Latest first drives New Mitsubishi Outlander
The new Outlander has keen purchase prices and low potential running costs. Will that be enough for it to compete with Korean 4x4s like the Kia Sorento and established rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4?
More space inside but less weight: new Mitsubishi Outlander
New Mitsubishi Outlander: What’s new?
The Outlander is now in its third generation. This is a 4x4 that slots in above the smaller ASX in Mitsubishi's range, offering seating for up to seven, and four-wheel drive as standard.
It weighs 100kg less than the previous Outlander and also boasts superior aerodynamics, which benefits driving dynamics and efficiency.
As with the outgoing Outlander, there's just one engine for now: a 2.2-litre diesel. However, an innovative new Outlander Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) arrives in June 2013. This offers the prospect of CO2 emissions of 44g/km, average fuel consumption of 147.9mpg and a range of up to 32.5 miles in electric-only mode (and 550 miles in hybrid mode). It will qualify for the government grant, and is expected to cost under £40,000.
The Outlander is on sale now, priced from £23,699. Even the entry-level GX2 is fairly well equipped, with cruise control, air conditioning, colour LCD display and City Crash Provision. All versions from GX3 and above come with seven seats as standard, the GX3 also adding items like dual-zone air-con, power mirrors, leather steering wheel, Bluetooth and roof rails.
The high-spec GX4 (expected to be the most popular model) has leather upholstery, heated electric front seats, rear parking sensors, sat-nav, rear camera and sunroof. The top-spec GX5 adds extra safety equipment like adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning.
New Mitsubishi Outlander: What’s it up against?
No question, the main competition for the Outlander comes from the Koreans. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento are both affordable and can seat seven seats. However, the Honda CR-V is the best-selling car in the medium 4x4 class, so it can't be ignored, while the new Toyota RAV4 is a talented rival, too.
New Mitsubishi Outlander: Why should I buy one?
If you need to transport a family and their luggage, the Outlander is a great choice. There's significantly more luggage space than before, and better seating with plenty of space. Seven-seat versions come with a pair of extra seats in a third row - while they're perfectly usable for smaller adults over short distances, they're best regarded as occasional seats for children.
This is also a comfortable car to drive, with a compliant ride and safe handling. The 2.2 diesel engine gives you decent pace, and we think the interior is much better than before, with notably higher quality materials and a better layout.
Mitsubishi has priced the Outlander keenly against its main rivals, especially given its high standard spec. By 4x4 standards, the Outlander boasts some impressively low CO2 emissions figures, starting at 138g/km. Even the highest-emitting version only emits 153g/km of CO2. That's good news if you're a company car driver, and it will also save you on VED.
New Mitsubishi Outlander: What’s its Achilles’ heel?
Other 4x4s are better to drive and more refined than the Outlander. The automatic transmission isn't as sophisticated as the gearbox in the car it replaces, and rivals have it licked in terms of driver enjoyment. Overall, the Outlander feels unexceptional in too many areas, and the lack of a 2WD option seems odd in a market that is increasingly moving in this direction.
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