Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D GX5 A/T
In the early 1990’s, long before Range Rover shed it’s green wellie & barbour country pile image, one manufacturer & one of their cars, became the precursor to the boom in ‘Cheshire Tractors’ & then soft road SUV’s. The manufacturer was Mitsubishi & their car was the Shogun. Even though it was a proper 4X4, it’s combination of space, good looks, ruggedness & on road manners meant that it was the go-to car for the ‘footballers wives’ of the era. One could argue that after the Shoguns success, other car makers began to target the the well-to-do with their own versions, perhaps not immediately but certainly from the late 1990’s onwards. Whilst BMW with the X5, Audi with the Q8, Lexus with the RX & Range Rover with the Sport filled the marketplace, not just with Shogun imitations but with smaller versions as well, Mitsubishi sank back into the shadows & although the Shogun is still available, Mitsy have failed to produce a car to match the Shoguns success. Indeed, if Mitsubishis car range is examined closely, it has only been in the past 5 years that it has began to emerge from the dark with new models such as the ASX & my recent test car the Outlander, to take advantage of a market that it spawned over 20 years ago.
Three years ago I drove the Mark 1 Outlander & although it ticked all the right boxes if you wanted practicality, off-road capability & towing power, in the case of fuel consumption & emissions it was way off the pace. Step forward to 2013 & Mitsy launched it’s Mark 2 version, an altogether better proposition & a car I was able to test for a week back in February.
The new Outlander is a more attractive proposition than it’s predecessor, with a more curvy exterior mirroring much of the SUV sector & definite a move away from Mitsubishis more angular shape of the past. The new model is slightly shorter and lower than the previous one & is now 100kg lighter, following a structural redesign of the all-steel body. The main benefit of this is hugely improved fuel economy, with a claimed combined average of over 50mpg & lower emissions of 138g/km. All models of the Outlander including my test car the range topping 2.2 DI-D GX5 A/T, come with a 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel, which is now Euro 6 emissions compliant. It’s less powerful than it used to be with just 147bhp on offer, but this too aids the driver in a different way with the accessible torque & reduced kerb weight making the Mk2 Outlander feel more agile to drive as well as more comfortable to sit in. I drove the Outlander alone on the motorway & fully laden cross country with my family & managed to achieve a very respectable 42.7 mpg over 300 miles of driving. Compare that to the 35 mpg I achieved in Mazdas CX5, Toyotas RAV4 & Hondas 2.2 CRV & it’s easy to see why Mitsubishi feel that they have done something special with this new version.
Inside, the Outlander is a little uninspiring compared to the more upmarket feel inside the CX5, RAV4 & CRV Having said that it’s much better than that in the Mk1 version & it’s all put together nicely with particular praise for the dashboard & steering wheel operated controls, which are easy to use. Furthermore, my iPhone connected in double quick time through the infotainment/SatNav/Bluetooth system & I made good use of the adaptive cruise control & lane departure warning system on the motorway.
Customers opting for the Outlander are also offered 7 seats albeit five large enough for adults & the two in the rear really only suitable for children under 16 years old. Rear cargo space is another area improved over the previous version, with 591 litres of boot space with 5 seats in use increasing to 1,022 litres with 2 seats in use. To complete its practical interior, the new Outlander has been fitted with a clever under-floor cargo box to store the rolling luggage cover when not in use, and compared to the outgoing Outlander, a more convenient tailgate with power operation replaces the old car’s split tailgate. Now that the Walker family comes sans dog, the practical side of the Outlander really shone through. It feels like a car you can chuck everything into without it getting hurt & in this respect it also defeats the opposition which may offer nicer finishing touches, but don’t look as tough when required.
With my top of the range 2.2 GX5 retailing at £33,999, none of this comes cheap & I would suggest that the mid-range GX3 with seven seats & Bluetooth, costing £26,399 & available in Q1 2014 from £285 + vat per month on a 3 year contract, might be a more sensible option. Overall, Mitsubishi have made great strides with the new Outlander & it is now much closer to the competition in terms of refinement, whilst offering excellent fuel economy, within an incredibly practical family friendly interior. Things are definitely on the up for Mitsubishi & with a new Hybrid version due on our shores shortly, the Outlander PHEV, things are looking rosy for the brand.
A Kenny Dalglish 3.5/5.