Muscling up im­age

Out­lander’s stylish makeover gets thumbs up

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

There wasn’t a lot to like about the first Out­lander, Mit­subishi’s open­ing play in the boom­ing com­pact SUV mar­ket. It wasn’t that it was a bad car, it was just plain ugly.

Thank­fully the sec­ond model, the ZG in­tro­duced in 2006, was much more ap­peal­ing to the eye. The com­pany’s stylists made a much bet­ter fist of the ZG than they did with the ear­lier model when they gave it a more mus­cu­lar and chis­elled look.

This one was a good-look­ing unit. The ZG Out­lander boasted a larger foot­print than its pre­de­ces­sor; it had a longer wheel­base and wider track, which be­came ev­i­dent on the road with its poise and sta­bil­ity.

In its base form it had a fiveseat cabin, which was also big­ger and brighter than the old model. It also had a larger boot, which was ac­cessed through a dou­ble tail­gate.

If you needed more ac­com­mo­da­tion, there was the op­tion of seven seats with a third seat at the rear, but be warned it was only for kids, and tack­ers at that.

The in­te­rior is nicely styled with an at­trac­tive dash, and an ar­ray of use­ful stor­age op­tions in the form of cup hold­ers, a cen­tre con­sole, and there was a choice of cloth and leather trim de­pend­ing on the model you chose. Key­less en­try and start was stan­dard on all but the base model.

Two en­gines were of­fered, a 2.4-litre four-cylin­der and a 3.0-litre V6. The four was no fire­ball in the weighty wagon, but the V6 had pretty de­cent per­for­mance if you were pre­pared to cop the fuel con­sump­tion that came with it. A choice of au­to­matic and CVT trans­mis­sions was of­fered, and the fi­nal drive was de­liv­ered via a new se­lectable all-wheel drive sys­tem, with which the driver could choose be­tween 2WD, auto-AWD and 4WD lock.

Elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol be­came stan­dard in 2007, mak­ing the later mod­els more ap­peal­ing from a safety per­spec­tive.

NOW

Me­chan­ics tell us the ZG Out­lander doesn’t have any se­ri­ous flaws; in fact they say it is prov­ing to be quite re­li­able. The en­gines, trans­mis­sions and driv­e­lines all tend to be solid and give lit­tle, if any, trou­ble.

Like all mod­ern en­gines the

Mit­subishi en­gines need reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing in the form of oil and fil­ter changes to keep them in good health.

Be­yond that there’s lit­tle to be con­cerned about.

The four-cylin­der engine in the ZG has a tim­ing chain so there’s no need for ser­vic­ing in that area, as there is on en­gines with belts. The V6, on the other hand, has a cam-tim­ing belt and it needs chang­ing at 105,000km in­ter­vals.

There have been a few re­ports of wa­ter pump and thermo fan prob­lems, but they’re not wide­spread and noth­ing to be alarmed about at the mo­ment.

When road test­ing a car equipped with the CVT trans­mis­sion prior to pur­chase care­fully lis­ten for any odd noises com­ing from the trans­mis­sion and note any shud­der­ing or hes­i­ta­tion on take-off, or vi­bra­tions while un­der­way. While CVTs are likely to be more com­mon in the fu­ture be­cause of their fuel con­sump­tion, ben­e­fits are still some­thing of an un­known quan­tity and there have been a num­ber of costly is­sues with them, though not nec­es­sar­ily in Mit­subishi ve­hi­cles.

Check for ev­i­dence of of­froad use, al­though it’s fair to say that most Out­landers never leave the black­top.

SMITHY SAYS

A solid and re­li­able all-rounder that’s worth con­sid­er­ing for fam­ily trans­port.

Fam­ily ben­e­fits: The Mit­subishi Out­lander is a

solid all-rounder

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