OUTLANDER GETS FRESH FACE
RELIABLE SUV STALWART IS NOW EVEN BETTER
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.