New Mitsubishi Outlander driven
Posted: 31 March 2014 Time: 13:13
Mitsubishi has been a little quiet of late with only a few new introductions over the last couple years, many of which have only been model additions as the brand has tried to stay alive under Imperial’s management. Now the new Outlander has arrived on our shores hoping to make a solid dent in the medium SUV market with its petrol, CVT seven-seater offering.
It’s just the one model for now with a diesel possibly coming in the future. Under the bonnet there’s a 2.4-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol motor, complete with 123kW @ 6000rpm and 222Nm @ 4100rpm. It’s the same engine from the previous-generation Outlander, but it’s been specifically fettled with to improve fuel economy. Mitsubishi claims it’ll do 8.2 litres/100km, but we couldn’t get it below ten on our mostly rural launch route. The CVT gearbox is the only option of transmission. In standard self-shifting mode, it delivers elastic responses and drones somewhat when accelerating. Slip it into manual mode and, with flicks of the paddle shifters, it becomes a much more useable gearbox with snappy responses to triggers and more natural power delivery.
The interior of the new Outlander is an improvement over the previous generation; it feels strongly put together and carries a nice combination of soft-touch and rugged surfaces. All seven seats are covered in leather and it’s spacious wherever you choose to sit. The middle seating arrangement is very flexible as it slides backwards and forward to offer more legroom for the third row of passengers. All the seats fold down to lay out 1608 litres of cargo space.
Something for the kids
On the gadget side you won’t be left wanting as the Outlander is full of all the modern tricks and gizmos. While a Bluetooth, CD, MP3 and USB compatible radio sits up front, the major selling point on the gadget side is the roof-mounted 9-inch DVD screen for the back-seat occupants. Better news still is that it comes with a set of wireless headphones although you can also play the DVD sound through the Rockford Fosgate audio system for the full cinema effect.
Driving and safety aids aren’t skimped on, though. All the passive safety aids are thrown in so you get ABS, EBD, brake assist, Active Stability Control and hill-start assist for those incline pull aways (although it’s not really worth having on an CVT gearbox).
One of the most impressive facets of the Outlander is the ride and drive quality as it feels firm on the tarmac whilst dealing with bumps in a kind-to-the-spine manner. The steering is standard rack and pinion with power assist and is really well weighted for a supremely controlled drive. Whilst we didn’t get to test its mettle on the rougher terrain, Mitsubishi has fitted the Outlander with a three-way variable all-wheel-drive system. Each setting engages the electronics to offer a little more assistance in helping to get out of a sticky situation – from a basic 4×2 mode in Eco to a ‘Lock’ position where the Outlander adopts an electronically controlled 4×4 setting.
The Outlander punts itself against some hefty competitors but aims to offer added value for money over its competitors. According to Mitsubishi, in the medium-sized SUV market the Outlander faces the likes of the Nissan X-Trail, Dodge Journey, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Forester and the Volvo XC60. The Outlander has got decent value for money on its side and buyers who choose it will be pleased they did.
Price - R429 900