, climate control air-conditioner, cruise control, leather gearshift and steering wheel, power mirrors, cloth trim and a full-size spare tyre. When you go for the PHEV, you also pick up reverse parking sensors to soften the extra cost.
Things are a bit less complicated in the LS range. The front-wheel-drive LS CVT starts at $33,790, and the AWD CVT at $36,290. The LS also introduces the 2.2-litre diesel with a proper automatic transmission at $39,790. Lastly, the PHEV version is $50,490.
To the ES spec you can add the ADAS package, auto headlights and wipers, partial leather interior with micro-suede inserts, keyless entry and start with smart key, electric front seats, heated and folding power mirrors and an electrochromatic rear vision mirror.
Next up is the premium-packaged Exceed, which comprises the 2.4-litre petrol ($42,290), the 2.2-litre diesel ($45,790), and the PHEV, which is $53,990 - a handy $1500 cheaper than the MY18.5. version.
You can expect 18-inch alloy wheels, and on top of the LS's spec is a sunroof, full-leather interior, front and side cameras, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights, daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, power tailgate (a very useful convenience feature), rear spoiler and rear cross-traffic alert. You do, however, lose the spare tyre.
The same multimedia system does duties across the whole range. The ho-hum infotainment software is supported by Apple CarPlay for iPhone and Android Auto. There is also DAB radio, six speakers and bluetooth. There is no radio CD player (but there is AM/FM and digital), and no inbuilt GPS navigation system. The 7.0-inch touchscreen, familiar from the ASX, is of the "it's alright, I guess" approach to touchscreen hardware. Looks good, though.
The accessories list has all the usual things: over-priced floor mats (a choice of carpet and rubber), nudge bar (but no bull bar), nudge bar with integrated light bar, cargo barrier, tow bar, roof rack and boot liner.
Absent from the list are a snorkel, DVD player, subwoofer, winch, tonneau cover, side steps, anything resembling a luxury pack, rear seat entertainment system, heated steering wheel, seat belt extender, lift kit or park assist. No doubt a good chunk of that list is available from aftermarket suppliers.
Mitsubishi hasn't gone mad with the colours - black, red, silver, pearl white, ironbark (brown) and titanium (grey). Only Solid White is a freebie, the rest are $590 extra. If you want blue or orange, you're out of luck.
Where is the Mitsubishi Outlander built? It's built in Japan.
Engine & trans
The ASX's model simplification extends to the drivetrain. Gone is AWD and diesel, leaving just one petrol engine. The engine specs read fairly adequately - the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder delivers 110kW/197Nm. As with the rest of the segment, engine size and power seems to be legislated to almost these exact specifications.
The 0-100 acceleration performance is best described as leisurely and noisy. The motor, codenamed 4B11, uses a chain rather than timing belt, which should help keep service costs down and improve long-term reliability. The 4B11 is capable of producing a lot more horsepower, but sadly the version of the engine in the Evo X is not available.
On the upside, this simplicity means no turbo problems or diesel problems and in this unstressed spec, engine problems are unlikely to occur with regular servicing.
Power reaches the front wheels through Mitsubishi's ubiquitous continuously variable transmission (CVT). LS buyers can choose a less than bang-up-to-date five-speed manual, but that's probably down to the fact almost nobody buys a manual.
If you're interested in the tank size, oil type and weight, the owners manual lists these things. The CVT seems a hardy if unspectacular unit, so gearbox problems appear unusual in my sweep of the usual internet forums. The CVT's abilities, however, are another thing entirely.
Towing capacity is rated at 750kg unbraked and 1300kg braked.
Just in case you're wondering, there is no LPG (or gas) option.
Across the range there is a choice of four engine specs.
The ES manual starts off with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor developing 110kW and 190Nm of torque. It's the same engine as the smaller ASX and is just as uninspiring. The only Outlander with a clutch, the five-speed manual feeds power to the front wheels only.
The 2.4-litre petrol produces 124kW and 220Nm. Power reaches the road by either the front wheels or all four tyres, and no matter what, you'll need to like a continuously variable transmission. Or not care.
Finally, the PHEV uses both a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 87kW and 186Nm and two 30kW electric motors that bring the total combined power outputs to 120kW and 332Nm. A 12kWh/40Ah battery hides under the boot floor and takes around six hours to charge. Power goes out via all four wheels and a single speed automatic.
As to whether the 4B11 petrol engine uses a timing belt or chain, it's the latter.
None of the Outlanders have startling 0-100 acceleration figures - despite being a relative lightweight in the class, the horsepower isn't there for strong performance. Amusingly, however, I have it on good authority that Wakefield Park race track occasionally sees a brave Outlander owner cutting laps.
For any reported automatic transmission problems, or general problems, complaints or feedback, keep an eye on our owner's page.
Mitsubishi says the ASX's fuel economy figures are 7.6L/100km of 91 RON petrol. Fuel tank capacity is listed at 63 litres. If you can eke out this sticker figure mileage you could squeeze out nearly 800km of range. We found its real-world fuel consumption is closer to 11.5L/100km in a mix of city and highway driving.
You might expect the smallest engine size to use the least fuel, and you'd be right - but only just. The sole 2.0-litre engine-equipped Outlander will use 7.0L/100km according to the official fuel ratings figures.
The 2.4-litre petrol consumption figure is 7.2L/100km in AWD and front-wheel drive guises. Either way, we didn't see less than 11.2L/100km from a 50/50 split of highway and suburban running in a two-wheel drive LS.
The 2.2 diesel fuel consumption figure is listed at 6.2L/100km. Our time with an Exceed diesel saw us almost double that figure in a mix of highway and suburban running.
If fuel mileage is your overall goal, the PHEV is for you - the official figure of 1.7L/100km is scarcely believable, but that's partly to do with the way the figure is calculated. You can expect, in normal driving at least, a 4.0-5.0L/100km result, which isn't bad at all. Charging from a the plug consumes 9.8kWh (so about $3 per charge at 30c/kWh) and Mitsubishi says you'll cover 54km on a charge.
Fuel tank capacity is 63 litres for front-wheel-drive cars, 60 litres for most AWDs and 45 litres for the PHEV.
There is no LPG version or one with a supercharger.
Towing capacity varies. The PHEV can manage 750kg unbraked and 1500kg braked. The 2.0-litre petrol can "only" tow 740kg unbraked and shares the same 1600kg braked ratings as the other petrols. The diesel can haul 2000kg.
The ASX is the archetypal appliance on wheels. It's one of the least involving cars you will ever drive. The inconsistently-weighted steering completely insulates you from the road. It seems to need an extra quarter turn to do anything and that gets tired pretty quickly.
The CVT auto is rudimentary at best, completely outclassed by that in the Honda HR-V. The pronounced rubber band feel is something that takes some time to get used to and requires a keen eye on the speedo.
The all-around independent suspension promises much but delivers the workmanlike performance of a bored politician who knows they're resigning before the next election. Sharp bumps resonate through the cabin and body control is lacking - turn the wheel left to right and it ties itself up in knots. But once you're up to speed, it's a comfortable rider.
The safety systems seem to work reasonably well, although we did find the reverse cross traffic alert to have longer range sensors than the Starship Enterprise.
Like the ASX, driving the Outlander is not an outright pleasure. It's not bad - in fact, it's much better than its smaller sibling - but there's little true joy.
The front-wheel-drive LS is shod in what can only be described as deeply ordinary tyres, and even with such little power available, an immodest throttle application results in (admittedly mild) torque steer. For both of those reasons, I'd strongly recommend an all-wheel-drive Outlander. The Eco mode further dulls the driving experience without a useful effect on the fuel economy.
The front suspension is by McPherson struts, while the rear suspension is a multi-link arrangement. Sadly, this doesn't translate to a particularly accomplished ride and handling setup. Add to that the Outlander's vague electric steering and you've really just got a transport device. Which is perfectly fine if that floats your boat.
Road noise is kept to a minimum - for its faults, the Outlander is quiet in the cruise, no matter which version you choose.
This isn't an off-road review, but we can tell you a few facts about its capability. Unladen ground clearance (mm) is just 190, which isn't super high. The wading depth isn't listed in the official spec sheet and there is no diff lock, so don't get too excited about its river-fording ability. You wouldn't call the rubber all-terrain tyres, either - this car is meant for the city, with some mild weekend excursions thrown in.
If you need to load up a baby car seat, there are three top-tether anchor points and two ISOFIX anchors.
In the interests of transparency and for an opportunity to self-deprecate for your amusement, about a year ago I wrote that the ASX was missing advanced safety systems and was unlikely to see them anytime soon.
That update is called the ADAS package, optional on the ES and the same features are standard on the Exceed. ADAS includes lane departure warning, lane change assist, forward AEB and rear cross traffic alert. You also get auto wipers and headlights and rear parking sensors.
Irritatingly, the LS loses blind spot warning, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert with no apparent way to get them on that spec. The Exceed's package also picks up automatic high beam.
The ASX has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, awarded in 2014.
The Outlander range scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating when it was last tested in 2014.
Standard across the range are seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls and a reversing camera. The ADAS package - optional on all ES models, standard on the rest - includes reverse parking sensors, forward AEB, lane departure warning, active cruise and auto high-beam.
The Exceed also includes lane change warning, lane change assist, around-view camera, reverse cross-traffic alert and blind spot warning.
It seems you can only put a baby seat in the second row. On offer are two ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat anchor points.
The ASX now has a five-year/100,000km warranty with one year of roadside assist in the form of membership to your state or territory's motoring organisation (eg RACV, RACT, NRMA). The three-year capped price servicing regime also includes extending that membership another 12 months.
Each service will cost you $240 which isn't especially cheap nor is it overly-pricey. Annoyingly, the car demands to be returned to the dealer at the 1000km mark for a free look-over.
A quick search reveals an absence of common problems, faults or issues. It seems a pretty solid sort of car, with few common complaints from owners. Resale value is heavily dependent on the model, with early cars not doing as well as later updates.
Mitsubishi offers a five-year/100,000km warranty with four years roadside assist in the form of a motoring organisation membership. Also included is a capped-price servicing regime to limit each service cost.
Maintenance pricing rises as you work through the petrol and diesel range and the the PHEV has its own pricing structure. Over the three years of the program, you'll pay $760 for the 4x2, $846 for the 4x4 petrol and $1150 for the 4x4 diesel. The PHEV's costs amount to $1095.
The warranty also includes a five-year guarantee against rust and similar body faults and covers any reliability issues or defects.
A sweep of the internet forums suggest there are no obvious automatic gearbox problems, diesel problems or any other transmission issues, which figures, given the long history of each of the components.
The owner’s manual features useful information such as oil type, turning circle (10.6m) and top speed.
Resale value is pretty standard, retaining around 50 per cent after three years, although it’s a little lower vs some of its more accomplished - and more expensive - rivals.