Like the rough & tough work ethic of the L200? Maybe the handsome looks and ability of the LWB Shogun, but need something on the slightly smaller size? Mitsi’s Outlander may be just the job for you. Compact and car-like enough for city centre shopping trips, yet gutsy enough to operate on all terrains as a 4-wheel drive, the Outlander is tough and able to carry and tow just about everything from jet bikes to ponies and still return a wallet pleasing mpg.
Borrowing the excellent Evo X’s sinister snarling black shark-like grille and muscular lines, yet jacked up on some large rims giving decent ground clearance for off road duties, the Outlander’s undoubtedly a striking and handsome looking car. In the metal it looks substantial and spacious yet its sensibly sized enough to be able to be parked in regular parking spaces without leaving its back end sticking out like a sore thumb ready to be walloped by some batty old biddy wielding a lilac Honda Jazz.
Slide inside and the Outlander’s cabin is certainly spacious, attractive, functional and durable enough to cope with active and even dirty daily use. All trim levels are well equipped, with the top spec coming with an excellent sound system and seven-inch touch screen central display. Entry-level models have electric front windows, climate control and a CD player and the next trim up (GX3) has these, plus Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and various cosmetic touches. Top of the range GX4 models boast heated and powered front seats, a sunroof and leather upholstery, plus the aforementioned touch screen display and updated sound system.
Seating wise, there’s room for seven, which is a bonus in this sector, but really the third row is only suitable for very occasional small adult/child use, rather than daily school run jaunts, but the rest of the cabin is spacious with extremely good legroom. The higher driving position affords excellent visibility, which compliments parking, overtaking and towing abilities. The second row seats can be easily folded and split 60:40 to enable longer loads like skis to be carried and the boot is cavernous with a practical split tailgate for either chucking stuff in, or loading larger, bulky items.
In terms of engines, there’s a choice of three – two torque heavy, relatively frugal and capable diesels plus a 2.4-litre petrol. The diesels are, especially on start up, on the ‘chuggy’/noisy side, typical of those fitted with this type of vehicle but do provide a decent amount of useable power and overtaking punch. You can choose out of a 2wd or 4wd model, both with the 2.2 diesel engine.
Hit the tarmac or venture off the beaten track and the Outlander’s versatile enough to cope. Out on the road, it’s remarkably like that of a smaller more compact car, well balanced and composed and perfect for off-road novices, if you’ve a model with the four-wheel-drive system, its super easy to use – enabling you to switch from two to four-wheel drive with merely the twist of a dial switching to ‘auto’ which will feed more power to the wheels that need it. The suspension is refreshingly firm delivering little lean and roll and, unusual for a large SUV, the steering is well weighted and precise. Road and wind noise inside the Outlander is fairly quiet for a car of its size and height, even with the noisy diesel options. Lastly – safety, there’s stability control and depending on spec, a quota of airbags which can include front, side and window airbags, an alarm and locking wheel nuts.
True to Mitsubishi’s powerhouse roots, the Outlander performs well as a crossover and carries the sporty looks, inspired by the Japanese carmaker’s own performance models in the range. For those seeking something versatile, out of the ordinary, with space, pace and eye-catching kerb appeal, the Mitsubishi Outlander ticks all the right boxes and is most definitely worth at least a test drive.