Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Bill Buys

THE Outlander has been a big part of the SUV scene for many a year, first ap­pear­ing with the Olivier Boulay-styled nose back in 2003.

Now its face has a 'dy­namic shield' plus other up­dates in­side and out to keep the Mit­subishi stal­wart abreast of the times.

The range now com­prises nine mod­els, four of them with 'safety packs' and a choice of three en­gines: 2.0 and 2.4litre petrol, 2.2litre diesel, 2WD or AWD, a man­ual trans­mis­sion on the base 2WD ver­sion and CVT or six-speed auto on the rest.

The $1500 safety pack com­prises for­ward col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol and au­to­matic high beam.

Prices range from $28,750 to $47,500, the lat­ter for the Ex­ceed AWD ver­sion with diesel power.

The test steed was an LS 2.4litre petrol with all-wheel drive and CVT and seven seats.

It's keenly priced at $33,500 and it comes with a lot good bits, among them smart­phone link dis­play au­dio, dig­i­tal ra­dio, du­al­zone air­con, re­vers­ing cam­era, elec­tric fold­ing and heated outer mir­rors, elec­tric park brake and a shark fin roof an­tenna.

There's also a 12-volt socket in the cargo area and LED light­ing in the front foot wells.

Com­fort lev­els have been im­proved, largely through a qui­eter cabin and even the doors now close with a re­fined thunk. There's also very lit­tle road noise.

The sus­pen­sion sys­tem has been firmed up with a bit of ju­di­cious tweak­ing and the elec­tronic power steer­ing has been re­cal­i­brated for quicker and bet­ter feel.

While ride qual­ity has im­proved, there's still a fair bit of body lean through fast cor­ners, but the ve­hi­cle re­mains com­posed and gen­er­ally has very good road man­ners.

New items in­side in­clude a re­designed steer­ing wheel, new head­lin­ing with sun­glass hold­ers in LS and XLS mod­els, and re­vised seats that have been worked over to im­prove com­fort, and also with new trims and stitch­ing.

The long-serv­ing and bul­let­proof 124kw/220nm 2.4 mo­tor has been tuned for bet­ter fuel econ­omy and now has an of­fi­cial av­er­age of 7.2litres/100km: com­mend­able.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion is gen­er­ous for up to five peo­ple, with two more seats un­der­floor, mak­ing it a seven-seater. It's rare in this price range, but those back-most seats re­ally are for kids.

With all seats oc­cu­pied, there's not much room for cargo – just 128 litres – but it can ex­pand to 477 with those kid­die seats folded down, and to a whop­ping 1600 litres with the sec­ond row down as well. Oddly, there are no air vents in the back.

Safety mea­sures in­clude the elec­tronic aids of the day plus seven airbags, the re­vers­ing cam­era and rear park­ing sen­sors.

Ver­dict: A good up­date of a solid, proven ve­hi­cle with a rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity.

The lat­est Outlander shows its 'dy­namic shield' face.

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