What is the Mitsubishi Outlander?
This is Mitsubishi’s “soft-roader”, a more refined and slightly smaller proposition than the ground-attack Shogun. An all-new model arrives at the end of the year, but this one remains available in the interim. A recent revamp gave it the deep front grille that has become the characteristic Mitsubishi face – add four rings and it could be an Audi – and there is just one engine: Mitsubishi’s own 177bhp 2.3-litre diesel.
That is significant first because it has replaced the outdated VW diesel of the original Outlanders and second because, together with the distinctive nose styling, it’s the key difference between the Outlander and the Peugeot 4007 and Citroën C-Crosser models that Mitsubishi builds in Japan for the two French brands.
Prices start at £21,418 for a front-drive-only Outlander and peak at £31,029 for a top-spec 4×4 with automatic transmission. Usefully, all versions have seven seats.
You can go off-roading in a 4×4 Outlander, but that’s not its primary purpose. With the three-position transmission-mode switch set to locked four-wheel drive, the axles are locked together and little will stand in your way — tyres permitting. But you can’t use that mode on grippy roads because you’ll wreck the transmission.
The other two driving modes are 2WD — front-wheel drive, in fact, which is fine for almost all normal driving — and 4WD auto, which brings in the rear wheels when the front ones are running out of grip. The latter is the best mode for driving enjoyment because it reduces the nose’s tendency to run wide. Thus set, the Outlander combines a comfortable ride with surprisingly keen steering and handling. Fuel consumption suffers a little, though.
The diesel engine is a typically relaxed, muscular unit, but the automatic transmission option damages both pace – 0-62mph takes 11.1 seconds rather than 9.8 – and fuel efficiency, the official CO2 output rising from 169g/km to 189g/km.
You sit high, of course, behind an imposing but plasticky dashboard with clear dials but minimal brand identity. The style is quite racy – Mitsubishi likens the instrument cluster to that of a motorbike – but the surfaces are unremittingly hard. One limitation in driver comfort is a steering wheel that adjusts for height only, not reach.
The rearmost seat, suited to two children, is a simple fold-down bench that disappears flush into the floor when not needed. The main (spacious) back seats can have their backrests flipped forward remotely with the push of a button in the boot, which is very convenient. Trim levels are GX2, GX3 and GX4; the front-wheel-drive model comes only in mid-level GX3 trim, rather than the poverty-spec basic, enabling those more interested in the SUV image than off-road ability to keep up appearances.
The One to Buy
The Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D GX3 4WD
- £25,759 (correct at time of publication)
- 2268cc, 4 cylinders
- 177bhp @ 3500rpm
- 280 lb ft @ 2000rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 9.8sec
- Top Speed:
- 43.5mpg (combined)
- Road Tax Band:
- L 4665mm, W 1800mm, H 1680mm