Mitsubishi knew it needed a strong all-new Outlander to take-on the established stars in the medium SUV segment and it has delivered with the all-new lineup. Seems Australians are voting with their wallets and in May, Outlander achieved its all-time highest monthly sales volume.
Size is the determining factor and for many family buyers in this segment, the Mitsubishi Outlander gets the nod because full-size SUVs are just too big/intimidating/difficult to park. But where the previous Outlander was viewed as being a tad too ‘basic’, Mitsubishi has responded with a nice, premium-feel interior and all-round improvements in refinement.
Mitsubishi Outlander Overview
Over three weeks Carshowroom.com.au tested a five-seat Outlander ES 2WD (2.0-litre petrol), mid-grade LS diesel (AWD) and range-topping Aspire (AWD) with the 2.4-litre petrol engine. That’s a nice cross-section of the eight-model Outlander range.
ES is the entry model (2WD with the 2.0-litre petrol engine or AWD with the 2.4-litre petrol engine). Mid-grade LS can be had in 2.0-litre (2WD), 2.4-litre and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (both AWD), while the range-topping Aspire is exclusively AWD (2.4-litre petrol or 2.2-litre turbo-diesel).
Mitsubishi Outlander Engine
Arrival of the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (developed in-house by Mitsubishi) is a great addition to the Outlander lineup and more than makes up for the demise of the V6 petrol engine. In fact the turbo-diesel is Carshowroom.com.au’s pick of the Outlander powerplants.
Opening the batting is a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which drives through either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic. The 2.0-litre petrol is good for 110kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 190Nm at 4200rpm. Our 2WD CVT ES Outlander test car scored 6.6l/100kms for fuel consumption.
Outlander AWD petrol employs the 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine with 124kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 220Nm. Both those figures are up slightly on the previous generation but fuel consumption has been impressively cut by 20 per-cent to 7.5l/100kms.
But the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel was our favourite after these three back-to-back tests (the diesel Outlander runs a conventional six-speed automatic transmission). Maximum power is 110kW at 3500rpm and peak torque of 360Nm is delivered from 1500rpm. For fuel consumption, you can chalk-up 5.8l/100kms.
Mitsubishi Outlander The Interior
No doubt about it, Mitsubishi’s stylists have worked wonders inside the all-new Outlander, bringing much-needed modernization and a definite shift up-scale. Unlike the previous model, the latest Outlander presents nicely with high-gloss piano-black trim highlights, soft-touch materials and a modern look.
Speaking of upscale, Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire doesn’t fall short with leather seats (heated fronts) and timber accents. Our Aspire grade test car came with the ‘Premium’ option pack ($5,500) highlighted by Mitsubishi’s excellent Advanced Driver Assistance System with Adaptive Cruise Control plus a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system with seven-inch touch-screen.
Over the entry-level ES, mid-grade Mitsubishi Outlander LS scores a colour LCD display, 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system and a rear-view camera.
The nicely-sized three-spoke steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach and instruments are Mitsubishi's usual conventional-but-effective layout.
Both second and third row seats split-fold so you can configure different combinations of passengers and luggage.
Mitsubishi Outlander Exterior & Styling
Previous Mitsubishi Outlander owners may be ‘miffed’ the all-new model loses the two-piece tailgate. Here’s the thing – yes it’s convenient, but the extra hardware etc added weight so, in the quest for optimised fuel consumption, Mitsubishi’s designers were right to swap to a one-piece design (with a handy low opening for easy loading).
And it’s a similar story at the front-end where the all-new Outlander adopts the latest aerodynamic version of Mitsubishi’s ‘three-diamond’ logo and modern sharp-edged bumpers (also chasing aerodynamics). The result is a drag Cd cut to 0.33.
Modern headlights and (where fitted) modern fog-lights complete a slick overall frontal area while the side gains some ‘muscle’ with prominent front fender flares and a waistline character line.
Clear lense tail-lights blend with a tailgate trim highlight to add width to the rear view.
Mitsubishi Outlander On The Road
The ultimate question for a family car like the Mitsubishi Outlander - how well does the seven-seat layout work? Well with the mighty Cronulla Sharks NRL team in Melbourne to play the Melbourne Storm, we put one of our Outlanders to the test – loading-up our family of four and a family of three.
And it was the older daughters (the 10 year-olds) who opted for the third row. They found it nicely comfortable (the third row seat cushions are 120mm wider than the previous generation and are actually normal-size – not the ‘mini’ seat offered by some seven-seaters). The youngsters also quickly folded the second-row seats for a rapid exit when they spotted a Cronulla Sharks player nearby whose autograph they needed!
Over our high-speed mountain roads test loop it was the diesel Outlander which got our votes for driveability. The 360Nm of the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel seemed to be available at just right the right engine speeds (aided by the conventional six-speed automatic transmission) and while not quite in the European league for refinement, this is certainly the best diesel Mitsubishi has available.
Our 2.4-litre petrol Aspire model Mitsubishi Outlander left a good impression with its extra rubber from the 18-inch wheels sharpening-up the steering response and balance (albeit with some noticeable tyre noise on secondary rural roads). So we suspect the range-topping Aspire diesel ($43,490) would be our pick if we were buying.
Alternatively, the entry-level Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0-litre ES 2WD is the undoubted value leader at $34,990 (automatic transmission). While the 2.0-litre engine/CVT auto worked hard over the hills, for the ‘school-run’ car, this may be the pick of the Outlanders.
Mitsubishi Outlander Challenges
When it comes to refinement, Mazda’s CX-5 stakes strong claims to being the best mid-size SUV and in that comparison, the Mitsubishi Outlander falls just a tad short (particularly the 2.0-litre with CVT which works hard over hills).
Our other negative is the front seats which are a bit flat and unsupportive.
Mitsubishi Outlander Verdict
Three weeks in three Outlanders confirmed to us Mitsubishi is on the right track with its all-new mid-size SUV. Just like Ford ditching the five-cylinder engine in the latest Kuga, Outlander’s model lineup without the V6 reflects the preferences of today’s new car buyers.
Mitsubishi has done a good job improving the Outlander’s looks (well the previous model was a tad ‘plain’) and has worked wonders in providing a family-friendly interior which works well in either five-seats or seven-seats. And while the standard of interior materials and quality is up considerably over the previous model, the impression remains that a few years down the track, your Mitsubishi Outlander will still look great despite the youngsters inevitably mushing ice creams, chocolates, soft-drinks and muddy football/tennis/netball footwear into the seats and
When we first drove the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander at the national media launch we opted for the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with the six-speed automatic as our preferred drivetrain and after these three weeks we’re sticking with that conclusion. The 110kW/360Nm and conventional six-speed automatic combination delivers the best dynamics in our book.
Mitsubishi Outlander The Competition
Honda’s latest CR-V is a Carshowroom.com.au favourite in this segment and its pin-sharp pricing (from $27,490) shows Honda is serious about conquesting sales from the segment leader…
…which would be the Mazda CX-5. Also a Carshowroom.com.au favourite, the CX-5 - like the Honda CR-V - brilliantly mixes family-friendly practicality with sporty driving dynamics enthusiast drivers will appreciate. Mazda’s $27,880 starting price for the CX-5 also makes a clear value-for-money statement.
And we would definitely recommend the latest Subaru Forester. It’s a Subaru so quality is beyond question. And while its starting price of $30,990 isn’t the cheapest in the segment, don’t forget all Foresters are all-wheel-drive.
If you want to lean towards Europe…
Ford’s Kuga has German origins and is a must-include on your shopping list. Unlike its predecessor, Ford has the all-new Kuga very competitively priced from $27,990 and its high-tech inclusions and German design/quality win us over every time we drive one.
Or from Italy (via North America) the Fiat Freemont (starting at $25,990) is Australia’s lowest-priced seven-seater and will surprise with its quality, interior space and driving dynamics.