OUTLANDER IN PUSH FOR HIGH GROUND

Mitsubishi_Outlander_front
They say a characteristic of a generation Y person is that he or she wants everything; and they want it now. Sounds like perfect candidates for the upgraded Mitsubishi Outlander sports utility vehicle.

While already well specified, the MY17 medium-size SUV has shifted up a notch or two, adding a new mid-range LS Safety Pack model with forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beam feature.

Top model Exceed also adopts these features as standard, as well as advanced safety systems such as 360 degree multi-around monitor, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist.

The line-up now consists of Outlander LS, LS with Safety Pack and Exceed, powered by 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre petrol, or 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engines, mated with a choice of five-speed manual, six-speed automatic, or constantly variable transmission and two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Five or seven seats are available, depending on model. Prices start at $28,750, plus on-road costs, for the LS 2.0-litre petrol 2WD five-speed manual five-seater and top out a further 20 grand later for the Exceed 2.2-litre diesel AWD six-speed automatic seven-seater. The latter was the test vehicle.

Mitsubishi_Outlander_rear

STYLING
The Outlander eschews the latest fashion to follow coupe cues, especially in small SUVs, leaning more to the bold squared-off proportions of the big 4WD wagons. It does not suffer by doing this.

However, the look-at-me ornamentation up front is a little over the top with slashes of chrome dominating the grille and surrounds. It’s as if the Outlander is trying to force itself on other road users.

The overall appearance is rescued somewhat by distinctive 18-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights reflecting Outlander’s modern styling.

INTERIOR
Carrying on from the exterior, recent design refinement has added to the decor with LED lighting in the front foot wells and centre console box, and handy 12V socket in the rear cargo area.

Premium finish in the Exceed extends to leather seats and a leather trimmed steering wheel, together with a piano black instrument panel, while dual zone climate control caters for driver and front seat passenger separately.

INFOTAINMENT
The latest smartphone connectivity technology via Mitsubishi’s Smartphone Link Display Audio and digital radio is designed to enhance occupants’ listening quality and ease of operation.

The Mitsubishi Multi Communication System allows easy use of the 7.0-inch touch screen on the centre dashboard to control audio, navigation and other information systems.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.2-litre direct injection diesel engine delivers 110kW of power and 360 Nm of torque of 360 Nm, the latter at a low 1500 rpm, with the latest in diesel technology. With a six-speed automatic transmission chipping in for greater fuel efficiency.

SAFETY
Occupants are protected by Outlander’s seven airbags including driver and passenger, side and curtain airbags and driver knee airbag. Designed to stabilise the lower body and knees during frontal collisions, the driver knee airbag provides an extra level of protection.

Active safety includes the latest in electronic stability, traction and braking control, plus adaptive cruise control and hill start assist. It all adds up to a top five-star ANCAP safety rating.

DRIVING
I’m sorry to say the Mitsubishi Smart Key turned out to be only ‘half smart’, with intermittent operation when in my pocket. Locking and unlocking doors, opening the tailgate and starting the engine at the touch of a button was sporadic. Frustrating, to say the least.

Seating is no big step up, with the third row made accessible by the middle 60:40 seats sliding forward. Rear seat comfort is in reverse proportion to the height of the occupants. Short trips are the go here.

With rear seat backs folded there is plenty of room for luggage, golf clubs, even bikes, while a power tailgate and compartment in the cargo area floor are an added convenience.

With an undeniable diesel engine note outside the vehicle, what could have been intrusive noise was efficiently insulated from the test vehicle cabin interior, providing a reasonably quiet ambience for driver and passengers.

The latest in diesel technology ensures fuel efficiency with little loss of performance, although the test vehicle did record high consumption of up to 13-plus litres per 100 kilometres in city and suburbs; on the motorway, as low as 5.4.

Outlander’s performance has been further refined with suspension changes designed to enhance ride comfort and stability. Body control has been improved, especially with lateral rigidity.   Attention has also been paid to steering, improving linearity, while rear shocks have been upgraded to boost vehicle stability and ride comfort.

Electronic Control 4-Wheel Drive, activated by a button on the centre console, gives access to three driving modes, balancing performance and fuel economy over a range of conditions. They are: 4WD Eco, the most fuel-efficient; 4WD Auto, so-called Normal; and 4WD Lock for hard going off road.

SUMMING UP
The Outlander is well kitted out to carry five or seven, with cargo capacity in reverse proportion to the number on board the proverbial dilemma. The ability to adjust to a wide range of driving conditions through electronic control 4WD sets it apart from many rivals.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE

Outlander LS 2.0-litre petrol 2WD 5sp manual 5-seater: $28,750
Outlander LS 2.0-litre petrol 2WD CVT 7-seater: $30,500
Outlander LS 2.4-litre petrol AWD CVT 7-seater: $33,500
Outlander LS Safety Pack 2.0-litre petrol 2WD CVT 5-seater: $32,000
Outlander LS Safety Pack 2.4-litre petrol AWD CVT 5-seater: $35,000
Outlander LS Safety Pack 2.4-litre petrol AWD CVT 7-seater: $36,000
Outlander LS Safety Pack 2.2-litre diesel AWD 6sp automatic 7-seater: $39,500
Outlander Exceed 2.4-litre petrol AWD CVT 7-seater $44,000
Outlander Exceed 2.2-litre diesel AWD 6sp automatic 7-seater $47,500
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mitsubishi dealer for drive-away prices.

FEATURES
Optional 2.2-litre diesel powertrain with 6-speed auto, AWD
Seven seats
Electric parking brake (AWD models only)
Forward Collision Mitigation
Lane Departure Warning
Adaptive Cruise Control
Automatic High Beam
Electro-chromatic rear view mirror
Intermittent rain sensing wipers
Dusk sensing headlights
Safety Pack: Ultrasonic Miss-acceleration Mitigation System; Multi Around Monitor; Blind Spot Warning; Lane Change Assist; Rear Cross Traffic Alert
LED front foglamps

SPECIFICATIONS (Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed 2.2-litre diesel, six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, seven-seat wagon)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 2.268 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 110 kW @ 3500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 360 Nm @ 1500-2750 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.2 L/100km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4695 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1810 mm
Height: 1690 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1630 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / 100,000 km

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