Muscling up image
Outlander’s stylish makeover gets thumbs up
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.
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.
A solid and reliable all-rounder that’s worth considering for family transport.
Family benefits: The Mitsubishi Outlander is a