An SUV based on the Lancer is always going to be doggedly reliable
ABOUT the only major thing that the ZG Outlander shared with its predecessor was its name, which was probably for the good.
The ZG was based on a new version of the Lancer but it also looked better, had a choice of engines for the first time and a seven-seat option.
Gone was the front-heavy, clunky look of the first Outlander. The ZG looked more balanced with a much more appealing front.
The ZG engines were a 2.4-litre four-cylinder that delivered 125kW at 6000rpm and 226Nm at 4100rpm; or a 3.0-litre V6 that packed a punchy 162kW at 6250rpm and 276Nm at 4000 revs.
Those who chose the four got a smooth, continuously variable transmission that could also be driven manually through six presettings.
Those who picked the V6 box drove away with a six-speed auto with sequential shift slot. A year after the launch, a five-speed manual gearbox was added.
The Outlander’s cabin won praise for its roominess compared with its rivals and for its boot and useful double tailgate. Visibility was great, with a commanding driving position and lots of glass.
The front seats were comfortable but the rear seats were criticised for being firm and flat. For families needing more, Mitsubishi added a seven-seat option, with the third row proving best left for young children.
On the road the Outlander had impressive performance, even with the four-cylinder, a comfortable ride and a tight turning circle.
The LS opened the bidding and came standard with air, cruise, power mirrors and windows and four-speaker CD sound. The XLS added 18-inch alloys, fog lamps and sixspeaker CD sound. Rounding out the range were the VR and VR-X, which came with electronic stability control.
Mitsubishi generally makes robust and reliable vehicles and the Outlander is living up to that image. We have had few complaints from Outlander owners, which serves to underline the overall durability. Check for a service record to confirm a regular maintenance routine with the oil and filter changes that are the keys to prolonging engine life. Carefully test-drive the CVT for any hesitation, slippage that might suggest a problem with the transmission.
Dual front airbags were standard in all models but the VR-X also had head and side airbags for added safety. The Outlander’s primary safety package included ABS and electronic brake distribution, while the VR and VR-X added the important safety feature of electronic stability control. ANCAP’s crash testing awarded the Outlander four stars out of five.
The four-cylinder CVT model was the fuel miser of the range with a claimed average of 9.5L/100 km and the V6 returned 10.9L/100 km.
Out and proud: Styling was more balanced, with a much more appealing front; the Outlander’s cabin (below) wonpraise for its roominess