Test Drive: Mitsubishi Outlander – The German killer image

Mitsubishi Outlander has been around for several years now but that doesn’t mean that it’s out of date and we can actually consider it an interesting choice compared to its main German rivals.

Engine and Transmission

The Mitsubishi Outlander we tested was powered by the 2.2 liter diesel engine which is producing a total output of 170 horsepower and it has a peak torque of over 200 Nm. A 2.2 liter unit powering a midsize crossover might seem like a bad choice but considering the fact that it’s a turbo diesel and the output comes in at low rpms, the engine is offering plenty of power in cities and also on mountain roads. We have chosen a six-speed manual transmission which is close to perfection on difficult roads but it can be quite a pain in cities.

The gear shift assist kept popping into the dashboard and that meant that the computer was “making” us shift sooner than expected in order to burn less fuel but until we hit 30 km/h we were in the third gear already and in a crowded city this can be annoying. The six-speed manual transmission came to a common good sense when we left the urban environment and headed towards the mountains, where the Outlander suddenly came to life, “telling” us through its turbocharger that it wants more.

Fuel Consumption

The Mitsubishi Outlander doesn’t need too much “juice” on the highway where, with a crowded rear seat, the AC on, sixth gear and cruise control set at 120 km/h, it only asked for 7.1 liters every 100 km. Fuel consumption went up to 8.2 liters once we started climbing the mountains and this is acceptable considering the fact that we used third and fourth gear when the computer was asking for the sixth one.

In the city, with the air conditioner on, because of the outside temperature was showing about 35 degrees Celsius, the average fuel consumption refused to pass the 10.2 liters every 100 km mark which is, again, quite acceptable and it can make a lot of cheap hatchbacks blush in this chapter. We must mention that these figures have been achieved in two-wheel drive.

The Ride

The Mitsubishi Outlander has been developed in order to tackle on dirt roads, fields and tough terrains, unlike many of its rivals, so its suspension is handling well, offering a sufficient level of comfort for the front and rear seat occupants. The SUV is comfortable in the city and once you try to see what it can do in a tough terrain, it just grips on to whatever it can find and it carries you there without asking too many questions. That comfortable suspension in the city is transformed into one which lets you feel the terrain and indirectly tells you what to do off the road.

For a midsize crossover, the Mitsubishi Outlander is very stable in corners and if you try to push it beyond its comfort in two-wheel drive, the safety systems pop-up on the dashboard and tell you that you don’t have enough grip and suggest to go into the four-wheel drive mode. Under steer appears very late and it’s almost impossible to over steer.

The visibility offered by the Mitsubishi Outlander is satisfying and despite its large body you can easily squeeze it into tight parking spaces, helped by the rear parking sensors. The cabin is offering generous space and the A, B or C-pillars won’t get in your way when trying to maneuver it in tight spaces.

Interior Design

The interior design of the Mitsubishi Outlander has been well thought by the Japanese automaker and, besides offering enough space for all the passengers, the materials used impress through their quality. All the buttons are where they suppose to be and the multifunction steering wheel will make you life easier. Leather has been partially used on the dashboard, on the doors and on the seats and the adjustable center armrest will gladly “host” your arm.

The rear seat occupants in the Mitsubishi Outlander travelled comfortably with enough leg room even if the driver’s seat was pushed back all the way back. The difference between driving the crossover alone with the AC off and with another three people and the AC on is very small. Storage spaces are generously offered throughout the cabin starting with the cupholder on the driver’s side in the dashboard and ending with door pockets.

If you like to listen to loud music while you’re driving, you will simply love the Outlander, because the version we tested came with a lot of speakers and also with a subwoofer fitted on the left side of the trunk. After playing with the low, medium, high and the bass settings of the audio system, you will quickly find out that you don’t need to upgrade it, even if you’re 19 years old and you’re a fan of Lady Gaga.

Equipment Level

The model we have chosen came with automatic air conditioner, cruise control, gear shift indicators for optimizing the fuel consumption, radio/CD/MP3 player with six-speakers and subwoofer, USB, AUX, electrically adjustable heated side mirrors, front, side and curtain airbags, active stability control, adaptive headlights, xenon headlights, fog lamps, three settings for the drive train: 2WD, 4WD and LOCK, partial leather on various elements in the cabin, central locking and two extra seats which means that the crossover can carry up to seven people.

Likes / Dislikes

The Mitsubishi Outlander, just like every other vehicle out there, has its ups and downs, but in this case the balance is indicating more ups than downs. For instance, the fuel consumption is satisfying and we liked that it won’t consume more than 7.2 liters of fuel every 100 km with four people inside, the AC on and cruise control set at 120 km/h in two wheel drive. Then comes the steering which, along with the suspension settings, will offer quick response in almost any terrain. The seats are comfortable, the buttons are where they are suppose to be, the visibility is good, the materials used in the cabin aren’t cheap, you won’t lack leg room and storage spaces, the headlights let you see far away into the night and, click the play button, and your ears will soon start to like this crossover too. We also liked the sound of the turbocharger kicking it at almost 2,000 rpm.

On the other side, choosing a manual transmission on a midsize SUV if you live in a crowded city can become a pain in the neck, especially if you have the gear shift indicator which will tell you what gear you should be in. Chose the automatic version and this problem will go away. The next problem won’t go away as easily because its one which all Mitsubishi crossovers have: the noise level. If you pass 120 km/h the noise will start irritating you but, hopefully, Mitsubishi will sort this out with the next generation. We didn’t like the third row of seats because I don’t see who will want to sit there except for two children. But if you will make your kids ride on the extra row of seats, they will hate you so much that they will run away from home and join a sect once they will turn 16.

As a conclusion, the Mitsubishi Outlander is an interesting choice and you won’t regret buying it, but we saved the best part for the end, which is its starting price set at 20,000 euros for the base entry-level version. So forget you C- or D- segment vehicle of choice and get yourself a real car, one which will take you to your destination even if the road has ended a few kilometers back.