Renault Koleos VS Mitsubishi Outlander
- Huge interior
- Good safety package
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Life's foot-operated park brake
- Top model's a bit pricey
- ES and LS are cheap
- Plenty of space
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard
- PHEV is expensive
- Ordinary CVT
- Diesel servicing costs
Renault's Koleos doesn't quite know what it is. This second-generation SUV from the French giant is also the second one built largely around the Nissan X-Trail, taking much of its mechanicals. The French flair, a key purchasing decision for many Renault owners, must come from the design, ride and handling, right?
In a market swamped with cars of this type, using a donor car is an economically sensible way to get things done. The risk is turning out a car with the badge of one manufacturer on the front but the character of another behind it.
|Fuel Type||Premium 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|
The Koleos is a sort of left-field choice, really, and that's probably not very fair. It's a proper mainstream car from a manufacturer that has been around longer than most, built on a proven platform.
It is, however, different enough for you to take notice. It looks good, has a bit of presence when viewed from either end and you can say you've got a Renault. It's only problem is it seems to be having and identity crisis.
Are you tempted by a proven SUV package with a Gallic point of difference? Tell us what you think in the comments section 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?
Like Batman, the Koleos is a product of its origin story. That's not to say it's a weird orphan billionaire with a rubber fetish (although it has tyres, I guess) but that it was always going to turn out this way.
At first glance, it looks like a Renault, especially from the front, with the big C-shaped daytime running lights. Once in profile, though, it could be pretty much anything but it becomes more Renault at the rear again. So it stands out front and back but not so much from the side, which is unusual for a Renault. But then, it's a Nissan-based car built in South Korea, so it was always going to be a compromise.
Interior images show a mainstream design with a decent-sized screen but little in the way of French detailing. I'm a fan of Renault interiors generally even if they're not ergonomic masterpieces. This interior is certainly not as brave as its compatriot, the recently-arrived Peugeot 5008.
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.
For a Renault, the Koleos has a fairly conventional interior partly because it's based on another car. That means it has proper cupholders (the French are really bad at those), two up front and two in the back. Each door has a bottleholder, for a total of four.
Front seat passengers do very nicely indeed, with some models adding things like armrests for extra lounge chair comfort. The rear seat is spacious, with good leg and headroom, with room for three kids.
Boot space is generous - the Koleos is a big car. The luggage capacity starts at 458 litres, rising to 1690 litres with the rear seats down. The load area is a good size and shape, the packaging maximising the impressive interior dimensions. The glove box is large enough to hold the huge owners manual.
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
As always with our comparison articles, every price you see is straight from the manufacturer's price list and are RRP. Of course, how much you actually pay is between you and your dealer.
There are three models in the Koleos range - Life, Zen and Intens.
Pricing kicks off at $30,990 for the Life. For that you score 17-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, remote central locking, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers, cornering lamps, cloth trim, power windows, heated and powered rear vision mirrors and a space-saver spare.
The multimedia system features the usual AM/FM radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Life doesn't have a navigation system, so your phone's GPS sat nav will have to do, which is fine if you've got data.
Next up is the Zen starting at $35,490 for the front-wheel drive (FWD) and $37,990 for the all-wheel drive (AWD). To the Life's spec list you can add 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start (via Renault's smart key card), front parking sensors, heated and cooled front cupholders, electric driver's seat, sat nav, heated front seats, fake leather seats, sunroof, electric parking brake and roof rails.
The Intens is available in petrol ($44,990) and diesel ($47,490). On top the Zen spec you can expect a 12-speaker stereo, side parking sensors, heated and ventilated electric front seats, auto LED headlights, partial leather seats, power tailgate and auto parking.
Accessories include floor mats, at an eyebrow-raising $118.72, coloured key shells, boot liners, a towbar for over a grand, cargo barrier, bicycle carriers and the evergreen mudflap.
Not available are a bull bar or nudge bar or a body kit - unless you count the side steps.
There are eight colours - 'Mineral Beige', 'Metallic Black', 'Meissen Blue', 'Metallic Grey', 'Marron Red', 'Ultra Silver' and 'Universal White' all cost $880 extra. Only 'Solid White' is a freebie. McLaren Renault fans will be disappointed there's no 'Papaya Orange' option.
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
There are two engines available in the Koleos range. The Life, Intens, Zen and S Edition (a limited run version of approximately 360 units, based on the Intens) are all available with Renault-Nissan's 2.5-litre petrol automatic.
The Life is 4x2 only while the Zen and Intens are 4x4 only. The diesel is only available in the Intens.
The 2.5-litre produces 126kW/226Nm, propelling the non-AWD cars from 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds, which is reasonable acceleration performance for a car of this size and weight (1552kg). The 56kg heavier AWD petrols will reach the ton in 9.8 seconds.
The turbo-diesel is a 2.0-litre motor and despite the smaller engine size than the petrol, puts out more power at 130kW and a substantially more torque at 380Nm. Zero to 100km/h is dispatched in 9.5 seconds.
Whether front or AWD, petrol or diesel, the Koleos comes not with an automatic transmission but Nissan's favoured continuously variable transmission (CVT). There is no manual gearbox or LPG option.
According to Renault's specifications, the braked towing capacity is rated at 2000kg for the petrol and, curiously, 1650kg for the diesel. That does seem strange given the extra horsepower and torque, but there you are.
As to whether the engines feature a timing belt or chain, both are lower maintenance chain-driven engines. As yet, there is not a battery powered or hybrid version.
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.
As usual, the official fuel consumption figures are off by around 30 percent, which is about right. On the upside, the Koleos drinks only standard 91 RON for the petrol.
The two-wheel drive petrols will return 8.1L/100km while the AWD petrols a little more at 8.3L/100km. Diesel mileage is about 25 percent better at 6.1L/100km.
Given those figures, fuel economy is hardly going to decide whether you go for the 4x4 versions. A quick review of previous Koleos stories yields figures of 10.9L/100km for the heaviest petrol, the Intens. I recently drove the 4x2 Life and got just over 11.0L/100km.
Fuel tank capacity is the same petrol vs diesel at 60 litres.
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 Koleos, as I've already established, is built on the X Trail's guts and really feels very similar. That means if you're buying the Koleos hoping it feels like a Renault, you're out of luck. And that's not because it can't be done, it just didn't make much sense to do so. It's different to the X-Trail, but not massively so. It doesn't feel French.
Part of that is the CVT. While not the worst of its type fitted to a car in recent times, it makes the Koleos feel slow and a bit dim-witted. In normal driving it's perfectly fine and the noise suppression keeps the lawn mower effect to reasonable levels, but ask a little more of the transmission and it's not really ready for it.
And that's a great pity. While it's no ball of fire, it handles tidily, isn't actually as slow as it feels and is otherwise a pleasant car to be in.
Another complaint are the Life's tyres - they're not very good and could do with a bit more grip in damp conditions. Felt very odd to be losing traction accelerating gently out of corners.
The Koleos' off road ability isn't on trial here, but it's more than competent in the rough and slippy stuff when fitted with the AWD system. It certainly has the suspension travel, 21cm ground clearance and cosseting ride in all specs that you might expect from an off-roader.
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.
The Koleos leaves South Korea with six airbags, ABS, stability (ESP) and traction controls, brake force distribution, forward AEB, reverse camera, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. There are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether restraints.
The Zen and Intens also feature blind spot warning and side parking sensors.
Since its 2016 introduction, ANCAP has not got around to crash testing the Renault for a safety rating. EuroNCAP has and awarded a five star rating in September 2017 with a safety spec identical to the Intens.
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.
To cover off any problems or issues, Renault offers a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and up to four years' roadside assist. Service costs are capped for the first three years and on both petrol and diesel, service intervals are an impressive 12 months/30,000km.
Pricing for the first three services is capped at $349 for the petrol and $369 for the diesel. That's a genuine bargain, with extra costs like filters laid out on the website.
As with its X Trail sister car, reliability appears to be excellent with few common faults. A run around the usual internet forums didn't uncover any common engine problems.
Resale value is slightly below that of its Japanese donor car, but depreciation doesn't seem as steep as some other Renaults.
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.