Out­lander’s gi­ant makeover

Motor Equipment News - - BATTERIES FEATURE - READER RE­PLY 01506020 By John Ox­ley

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.

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