MITSUBISHI GIVES SUV A NEW LOOK, INSIDE AND OUT
MITSUBISHI'S mid-sized Outlander has just undergone a complete makeover.
The changes are so extensive, the company claims the car feels and drives like an entirely new vehicle.
That may be so but Outlander is still up against some stiff opposition, with a price tag that makes the job harder.
Its top three competitors – Mazda's CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and Toyota RAV4 – are up to $1300 cheaper and all outsell Outlander at the rate of two to one.
At the same time, the marketing focus seems to be on the $50,000 hybrid version of the car.
Prices start from $28,490 for the five-seat, front-wheel-drive, LS manual with a 2.0-litre engine: a $750 increase. Standard equipment includes cloth trim, climate air, Bluetooth phone and audio, LED daytime running lights, front and rear fog lights, a rear view camera, tyre pressure monitoring and rear parking sensors, plus 18inch alloy wheels.
The bold new front marks the arrival of Mitsubishi's new ‘Dynamic Shield’ concept.
Some might think it smacks of Lexus but Mitsubishi says it has been inherited from the bumper side protection seen for generations on the Pajero.
Chrome and silver plated grille, silver skid plate, LED daytime running lamps and fog lamp bezel complete the look.
Inside there's a redesigned wheel, new trim accents, more comfortable seating and premium garnishes designed to give the cabin a more sophisticated ambience.
THE entry level LS model is front-wheel-drive only. In the LS, a 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol engine delivers 110kW and 190Nm, the latter from 4200 revs.
More expensive models are powered by a larger, more powerful 2.4-litre engine.
The 2.0 is paired with either a five-speed manual or CVT style automatic.
Fuel consumption for the manual is rated at 7.0 litres/100m, 5.7 for the CVT.
THE Outlander has been a five star safety car since 2008. It is fit- ted with a full suite of driver assistance systems, with seven airbags including a driver's knee bag.
It's also heartening to see an entry model with a rear view camera and rear parking sensors as standard; others reserve these for more expensive models.
Visually, it's much better than before.
The striking new face and other changes have managed to rid the car of its weird cigar shape.
The car feels nice, tight and quiet, but the manual is crying out for a six-speed change.
While the five-speed is OK around town, its shortcomings become obvious when you hit the motorway, where the car feels like it is working too hard.
Engine revs remain too high and it never seems to quite settle down, even in top gear.
The front pews are comfortable, aided by a wheel that is reach as well as height adjustable. But the rear seats are thin and decidedly less comfortable.
Pairing a mobile phone is overly complicated and requires a concerted effort.
A better ride has been achieved through increased rigidity, revised suspension and recalibrated power steering. Cabin noise has also been reduced with a modified air intake system, noise-isolating windscreen, improved weather stripping, new tyres, damper tuning and modified suspension mounts.
Verdict: It's good, but this one is held back by the transmission. We look forward to trying the CVT version.
Mitsubishi's Outlander has had a major makeover.