Mitsubishi’s Outlander is back, bigger and boofier than ever – but all is not quite as it
seems because the latest Outlander hides a Nissan X-Trail, the first time the Japanese
brand has released a badge-engineered car.

By the same token, it has just as much in common with the Renault Koleos, which also
shares the same platform. It’s all a reflection of the fact Mitsubishi is part of the Nissan-
Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance and has been for a long time, although it rarely gets a mention.

Outlander is priced from $34,490 plus on-roads. Our test vehicle, the Exceed, sits second
from top and is priced from $47,990 plus on-roads.

For two grand more, Exceed Touring adds two-tone paint and interior trim, along with
massage for driver and front passenger seats.

LS and above models get three rows of seating as standard.

The cabin has an upmarket look and feel, with its quilted leather seat trim, piano black
console surround and quilting on the doors too.

The car is slightly longer than its predecessor, but more importantly wider and taller with a
36mm longer wheelbase that translates to more interior space — especially more rear
But the third row is still extremely cramped and suitable only for small children (how many
times have I written those words).

At the same time, the second-row slides forward to provide more room. The tall, skinny,
third row headrests look like Easter Island statues, but fortunately can be stowed under
floor when not required. Second row passengers also get their own air outlets as well as
sun blinds for the side windows.

There’s plenty of eye candy too, with a digital instrument cluster and attractively styled
free-standing touchscreen that’s super responsive to the touch.

But the instrument panel looks a little busy. It’s not apparent from the photos, but that’s the
way it feels.

The Japanese love a good acronym, especially when it comes to describing the technical
features of cars.

Although it’s no acronym, you might be interested to learn that Outlander was penned
under the design language “I-Fu-Do-Do”.

Don’t laugh. It may be lost in translation, but means “authentic and majestic” in Japanese,
and shows in the

Outlander’s bold proportions, muscular fenders and the chiselled lines of the “Dynamic
Shield” radiator grille.
Whatever, it looks pretty damn good, probably the best iteration yet of what we’ve come to
think of as the ‘Decepticon’ look.

Until recently, even top of the line Mitsubishis sometimes missed out on satellite
navigation. Drivers were forced instead to rely on their mobile phones if they needed to
find their way somewhere. But there appears to have been a change of thinking at
Mitsubishi HQ, because all models now come with satellite navigation as standard.

Standard kit includes dual zone climate control with rear air vents, front and rear parking
sensors and traffic sign recognition — as in speed limit warnings.

Outlander ES and LS models also have 7.0-inch colour multi-information display as part of
the instrument cluster.
Aspire and above, however, gets a 12.3-inch full colour digital instrument cluster.

By the time you get to Exceed, there’s leather, three-zone climate, 20-inch alloys, heated
and cooled seats, 360 degree reversing camera, a panoramic sunroof and 10-speaker
Bose audio.

Additionally, a 10.8-inch full-colour head-up display is fitted to Aspire and above models.

A stylish, responsive 9.0-inch touchscreen is standard across the range.
10-speaker Bose audio with satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth
with voice control and audio streaming, wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android and
wireless smartphone charging and 2 x USB ports.

Replacing the previous 2.0 and 2.4-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines, is a one-size
fits all Nissan 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol engine that generates
135kW of power and 245Nm of torque.

It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), with paddle shifts and Sport
mode that provides access to eight pretend gears. The change lever itself feels more like a
joystick, with a button for park. Two-wheel drive models get five drive modes, all-wheel
drives get six.

Depending on trim level, safety includes Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) with MMC first
application of cyclist detection and junction assist, Blind Spot Assist (BSA), Blind Spot
Warning (BSW), Lane Change Assist (LCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive
Cruise Control (ACC), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Automatic High Beam (AHB), and
a Multi Around Monitor camera system with moving object detection.

Power output is more than the 2.4 it replaces, but still somewhat average in the context of
today’s sophisticated hybrid and turbocharged setups.

But performance is adequate providing you don’t have high expectations. In fact, it’s about
as middle of the road as it gets, not surprising considering the car’s target market.

Straddling the medium to large segments in terms of size, the previous model attracted
young and growing families on a limited budget. They were chasing size and price, and
the Outlander nailed it.

The new Outlander is a better looker, feels more upmarket and will have similar appeal.
The last time we drove the Outlander Exceed it had a $42,990 price tag.

But with prices from $5000 more, even for the entry ES model, it has lost some of its gloss.
It could see buyers start to look elsewhere, because to these people $5000 is an awful lot
of money.

Drive-by-wire transmission combined with new CVT control logic is designed to deliver a
feel more like a traditional auto and to some extent it does.
It’s generally more responsive and better behaved than we remember, but still has a
tendency to become “zoomy” under load.

It’s hard to describe, but you’ll know exactly what I mean when it happens.

Steering is light and responsive, and the ride is very good considering the large 20-inch
wheels and low-profile rubber.

The re-engineered all-wheel drive system includes enhanced Active Yaw Control, now
including rear wheel brake control for independent control of all four wheels, and the
evolution of 4WD control with a new hydraulically activated direct coupling device for faster
all-wheel response.

Impressive but what we don’t like is the twitchiness that marks the system. It never really
settles down, as the system continues to make tiny but frequent adjustments to maintain
optimum traction — and needs to be dialled back.

With a 55-litre tank, it is rated at 8.1L/100km and takes standard 91 unleaded. The trip
computer was showing 8.2L after just over 400km (the old one was good for 7.2L/100km).

Standard warranty is five years or 100,000km, but if you get your vehicle serviced with
Mitsubishi it’s an impressive 10 years or 200,000km.

Like the looks, less thrilled about the performance and the way it drives.


Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed, $47,990
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Mitsubishi dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed, 2.5-litre petrol, CVT 8-step automatic,
AWD five-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.5 litres
Configuration : Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 135 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 245 Nm @ 3600 rpm
Fuel Type: 91 RON (recommended)
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.1L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 185g/km

DRIVELINE: CVT automatic with 8-steps or gears, all-wheel drive

Length: 4710 mm
Wheelbase: 2706 mm
Width: 1862 mm
Height: 1745 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: : 1760 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres

Front: Ventilated disc (350mm)
Rear: Disc (330mm)

Ten year / 200,000km warranty with Mitsubishi dealer servicing otherwise five years /
100,000 km.

RATINGS (out of 10)
Looks: 8.5/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 7.5/10
Thirst: 7.5/10
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 7.5/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Overall: 7.8/10

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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