Get out and about

Five or seven seats, front or all­wheel drive ... the Outlander suited al­most all needs

The Courier-Mail - Cars Guide - - Used Car -

MIT­SUBISHI has long en­joyed a fine rep­u­ta­tion for off-road­ers with mod­els such as the Pa­jero be­ing par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar. It was well placed to score when the soft-roader craze took hold.

The first Outlander wasn’t the most at­trac­tive car when it launched but Mit­subishi soft­ened the looks over time. When the ZJ se­ries was launched in 2012 it was a much more pleas­ant car to look at.

There were vari­ants to suit al­most ev­ery need: five- and seven-seat ver­sions, the choice of front-wheel drive and on­de­mand four-wheel drive, and petrol and diesel en­gines.

In­side, it was neat and tidy, with qual­ity ma­te­ri­als used and ev­ery­thing laid out sen­si­bly.

The cabin was roomy and flex­i­ble in lay­out. There was plenty of room for those sit­ting in the sec­ond row of seats, and in the seven-seater the third row seats were more than ad­e­quate for kids or adults on a short jour­ney.

SUVs have to be flex­i­ble and the Outlander was. The mid­dlerow seat could be folded flat to in­crease the space for lug­gage.

Buy­ers could choose be­tween two petrol four­cylin­der en­gines, a 2.0 and a 2.4-litre, and a 2.2-litre turbo diesel. Front-drive vari­ants got the 2.0-litre and ei­ther a five- speed man­ual or con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion.

The on-de­mand four-wheel drive ver­sion had the op­tion of the 2.4-litre or the turbo diesel.

Diesel buy­ers got a six-speed auto and those who bought the 2.4 got the CVT.

On the road the Outlander was smooth and quiet, the sus­pen­sion was nicely tuned to lo­cal roads and the ride and han­dling was good for a car of its type. With elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol stan­dard across the range and a full ar­ray of airbags, the Outlander scored five stars from ANCAP. NOW Own­ers are a con­tented lot if those we sur­veyed are a good guide. They were full of praise for their cars and the only com­plaints they aired were fairly mi­nor.

The 2.0-litre front-driv­ers were felt to be on the small side by a cou­ple of own­ers. The per­for­mance wasn’t as good as they would like.

An­other owner thought the in­te­rior was a lit­tle drab, though at launch re­view­ers gen­er­ally praised the qual­ity of the ma­te­ri­als used in the cabin, and the fit and fin­ish.

Me­chan­i­cally there were vir­tu­ally no prob­lems re­ported, which sings silent praise for the Outlander’s en­gines and trans­mis­sions.

There were no re­ports of is­sues with the CVT but it’s worth pay­ing par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the trans­mis­sion when test-driv­ing be­fore pur­chase. Take note of any­thing that doesn’t seem right, par­tic­u­larly any shud­der­ing, which might in­di­cate a prob­lem.

Servicing is also para­mount, so check for a cred­itable ser­vice record that shows proper main­te­nance has been done.

As SUVs are mostly em­ployed in fam­ily ser­vice, check the cabin care­fully for signs of abuse from the smaller mem­bers of the clan. Look for things such as food stains, tears and bro­ken fit­tings. OWN­ERS SAY

I have an LS, which is OK, ex­cept for the 2.0-litre en­gine. It’s gut­less. I wouldn’t buy an­other one; it’s not good value for money.

My 2014 ES has done 50,000km with­out any prob­lem to speak of. Over­all I’m happy with it.

I can’t praise my 2012 LS enough; it’s a lovely car. It’s spa­cious, has good power and is very cheap to run.

Our As­pire is a great car. The third row is more spa­cious than most, and it’s eco­nom­i­cal. The only thing we’re not keen on is the dash, which doesn’t look great.

We had a 2012 LS, which we found to be a great car, so much so that we sold it to our son and bought the lat­est model. They are spa­cious with amaz­ing room in the rear and an enor­mous boot. Our ZJ was eco­nom­i­cal, had great ride and han­dling, and we didn’t have any prob­lem with it. SMITHY SAYS A solid, sound and safe SUV for fam­ily trans­port.

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