Mitsubishi Outlander is larger than average for its SUV class and can be ordered with five or seven seats. It’s been around since February 2003, in this review we will be looking at models from January 2012 as these are noticeably more refined than earlier ones.
Early in the piece Mitsubishi had realised few buyers were buying ‘real’ 4WDs or SUVs, but wanted a spacious family wagon and so introduced Outlander.
On-road the Mitsubishi Outlander is capable and generally quiet and comfortable to ride in. Some owners complain about the amount of tyre noise on coarse-chip roads, others say they don’t really notice it.
Styling remained conventional, some say rather too conservative, in these 2012 Outlanders, that is until the April 2015 facelift, when it received a striking version of the Mitsubishi’s Diamond Shield front end as well as revisions to its tail.
In January 2017 Outlander gained a better on-road ride thanks to significant changes to the suspension, some of them based on Australian engineering feedback. It still kept its off-road ability and a couple of owners we know have done several moderately serous bush trips with no hassles.
Inside, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are important tech updates and safety items were again upgraded.
Inside Outlander (there’s a play-on-words joke waiting to be made), there’s space for two adults and three children with good legroom and head space. Three adults can be carried in the back seat, but may find themselves being on the squeezy side.
The optional third-row seat is strictly for small kids and even then isn’t particularly comfortable. It steals most of the luggage area, but that’s not unusual in this class.
With all seats folded down the cargo floor is completely flat, something that’s really appreciated by dog owners like us, because the dog bed doesn’t slide down and back during acceleration.
Powertrains are 2.0-litre petrol in the 2WD. Transmissions are five-speed manual and CVT automatic. The AWD models have a 2.4-litre petrol to provide more grunt if taken off-road, all are CVT autos. Turbo-Diesel power from a 2.2-litre unit mated to a torque convertor auto with six forward gears.
Then there’s the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle). It first arrived in Australia in 2014 and received a range of revisions midway through 2017 to give it added range and faster charging. It’s very expensive and very few were sold, but you may be able to get one for a lowish price.
Mitsubishi Australia is a well-established player in Australia scene having been here since 1980. Though it no longer builds vehicles locally it has a large, well-organised dealer network that’s widespread.
Due to the company’s ongoing success in the SUV and 4WD market there are more dealers in country areas than is usual with crossover vehicles that compete with the Outlander. We’ve heard of no major complaints about spare part pricing or availability.
A good amateur mechanic can do a fair bit of their own work due to the generous underbonnet and under-car accessibility. Safety related items should only be touched by professionals.
Insurance rates seem to vary more than normal among the major companies so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal. As always, make sure you are doing accurate comparisons.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Outlander is well-built and generally reliable but, as always, we recommend a professional inspection after you’ve done initial checks to the best of your technical knowledge.
Though it’s nominally a 4WD few Outlanders are taken off road so if you see any signs of body damage – check the lower corners of the bumpers and the door sills – it’s probably best to look for another one.
A powerplant that’s reluctant to start when cold, or which hesitates at any time is a cause for concern.
Check the front of the petrol engine for water stains indicating possible water pump troubles.
We have heard of a few problems in continuously variable transmissions. During your test drive it should be quiet and smooth. If unsure, have a Mitsubishi mechanic check it out.
Manual gearboxes should be light and smooth in operation. When they eventually wear out, the change down from third to second is usually the first to give trouble. Listen for noises and feel for a reluctance to go into gear.
Look over the interior for signs of rough use, particularly in the back seats if kids have run amok.
We have had some reports of touchscreens that don’t react correctly or become dim at times.
Prices of used Outlanders will range from $$8000 to $12,000 for a 2012 LS; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2014 ES; $12,000 to $18,000 for a 2012 XLS Luxury; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2014 Aspire or a 2017 ES; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2016 PHEV hybrid; $18,000 to $26,000 for a 2015 Exceed or a 2017 LS Safety Pack; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2017 Exceed; and $27,000 to $36,000 for a 2018 Exceed.
CAR BUYING TIP
Put the same sort of research time into checking on insurance and finance as you do onto the vehicle itself.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/