1 Feb 2003
MITSUBISHI’S Outlander is pitched against the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and Nissan X-Trail set.
It replaced the able but ignored Pajero iO, which seemed to small and boxy despite having better 4WD abilities than the rivals above due to its separate chassis.
A five-seat, five-door wagon only, the Outlander first appeared in Japan in mid-2001 as the more conservatively styled Airtrek. The single bar grille and hooked nose we get is actually from the US model Outlander, launched there last year, but combined with the European model's interior.
Outlander is based around a new car-like monocoque architecture with simple MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear.
It has a viscous-coupling unit that transparently moves drive around among the four wheels and is powered by a 2.4-litre single overhead camshaft 16-valve four-cylinder engine that produces 100kW at 5000rpm and 205Nm at 2500rpm.
The transmission is a four-speed automatic-only and uses Mitsubishi's familiar adapative INVECS II software, complete with a sports mode.
The ZE Outlander came in two variants. The base LS includes dual airbags, air-conditioning, cruise control, lap-sash seatbelts all-round with pre-tensioners and force limiters up-front, power windows, mirrors and rear tailgate lock, remote central locking and an in-dash single CD combined with a four-speaker sound system.
The flexibility of the interior is enhanced by a 60:40 split-fold second seat row and the front passenger seat can also be folded flat to enable items up to 2.4m long to be loaded.
But the rear seats do not move fore-aft like some of the Outlander's rivals, nor do they tumble forward.
Upgrade to the XLS and alloy wheels, front fog lights, roof rails, body coloured trim, side airbags, white faced instrumentation and clock, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift, a sunroof, in-dash six-stacker CD with six-speaker audio, height adjustable see-through headrests, a security blind and larger rear spoiler set it apart from the LS.
Mechanically, the XLS adds ABS with EBD as standard.