Launch of the entry-level two-wheel-drive (2WD) LS model Mitsubishi Outlander sees Mitsubishi joining the rush of manufacturers offering mid-size SUVs (‘Crossovers’) without four-wheel-drive.
Sure you can still opt for all-wheel-drive variants, but the 2WD Mitsubishi Outlander makes perfect sense for families who crave the extra space/versatility of an SUV but don’t need to lug around the hardware/weight of an all-wheel-drive drivetrain when they have no plans to go off-road.
Priced at $28,990 (five-speed manual) or $31,490 (CVT automatic as tested) the Mitsubishi Outlander represents great value and provides extra interior space over Mitsubishi’s newer ASX compact SUV.
Mitsubishi Outlander Overview
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a nicely styled and proportioned mid-size SUV which fits nicely in the company’s lineup between the smaller ASX and mammoth Challenger and Pajero. The Outlander is actually shared with Mitsubishi’s partner Peugeot – sold as the Peugeot 3008.
With class-leading output from its 2.4-litre petrol engine and a versatile interior - with handy rear seat space or a cargo capacity up to 1,691-litres - the Mitsubishi Outlander is popular choice with families or can do ‘double duty’ as a work vehicle during the week.
Mitsubishi Outlander Engine
Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine matches the Renault Koleos’ 2.5-litre unit to be the most powerful vehicles in this sub-segment.
With 125kW at 6,000rpm and 226Nm at 4,100rpm, it’s competent and refined until the upper limit when engine noise does become noticeable.
Drive is to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or – as tested by Car Showroom – a CVT automatic with six-speed sequential manual mode.
Mitsubishi Outlander The Interior
Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD is only available in the entry-level LS specification, but even so this nicely proportioned ‘Crossover’ has some luxury touches like a leather-bound steering wheel and gear-lever plus a nice feel for the robust-looking cloth trim (a big plus for families). There are also lots of storage spaces for odds-n-ends (another plus for families).
Combining the height-adjustable drivers’ seat and the rake-adjustable steering wheel provided a reasonable driving position but we would have liked reach adjustment for the wheel to fine tune things. We liked the simple cruise control and remote audio switches on the steering wheel.
Instrumentation is the conventional two dials and between (illustrated in nice graphics) is the Multi Information Display with fuel consumption information, outside temperature and trip computer.
Audio is a six-speaker CD/MP3 system with USB and auxiliary jacks.
Rear seat passengers score surprising space (amongst the best in this league) and – more good news for families - a center armrest with cupholders (remember this is the entry-level model).
Luggage space is up to 1,691-litres with all seats folded (882-litres with the second row in place) and the Mitsubishi Outlander provides a user-friendly tumble-fold function to quickly stow the second row for cargo loading.
Mitsubishi Outlander Exterior & Styling
Most recent changes to the styling of the Mitsubishi Outlander saw the introduction of Mitsubishi’s current ‘family’ front grille with large air intakes, modern, narrow ‘wraparound’ headlights and sculptured fog light surrounds.
From the side, Mitsubishi Outlander delivers a large glasshouse with a distinctive angled C-pillar and curved wheel arches, while the rear is a modern look with nicely-styled taillights and the handy rear bumper cutout under the tailgate to ease luggage loading.
Wheels on the LS model Mitsubishi Outlander are handsome five-spoke, 16-inch alloys and the spare wheel is a full size.
With an overall length of 4,665mm and a width of 1,800mm, the Mitsubishi Outlander is handily sized and does not intimidate female or first-time SUV buyers.
Mitsubishi Outlander On The Road
Our week with the Mitsubishi Outlander covered the usual range of activities undertaken by most families – the school run, work commute, shopping and a trip to the airport. And of course we ran our usual test route over some high speed, twisty mountain roads.
All Outlanders run the common MacPherson strut/independent multi-link rear suspension set-up. Over the mountains, in wet going, the LS 2WD Outlander was competent enough, although we were a tad surprised by noticeable understeer at relatively low speeds and some mid-corner bumps did test the rebound of the shock absorbers.
Both over the mountains and around town, the 2.4-litre engine and CVT automatic delivered good response throughout the range of engine speeds, although we definitely found swapping to manual mode for the six-speeds improved things in the tight stuff over the mountains.
While the Mitsubishi Outlander isn’t the newest design in the field of 2WD ‘Crossovers’, its refinement levels were a match for the newer kids on the block with just a bit of noise from the engine when asked to work extra-hard.
In the city, all of our drivers had no trouble parking thanks to excellent weighting for the power steering and the Mitsubishi Outlander’s 10.6-metre turning circle.
And we must compliment Mitsubishi for its clever rear bumper cutout which made loading cumbersome luggage at the airport less challenging than some rivals.
Mitsubishi Outlander Challenges
We only deduct points from the Mitsubishi Outlander on two fronts.
At the limit through the twisty stuff, the chassis is starting to show its age and isn’t quite as sharp as some of the latest arrivals. And – also when compared with newer rivals – the interior trim is lacking in luxury looks and feel,
Mitsubishi Outlander Verdict
While not the newest design in this segment, the Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD stacks-up thanks to its powerful engine and that versatile, spacious interior. Mitsubishi has also ensured it’s right at the sharp end of the field for value-for-money.
Mitsubishi Outlander The Competition
The budget-priced, 2WD ‘Crossover’ segment is one of the most intense with lots of credentialed new arrivals. Only Renault’s excellent Koleos with its 2.5-litre engine matches the output of Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre fitted to the Outlander but French flair carries a price premium.
Of the 2.0-litre brigade, the Nissan Dualis is a good looker and provides impressive interior space, while the Kia Sportage and Hyundai ix35 are both excellent new arrivals in 2010.
Suzuki offers the 2.0-litre SX4 in 2WD – it’s a lower-priced alternative to the Outlander, but it’s not quite as refined.
Sharp price; versatile, roomy interior; powerful engine
Interior trim a bit ‘plasticey’; not segment-best driving dynamics