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Outlander goes 2WD

Faux-wheel drive: Outlander 2WD will spearhead Mitsubishi’s mildly upgraded 2011 compact SUV model range.

Mitsubishi adds yet another sub-$30,000 compact SUV in a front-drive Outlander

23 Sep 2010

MITSUBISHI has lowered the entry price of its popular Outlander by more than $4000 with the release of the first two-wheel drive variant, which won’t be formally launched until the Sydney motor show on October 15.

The Outlander 2WD is on sale now priced from just $28,990 plus on-road costs (which some dealers are already throwing in for free), making it the new price leader of a subtly upgraded 2011 model range that arrives a year after the midlife ‘jet-fighter’ makeover for Mitsubishi’s ZH-series compact SUV.

Available in a single LS specification grade, the first sub-$30,000 Outlander is $4250 cheaper than the ($33,240) four-cylinder petrol-engined Outlander LS 4WD upon which it is based, but misses out on Mitsubishi’s trademark 4WD capability - not to mention the smarter Evo-based Super-AWC fitted to 2010 V6 models.

21 center imageFrom top: Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail.

Perhaps more importantly, buyers of the first front-drive Outlander must pay $850 extra for the side and curtain airbags that now come standard on the cheapest LS 4WD model and remain standard in all other Outlander variants.

Twin front airbags and vital active safety equipment like electronic stability control and ABS brakes are part of the 2WD package, however, while average fuel consumption (and weight) is reduced to 9.2L/100km – down from 9.3L/100km for the 2.4 AWD CVT and 10.4L/100km for the 3.0 AWD auto.

Both five-speed manual and optional CVT automatic gearboxes (the latter priced $2500 higher at $31,490) are available with the same 125kW/226Nm 2.4-litre DOHC 16-valve MIVEC engine that powers the base LS AWD model.

Full details of the MY2011 Outlander range upgrade will be released at the Sydney show, but existing AWD models are expected to come with only minor updates for no extra cost, plus the welcome addition of a full-size spare wheel for all five-seaters.

Seven seats should remain available only on the mid-range, CVT-only Outlander LS 4WD, while the flagship VR and VRX-badged V6 models – powered by an unchanged 162kW/276Nm 3.0-litre V6 - will continue with a conventional six-speed automatic transmission as standard.

The five-seat-only 2WD Outlander is positioned exactly $3000 upstream of the entry-level ASX – Mitsubishi’s all-new sub-compact city-crossover, which was launched here in August with a starting price of only $25,990 in 2WD 2.0-litre petrol manual form.

More crucially, its official $28,990 price point is lineball with Toyota’s entry-level RAV4 2.4 2WD manual, and undercuts Mazda’s most affordable CX-7, the base auto-only 2.5 2WD ($33,990), by $5000.

However, the 2WD Outlander remains more expensive that a host of other new volume-selling 2WD small wagon variants, including Holden’s (five-seat) Captiva 2.4 2WD ($27,990), Renault’s Koleos 2.5 2WD ($28,490), Hyundai ix35 2.0 2WD ($26,990) and the new Kia Sportage 2.0 2WD, which carries the same $25,990 entry sticker as the ASX.

Of course, while Nissan’s X-Trail is expected to become the next Japanese compact SUV to be available in 2WD form, for now the faux-wheel drive Outlander also undercuts the most affordable variants of AWD-only models like Suzuki’s Grand Vitara ($29,990), Honda’s CR-V and Subaru’s top-selling Forester (both $30,990), the X-Trail ($32,990) and Volkswagen’s Tiguan ($33,990).

“(The) 2WD Outlander has been added to Mitsubishi's traditionally all-wheel drive Outlander range and will allow us to appeal to a whole new area of the market,” said Mitsubishi Motors Australia’s head of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher.

“Outlander is a tried and trusted brand in the market place and has been praised for its styling and flexibility. Releasing an economical two-wheel drive variant ensures it will appeal to a much wider range of wagon buyers.”

As we’ve reported, Mitsubishi will also use the Sydney motor show to unveil a born-again ClubCab derivative of its Triton workhorse, while the upgraded 2011 Colt and latest European-spec iMiEV may also appear.

2011 ZH Outlanderpricing:
LS 2WD 2.4$28,990
LS 2WD 2.4 (CVT)$31,490
LS 4WD 2.4$33,240
LS 4WD 2.4 (CVT)$35,740
LS 4WD 2.4 seven-seat (a)$37,690
XLS 4WD 2.4 (CVT)$40,490
VR 4WD 3.0 (a)$40,990
VRX 4WD 3.0 (a)$51,990
Options:
Metallic/pearlescentpaint
$450
Side/curtain airbags(LS 2WD)$850
Luxurypack (XLS)$7500

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