Car reviews - Mitsubishi - Outlander - Exceed AWD 7seat
Cabin packaging, seat comfort, capable and efficient engine, generous tech and equipment inclusions, brilliant headlights, composed ride
Room for improvement
Third-row seats limit cargo space, light tyre hum, uninspiring transmission, limited outward vision, no third-row airbags
Mitsubishi’s Outlander is the quiet achiever of the mid-size SUV segment
10 Jan 2022
By MATT BROGAN
THE MITSUBISHI Outlander is something of a quiet achiever in the Medium SUV segment. Locally, it is the third best-selling vehicle in its class behind the RAV4 and CX-5 and, dollar for dollar, it offers a lot more equipment – and a far longer warranty – than its Toyota and Mazda rivals.
Yet, you never seem to hear too much about the humble Outlander; it kind of blends into the background… almost as if it purposely avoids the time in the spotlight that it truly deserves.
Built on an all-new Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance platform, the Outlander shares its underpinnings with the Nissan X-TRAIL. Like its cousin, it has a 2705mm wheelbase, but is slightly longer, wider and taller overall. It’s also somewhat larger than the outgoing model – it measures 4710mm (+15mm) in length, 1862mm (+52mm) in width, and 1745mm (+35mm) in height.
Priced from $34,490 (plus on-road costs), the Outlander features a radical new look and an all-new engine for 2022. The nine-variant range includes five- and seven-seat options, two- and all-wheel driveline configurations, and will soon feature a pair of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants.
Currently, all Outlander variants are powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 135kW/245Nm. Power is delivered to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and, in two-wheel-drive format, the claimed combined cycle fuel consumption figure is 7.5 litres per 100km (8.1L/100km for AWD variants).
The level of equipment offered across the Outlander range is extensive. All variants receive alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, climate control, a reversing camera, hill descent control, adaptive cruise control and an electric park brake with auto-hold function.
Quilted leather upholstery, auto headlights and wipers, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and an auto tailgate are found higher up the range, the second-from-top Exceed variant on test ($47,990 +ORCs – an increase of $4000 over the outgoing model) including seat heaters, 20-inch alloys, LED fog lights, tri-zone climate control, a BOSE premium audio system, 360-degree camera and panoramic sunroof among its many inclusions.
The Outlander also packs a lot of standard safety inclusions for the money. The range features the latest suite of airbags – but, importantly, without curtain airbags for third-row occupants – and driver assist systems, including driver attention alert, forward collision mitigation with cyclist detection and junction assist, blind-spot warning with brake assist, emergency lane change alert with brake assist, trailer stability assist, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention.
Rear automatic emergency braking, AEB and rear cross-traffic alert are also available on higher grades.
All Mitsubishi Outlander variants – and indeed all Mitsubishi passenger vehicles – are available with a 10-year/200,000km warranty and capped-price servicing package. Service intervals are set at 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first) and are priced at $199 each for the first five years. Over the course of a decade, the Outlander will cost $3190 to service.
Roadside assistance is included for the first four years of ownership.
As family SUVs go, the Outlander is rather underrated. While it mightn’t enjoy the same sales success as the Toyota RAV4 or Mazda CX-5, it is every bit as spacious and well presented as its rivals – and equally enjoyable to drive.
The 2.5-litre petrol engine is deceptively strong and, despite being paired with a somewhat uninspiring continuously variable transmission, remains entirely capable in a wide variety of driving conditions. The powertrain is responsive to throttle inputs but is never thrashy, despite the engine’s relatively low torque output.
It’s also a highly efficient engine: the example we tested indicated a consumption figure below the quoted average at just 6.8 litres per 100km.
The Outlander is an easy vehicle to live with, too. The electronic assistants and driver aids work with the driver to create a calming and confident experience at the ‘wheel; the direct steering and sure-footed road feel further contribute to a sense of security many high-riding SUVs lack.
Having said that, the Mitsubishi’s deep-set front seats, higher shoulder line and flat bonnet may leave some (read: shorter) drivers feeling a little overwhelmed when they’re behind the ‘wheel, because the Outlander can be tricky to park in tight spaces – the 360-degree camera system, parking sensors and generous wing mirrors are necessary additions to this sizable family wagon.
Perhaps not as sizeable, however, is the cargo area. The third-row seats sit “on” rather than “in” the floor, which consumes a considerable portion of the available space and makes the load floor higher than in many of the Outlander’s rivals. Mitsubishi lists the cargo area capacity at 163 litres in seven-seat mode, 478 litres in five-seat mode and 1717 litres in two-seat mode.
The important five-seat number trails those of the new Kia Sportage (591 litres), Toyota RAV4 (580 litres) and Hyundai Tucson (539 litres), but is still larger than the Mazda CX-5’s (442 litres).
The third-row seats are also quite tight and perhaps best suited to younger children. However, without curtain airbags that extend to the third row, the point is probably moot.
They’re peculiar negatives in what is an otherwise roomy and well-presented interior. The passenger cabin is quiet – save for a little tyre hum on the coarsest bitumen surfaces – and thoughtfully designed.
There are plenty of usable storage bins and lidded cubbies throughout, a series of ‘phone and device holders in the backs of the front seats, decent-sized cup and bottle holders, top-tether (three) and ISOFIX (two) child-seat anchorages, and even rear window sunshades.
The panoramic sunroof, in turn, features a proper (retractable) block-out blind that keeps the baking sun off passengers and helps the climate control perform optimally.
And that’s one important point Mitsubishi doesn’t appear to have overlooked. The Outlander’s tri-zone climate control system copes incredibly well with even the hottest Australian summer days; it keeps the cabin cool in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees with relative ease.
We could have asked for ventilated seats to sweeten the pot, but for the most part, the Outlander is exceedingly comfortable.
It is also a family-sized SUV that – pleasingly – has not only a long list of technology inclusions, but ones that serve their functions ably… Too often manufacturers include a multitude of gizmos that are utterly useless in the real world, but the Outlander appears to do things differently.
The LED headlights and high-beam assistant are, in a word, brilliant. There’s a consistent and generous spread of light on low- and high-beam, while the traffic sensor, which detects oncoming vehicles in the lane ahead) works flawlessly – that’s one less thing to worry about!
The adaptive cruise control is, likewise, hard to fault, as is the colour head-up display (HUD), digital instrument panel and central infotainment array, and rain-sensing wipers.
Oh, and if you’re into your music, the BOSE audio system is an absolute cracker.
The 2022 Outlander might be a little pricier than before, but the improvement in build quality, materials, design and driveability are certainly worth it. Factor in Mitsubishi’s long warranty and capped-price servicing program, and there’s very little not to like.
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