Toyota RAV4 VS Mitsubishi Outlander
- Good safety gear
- Solid and dependable
- Roomy interior
- Poor media system
- Noisy diesel
- RAV4s are not cheap
- Instantly familiar motoring
- Crucial tech update adds phone integration
- Mid-spec and up gets impressive safety kit
- Petrol engines lack punch
- Conventional automatic only available with diesel engine
- Design feels a little plasticky for our tastes
You can't stand still, even if you're often number one on a car buyer's list and your name is Toyota. Reputation is hard-won and easily lost, and the Japanese company hasn't dropped the ball on that score. Toyota's huge and often top-selling range of SUVs has cemented it's place in the Australian motoring landscape.
The evergreen RAV4 recently enjoyed an upgrade to its specification for the MY18 version. The vast bulk of the MY18 upgrade is to do with the inclusion of a comprehensive list of safety gear to keep it in the ring with the all-conquering CX-5. It hardly needed it - the RAV consistently outsells younger, cheaper rivals with the exception of the Mazda.
With prices up on most models and down on a couple, it's time for a thorough review of the RAV4 range.
Read More: Toyota RAV4 Reviews
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
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?
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
The RAV4 remains a dependable medium SUV with a spacious interior, excellent build quality and a good range of features and options. It's also an expensive option when compared like-for-like against its main rivals from Mazda, Subaru, Hyundai and even Volkswagen. None of them have the pedigree or reputation of the Toyota and that's clearly worth money. But some of them will throw in floor mats.
The best of the RAV4s has to be GXL 2.5 petrol AWD. It tows the most, has the best specification level and is the most competitively-priced.
The RAV4 is almost the default choice in the medium SUV market. Where does it come on your list?
It might be a little old-school in places, but the injection of fresh technology and key safety equipment adds plenty of value to the Outlander range.
Has Mitsubishi done enough to the Outlander to tempt you away from a rival? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The segment in which the RAV4 plays is filled with stylish cars, so Toyota has brought a more interesting styling language for its mid-sizer's exterior design. While not aggressive-looking and there's nothing in the way of a body kit or sport edition, each model has a tiny rear spoiler. Racy it isn't, but there's a clear theme emerging on Toyota SUVs from the C-HR to the Kluger.
The different models are distinguished by wheel designs and a bit more chrome and metallic finishes on the exterior.
The RAV4 is a five-door SUV hardtop (no soft top - sorry folks), with a good wide rear tailgate for access to the cargo area.
You can add a bit of ruggedness with a roof rack or side steps from the dealer accessory list. Extras like a bull bar or nudge bar will require you to look further afield, the same for a snorkel, different rims, wheel arch extensions and more comprehensive tool kit.
Where is the Toyota RAV4 built? Our supply comes from Japan.
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.
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.
The RAV's interior dimensions are nothing to sneeze at. While size isn't everything in this segment, it certainly helps. Our interior photos illustrate a roomy cabin with good storage space for passengers and luggage capacity, with particularly good rear legroom.
The question of how many seats is easily answered - the RAV4 is a five-seater, there is no third row seat option. Passengers are well-looked after with places to put their things, with four cup holders, bottle holders in each door and on the GXL and Cruiser a decent sized front centre console. The glovebox easily swallows the owners manual.
The boot size is 550 litres. Dropping the seats obviously brings an increase in boot space dimensions and an increase in volume to 1760L. It's a big space once you remove the standard retractable cargo cover. If you trawl through the accessories list you can also add a rubber boot liner and cargo barrier and the roof is ripe for bike racks with roof rails on the GXL and Cruiser. You can have the dealer fit roof rails to the entry-level GX for a price.
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.
Price and features
There are three trim levels in the RAV4 range - GX, GXL and Cruiser - to which you can then choose fuel type, engine size and number of driven wheels.
How much is a Toyota RAV4? How big is the range? Does Toyota offer drive away pricing? Read on for the answers to these questions, with a price list, specification guide and model comparison from the bottom to the top of the range.
Common to all RAV4s is the 6.1-inch touchscreen which powers the multimedia and sound system, which includes DAB radio, CD player (but no CD changer or DVD player), six speakers (but no subwoofer) and basic smartphone integration via USB or Bluetooth, both iPhone and Android. It works, but the interface is very basic and only baby's fingers can accurately hit the tiny targets.
The media systems still doesn't feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but the GPS navigation system slightly cushions the blow of the sub-par infotainment.
The GX opens the range and is available with all three engines. Standard features include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic LED headlights (no HID, projector or xenons here), fog lamps, auto wipers, Bluetooth, remote central locking, reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, push button start and daytime running lights.
There are five GXs: the 2.0 manual FWD at $29,450 (up $900) and the GX auto FWD at $31,490 (up $900), which is actually a CVT. Stepping up to the 2.5 auto will cost $34,490 (up $840) and is a proper auto. Another step is the 2.2-litre diesel, starting at $39,060 for the manual and finally the GX auto sells for $41,100 (both up a hefty $2350). More than $41,000 for a car with steel wheels strikes me as a little stiff.
The GXL picks up 18-inch alloy wheels (16 and 17 inch alloys wheels are not available), dual zone climate control (as opposed to the standard ac), smart key with keyless entry and start and privacy glass (a darker window tint on the rear windows).
You have a choice of three GXLs, all automatic - the 2.0 FWD CVT for $35,490 (up a modest $100), the 2.5 AWD is $38,490 (up an even more modest $40) and the 2.2 diesel AWD is $41,100 (again, a whopping $2350 increase).
The premium interior pack is available on the 2.0 GXL FWD and adds heated and power adjustable leather seats with two memory positions while maintaining all the good stuff from the rest of the range, including sat nav.
Step up to the Cruiser and you get what is effectively a GXL with the premium package on any of the available engine options plus different wheels, power tailgate and an 11-speaker JBL-branded stereo with MP3 compatibility. Available in just 2.5 petrol automatic for $44,490 (down $910) and 2.2 diesel for $50,500, the Cruiser escapes the MY18 diesel model price rises.
Toyota's website offers drive away pricing, but you'd be mad not to negotiate on those prices.
Not available are a panoramic sunroof, homelink, seat belt extender, heated steering wheel, or tonneau cover.
Across the range, you can choose from eight colours - Glacier White, Liquid Bronze, Hazel, Silver Sky, Graphite (a charcoal grey), Ink (very dark blue), Blue Gem and Atomic Rush (red).
If you pick the GXL or Cruiser, you have two more to choose from: Crystal Pearl (fancy white) and Peacock Black. Sadly, green is off the menu.
As there is a space-saver spare, Toyota does not supply a tyre repair kit. A steel full-size spare is available for $300, but won't match your alloy wheels if you have them.
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 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.
Engine & trans
The range has three engine options and a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains along with three gearbox types. Absent from the range are full EV, plug-in hybrid or LPG versions. Not all engines are available in all specification grades.
The two petrols are both four-cylinder naturally-aspirated engines and available with front wheel drive or AWD. There aren't that many turbo petrol options in this segment, so it's no surprise there isn't one in Toyota's line-up.
The 2.0-litre engine is available in manual or CVT and delivers 107kW and 187Nm. Its towing capacity is listed at 800kg for a braked trailer and 750kg unbraked.
If you want a bit more horsepower or just like a bigger engine size, the 2.5-litre engine is available only in AWD with the six-speed auto. The specifications sheet says it produces 132kW and 233Nm. The 2.5-litre's towing load capacity jumps by quite a lot, with a trailer ratings of 1500kg braked and unbraked at 750kg.
Finally, the 2.2-litre diesel knocks out 110kW and 340Nm. The diesel models are all-wheel drive only but are available in manual if you like a clutch, or a six-speed automatic for those lazy left-leggers out there.
The turbo-diesel, curiously, has less towing capability than the 2.5 petrol, with a 1200kg braked and 750kg unbraked rating. Usually the diesel vs petrol argument is settled on what you can drop on the tow bar, but not here.
Timing belt or chain? The diesel and petrol engines all have timing chains. Each RAV4's battery can be found under the bonnet but is easily accessible. Oil types differ by model, each with varying capacity.
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.
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.
As there are so many drivetrains from which to choose, fuel consumption is a big question.
Claimed fuel economy on the 2.0-litre petrol is rated at 7.7L/100km on the combined cycle, 8.5L/100km for the 2.5 and the diesel is good for 6.7L/100km. If you want to flip that around, you'll get about 13km/L for the 2.0, 11.76km/L for the 2.5 and just under 15km/L on the diesel.
The fuel tank capacity is 60 litres in all variants.
In our testing, the eco mode doesn't do a great deal for the mileage.
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.
The RAV4 is a classic Toyota - well-built, solidly engineered but not particularly exciting to drive. Let's get the complaints out of the way first, because there aren't many.
Road noise is a little higher than on most of the competition, the former owner of the noise crown being the old Mazda CX-5. While it isn't hugely noisy, it isn't as quiet as most of its competitors. The diesel is a bit clattery around town and when you accelerate for, say, an overtake, it really lets you know what kind of fuel it is drinking.
It also took me a while to find a driving position I liked and the electric power steering is a bit inconsistent and hard to read. Lastly, it's not a lightweight, either, with kerb weights between 1465kg and 1635kg and gross vehicle weight between 2000kg (GX manual) 2280kg (Cruiser diesel auto).
There, that's the worst of it out of the way. In every other way, the RAV4 is an agreeable machine. While not fitted with off road tyres, its off road capabiliity is better than most of its rivals. Part of that is down to the centre diff lock (activated with a button) and a fairly traditional sort of all-wheel drive system.
Toyota does not quote a wading depth so proceed with care should attempt a water crossing.
The suspension can handle a fair bit of punishment and puts the car high in the air, with a ground clearance figure of 197mm. Front suspension is McPherson struts and the rear trailing arm double wishbones with coil springs, which is fairly advanced but mighty good for on-road manners and ride quality. Live rear axle fans will have to look at the Fortuner.
The turning radius is reasonably tight, resulting in a turning circle of 10.6m
None of the models are known for its 0 100 acceleration or top speed performance, but obviously it's not that kind of car. The 2.0-litre in either manual, CVT (FWD) or auto (AWD) form is never going to set the world alight and if you want to tow even a modest load, it's not for you.
Stepping up to the 2.5 petrol fixes the towing issue and, bizarrely, tows the most of any of them. It's a refined, unstressed unit and when matched with the unfussy six-speed automatic, is probably the most relaxed - if not cheapest to run - of the RAVs.
The turbo-diesel is punchy and economical but, ultimately, it would probably come down to range requirements - you won't have to fill up as often in the diesel but it is also the most accomplished on the highway. As mentioned, it's a little noisy and its figures aren't earth-shattering when viewed in comparison with Hyundai, Mazda and Volkswagen.
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.
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.
The recent MY18 update brought with it a stack of safety features in additional to the seven airbags, ABS, stability control (VSC), traction control and brake assist.
All RAVs now come with Toyota Safety Sense which includes a basic lane assist technology in the form of lane departure warning. Safety Sense also adds auto high beam, forward collision warning and auto emergency braking (AEB).
The RAV4 GXL and Cruiser variants pick up a blind spot monitor system.
As far as park assist technology goes, you have reverse cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors depending on the model.
Your baby car seat can be fitted using the three top-tether anchor points or two ISOFIX points.
The RAV carries a five star ANCAP safety rating, the highest available.
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.
Toyota offers a standard three year/100,000km warranty, which will give you peace of mind should any problems or issues arise. Toyotas enjoy high reliability ratings and the RAV4 is no different, but should any defects or problems arise, the dealer network is extensive. An extended warranty is also available from dealers.
As for servicing, service cost is dependent on the model and capped price servicing is available, including labour, oil, fluids and some parts. Service intervals come in at six months or 10,000km. Servicing for the petrol-engined cars is capped at $180 per service and for the diesel at $240 per service.
Toyota offers a service called Express Maintenance at some dealers, which puts your car at the front of the queue to get it done while you wait.
Resale value is strong, with few common faults reported in the usual places. Occasional transmission issues or automatic transmission problems have been reported, but generally in older models before 2010. The same goes for power steering issues, but again, these appear on earlier versions of the car. A second hand RAV4 is rarely a bad buy when properly looked after and serviced.
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.