The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander handles well on and off-road.
Not this time. The third-generation-Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the best CUVs on the market and a capable off-roader,
Everyone loves an underdog. You want to see the little guy get one over on the champ, even if, ultimately, he’ll be defeated. Well, the 2014 Outlander finds itself in a similar predicament. It’s in a segment littered with seasoned heavyweights such as the Explorer, RAV4, CR-V and Santa Fe and probably finds itself low down in the pecking order for those on the lookout for a new CUV and who don’t consider anything other than the usual suspects.
But having spent a few days with the new third-generation Mitsubishi, I was completely bowled over by the handsome four-wheel-drive sevenseater. Sometimes the underdog can land a knockout blow. This is definitely one of those times.
Redesigned from top to bottom, the new 4,655mm-long Outlander has many things going for it, starting with a smartened-up exterior. Now wearing
Go crazy and it is a total hoot when you fancy a bit of light off-roading
all-new sheet metal, which has helped it to shed 90kg, it’s far curvier than before and more aerodynamic too.
The thin chrome grille is as attractive as ever, and although the familial Evo-influenced fascia is gone, that isn’t a bad thing as the new look works well. The biggest change is around the back where the split-opening liftgate and tailgate has been ditched for a onepiece liftgate.
Overall, the design emphasis seemed to be on making the new model blend in better with the others in this cut-throat segment. It might be a tad conservative for some, but I’d say it’s one of the betterlooking people carriers out there. The sharp crease that forms the beltline is a nice touch and, thankfully, the bulbous wheel-arch flares are no more, while the abrupt corners of the rear quarter windows have been softened. Lastly, the 18in alloys on our test car look pretty neat.
It’s equally impressive in the overhauled and stylish cabin. Aside from the fact that there is seating for seven, it also features soft-touch materials on the dash, faux wood trim – which actually doesn’t look bad at all – a classy high-gloss, piano-black centre console panel and fine fit and finish.
The leather seats are very comfortable and supportive, and because you sit high up you have a commanding view of the road below. There’s lots of leg- and headroom, while outward visibility is very good too – there are no worrying blind spots and, even though the B-pillars are quite thick, they don’t seem to block the view over your shoulders.
The second and third rows fold flat to create a whopping 1,784 litres of cargo space and the whizbangery on this GLS trim includes cruise control, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, Bluetooth, reversing camera, and a superb touch-based 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system with nine speakers and a built-in sub-woofer. It sounds fabulous.
Power comes from a smooth 3.0-litre V6 that is mated to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering. It produces a decent 224bhp at 6,250rpm, comes standard with all-wheel drive and has a towing capacity of up to 1,587kg. That’s a lot of grocery bags.
Passing power is more than adequate; it accelerates with purpose while engine noise is at a premium, thanks to extensive use of high-grade sound insulation material.
The electrically assisted rack and pinion power steering is nicely weighted and offers good feedback. But the tyres begin to screech in the corners when you push it a tad hard. It also doesn’t like corners much, but when you’re driving sensibly it affords a refined and comfortable ride. That said, go crazy and it is a hoot when you fancy a bit of light offroading; its sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and front strut, rear multilink suspension means it’ll gobble up mediumsized dunes and rough roads without a fuss and remain totally composed throughout. Safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, hill-start assist and seven airbags.
I don’t have any complaints about the performance of the nextgeneration Mivec motor (with variable valve timing), which sips just 10.2 litres per 100km, and none about its off-road ability. It also wafts along effortlessly on the highway. My only gripe is that third row; it is rather cramped. But the kids will enjoy it back there and the fact that the entire family can board this new Outlander and be driven around in comfort or venture off the beaten path for a starting price of Dh89,000 means this Mitsubishi will be losing that underdog tag pretty soon.