Compact seven seat Mitsubishi Outlander SUV a mixed bag
In July of 2014 we put the ranging topping Outlander PHEV Aspire under the microscope to establish whether Mitsubishi had produced a capable hybrid SUV. This time around, we’re looking at the more conventional Outlander LS 4WD with the 2.4 litre petrol engine, to gauge how a “normal” Outlander stacks up as an SUV.
What we like:
- Clever use of space
- Turning circle
- Third row of seats are easy to raise and lower
Not so much:
- Engine performance uninspiring
- Crashy ride
- Some evident short cuts in quality
- Interior a little drab
Price and Equipment
Mitsubishi asks for $36,490 (plus on road costs) of your dollars for an Outlander LS 4WD 2.4 petrol. Standard equipment includes: a multi-function infotainment system with satellite navigation, seven seats, climate control, reversing camera and rear parking sensors and a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter.
Sit down, buckle up and you will begin to notice that the Outlander’s aesthetically unusual dashboard design begins to make a lot of ergonomic sense. The wrap-around design allows all swtichgear to fall easily to hand, and steering wheel mounted controls for the audio along with voice control functionality reduce the driver’s need to lift their hands off the wheel, should they become bored of whatever is playing on the infotainment system.
Speaking of which, the infotainment system with a seven inch touch screen that is shared with a number of other Mitsu models, is reasonably intuitive and the satnav is easy to fathom, with address or point of interest searches quick and painless.
Bluetooth streaming, USB and SD card ports are provided to play one’s favourite tunes. Six speakers are standard and while sound quality is acceptable, the system is a little under powered. There is virtually no distortion, though.
Dual zone climate control is standard on the LS, with ducts throughout the cabin but we felt that like the system in the Pajero, it wasn’t quite strong enough to thwart the heat of an Australian summer.
Storage space is decent, and the centre console is commodious and two-tiered, unfortunately, the top tier isn’t hinged, so it can be a nuisance.
Where the Outlander core strength is passenger accommodation. The front seats are relatively comfortable if a little flat but passengers get ample leg, head and shoulder room. Moving to the middle row, again, head and leg room is more than sufficient-although we suspect shoulder may become a little snug with three across.
The middle bench slides fore and aft, affording the rearmost passengers varying degrees of legroom. We found that the two rear seats were suitable even for gangly teenagers, perhaps only for short journeys.
Strangely, the trim on the last two seats differs from the pseudo leather/cloth combo found on the other five chairs, possibly a sign of not-so-subtle cost cutting.
When not in use, the two rear seats fold flat into the floor by pulling a simple strap. Cargo capacity is rated at 128 with all seats up, with last two rear seats folded away, and the cargo space is rated at 477 and with the final five seats folded away-the middle row had a 60:40 split-full cargo capacity is 1,608 litres.
The overall design is functional, but a little uninspiring and a far cry from the fresh and contemporary lines, colours and textures of new rivals such as the Jeep Cherokee. However, it is reasonably practical and can carry seven people in a compact SUV package.
Engine and Transmission
The 2.4 litre petrol engine fitted to the Outlander develops 124kW @ 6,000rpm and 220Nm @ 4,200rpm and as per many other Mitsubishi models, is mated to a CVT transmission with six artificial steps should one want to change gears themselves.
Performance is best described as relaxed. We didn’t have the opportunity to load up seven people and all their paraphernalia, but our experience suggests that the 2.2 litre turbo diesel shared with the ASX may be a better pick.
As with many CVT transmissions, the CVT drones unremittingly when left to its own devices, and its best to use the steering column mounted paddle shifters. Using the paddles not only cuts the drone, but makes the drive more engaging and, for fuel misers, there’s a small graphical display nestled between the instruments that rates the eco friendliness of one’s driving behaviour and prompts gear changes accordingly.
Throughout our test week, we averaged around 10 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle.
Ride and Handling
The petrol Outlander’s dynamics are notably better than those of its PHEV sibling, yet it still isn’t the most satisfying of drives on the tarmac. The electrically assisted power steering is very light at speed, making the Outlander easy to weave through traffic, while doing so with a slightly artificial feel.
When completing low speed manoeuvers, the steering changes from almost feather light to dead and heavy when approaching full lock.
Rear parking sensors help to navigate out of tricky parking spaces.
The suspension system can lose its composure over patched road surfaces, crashing over undulations shaking parts of the cabin, with the odd small squeak and rattle in toe.
There is also a tri-modal 4×4 system with an Eco, automatic and lock mode should things off the beaten track get a little too sticky.
Mitsubishi has fitted the Outlander LS models with the following active safety equipment: anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, active stability control, traction control, hill start control and a reversing camera.
Passive safety equipment includes: driver and passenger front SRS airbags, driver and front passenger side SRS airbags, curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.
Servicing and Warranty
The Outlander is covered by a five year 130,000 and a capped priced servicing programme which is as follows:
15,000km/12 Months $360
30,000km/24 Months $360
45,000km/36 Months $360
60,000km/48 Months $360
Mitsubishi Outlander LS 4WD Specs
Make and model: Mitsubishi Outlander LS 4WD
Engine type: 2360cc, inline four-cylinder, overhead cam with multi-point electronic fuel injection and INVECS III Smart Logic
Power: 124kW @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 220Nm @ 4,200rpm
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with six steps and steering column mounted paddle shifters.
Fuel consumption: 7.5 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4655mm long, 1800mm wide, 1680mm high and 2670mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: Macpherson strut with coil spring & stabiliser Rear: Multi link
Steering: Electrically assisted Rack and pinion
Country of Origin: Japan