1 Aug 2004
Mitsubishi’s Outlander 4WD wagon finally received the engine it needed to compete on an equal footing in the fiercely-fought compact SUV segment.
Launched with a wheezy 100kW 2.4-litre engine in early ‘03, the ZE Outlander never set the small SUV market on fire.
The new 2.4-litre MIVEC engine, more equipment, revised pricing, upgraded brakes, subtle styling changes and the addition of a flagship VR-X variant greatly increased the Mitsubishi’s appeal.
MIVEC stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Valve lift and timing Electronic Control, and it helps deliver 120kW of power at 5750rpm, and 220Nm of torque at 4000rpm.
According to Mitsubishi, the result is improved acceleration, and an ADR81/01 combined fuel economy figure of a respectable 10.8 litres per 100km.
Outlander’s beefed up engine continued to be mated exclusively to Mitsubishi’s INVECS II Smartlogic four-speed auto with sequential-shift manual override, while final drive remains 4.625:1 and Outlander’s Lancer Evo-based centre viscous coupled full-time AWD system with variable 50/50 torque split continues unchanged, as does Outlander’s impressive 205mm ground clearance.
Three-channel, four-sensor ABS with EBD became standard across the range, adding to the dual front and side airbags (the latter optional on base LS), front seatbelt pre-tensioners, seatbelt force-limiters on all five belts, an emergency door unlock on impact function and childproof rear doors.
Outlander’s MacPherson strut front and trailing arm rear suspension systems (both with anti-roll car) continue unchanged, although VR-X receives its own specific, sportier tuning.
A redesigned tailgate with a larger rear window, diagonal bars in the grille, projector-style headlamps, front and rear bumper garnishes and revised trim and fabrics inside complete the changes.
In late 2005 the sports-themed VR-X model gained an in-dash multi-media unit and silver highlights to its bumpers and side skirts.