Outlander’s giant makeover
Hot on the heels of Mitsubishi’s new Triton ute comes a massive update on the Outlander SUV which brings it bang up to date.
There have been more than 10,000 Mitsubishi Outlanders sold in New Zealand since 2006, and the latest version continues to sell well. But there has been something missing – as the French put it, “je ne sais quoi”, which means something on the lines of “I can’t quite put my finger on it”.
So Mitsubishi has waved a magic wand and come out with what we’d like to term a “serious update” which includes not just styling and interior changes, but improvements to the whole drivetrain, body rigidity, and suspension.
And after driving the new Outlander in Wellington and environs, we can definitely say we are impressed.
The improvements start up front, with a new face for the Outlander. Gone is the bland politicians smirk, and in its place a big welcoming belly laugh, with modified chrome work that Mitsubishi calls its “Dynamic Shield” provided by a new front bumper, grille and headlights – which, on XLS and VRX models are LED.
The back of the car has changed with the introduction of a new LED tail light design, with a chrome tailgate trim that makes the vehicle look wider and its stance more aggressive, as well as a wider rear bumper. There’s also new trim at the bottom of the doors, which serves the dual purpose of making the Outlander look longer, and protecting against chips from errant parkers!
Topping it off, on XLS and VRX, are new 18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels.
Inside there’s beautiful hand stitching on the dash top (VRX), the seats, and the steering wheel rim, as well as new piano black trim on the steering wheel and centre console.
The seats have been improved by the addition of dual stage foam, and in the fronts, better bolstering, while the leather on the VRX is of a better quality.
However, it’s the bits you don’t see that make most of the difference – multiple design and engineering improvements to suspension, handling, body rigidity, steering feel and performance.
Says sales and marketing strategy head Daniel Cook: “Larger-diameter rear dampers allow precise tuning for exceptional straight line stability and high levels of ride comfort. That’s complemented by better response from the recalibrated electronic power steering and the switch to sportier – yet much quieter – Goodyear Eagle tyres that cope even more effectively with our coarse-chip roads.”
The revised generation- eight continuously variable transmission (CVT) system fitted to all models delivers improved acceleration, from a standing start right across the rev range, while transmission shift quality, kick-down feel and downshift response are all improved.
At the same time giant steps have been taken to improve NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) thanks to a modified engine intake, thicker noise-isolating windscreen (borrowed from the PHEV), improved weather stripping, the new tyres, modified suspension mounts, and more insulation materials in the body.
All this shows on the road, where the vehicle is as quiet as the PHEV plugin hybrid in petrol engine mode, an upmarket level of quietness Mitsubishi hasn’t been able to achieve on its petrol and diesel SUVs until now. At the same time handling seems crisper and more responsive.
Mitsubishi’s case re-mapping of the gearbox control unit has resulted in a 26 percent reduction in torque loss, a more linear acceleration sound, plus a more-responsive accelerator, while a bonus is the fact that fuel consumption is reduced by four percent to 7.2L/100km on the petrol 4WD models.
As before three engines are on offer, a two-litre Mivec petrol (112kW/193Nm, 6.7L/100km) on the LS 2WD model, 2.4-litre Mivec petrol (126kW/224Nm, 7.2L/100km) on the LS 4WD, the XLS 4WD and VRX 4WD versions, and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel (112kW/366Nm, 6.2L/100km) on the XLS and VRX 4WD diesel models.
All models get Bluetooth and a 6.1 inch touch screen, reversing sensors and cameras, as well as seven airbags for a five-star ANCAP safety rating. Top models also get satnav and adaptive cruise control. Seven seats are fitted to all but the LS.