Matt Saunders
22 December 2012

What is it?

The third generation of Mitsubishi’s Outlander, which is now just weeks from its UK-market introduction. A full road test is in the offing, as is a group test – the latter taking into account the avalanche of new models you’ve got to choose from if you’re shopping for a £30k SUV this winter. Whether it’s the 2013 Toyota RAV4, the new Ford Kuga, last year’s Honda CRV or the Hyundai Santa Fe – or none of the above – you can be certain that we’ll crown a new Autocar class champion before long.

But ahead of all that came an early chance to sample the Outlander in UK-market specification and right-hand-drive form. Not on UK roads, more’s the pity, but at least on surfaces varied enough to tell how this medium-size seven-seater should conduct itself over here.

What is it like?

There aren’t any glaring ergonomic gaffes on this car. You wouldn’t expect there to be on something developed in Japan, but when certain European rivals still come with the odd displaced handbrake and reduced glovebox, it’s worth applauding a job well done when we find one.

Although greatly improved, the Outlander’s cabin is less than a match for many of those Europeans on material richness or upmarket ambiance, but the company faithful probably prefer the car that way: functional, unaffected, but still comfy and robust. We’d agree with ‘em. The ‘open book’ fascia looks modern and the trims, accents and switchgear feel solid.

There is no such thing as a UK suspension set-up on a Mitsubishi; unlike with certain other Far Eastern brands, UK cars get the common European chassis tune. Back-to-back experience of a Japanese-market Outlander confirms that Euro ones are significantly more roll-resistant, but sacrifice commendably little in terms of ride compliance.

The new Outlander is definitely one of the more comfortable SUVs in the class, just as the old one was. It has a new twin front suspension subframe, lighter arms in the multi-link rear end and new strut top mounts up front, and all seem to contribute to the relaxing calm that inhabits the cabin.

The car’s outright performance levels aren’t outstanding, and it won’t tempt people away from Ford Kugas and BMW X3s on driver involvement. Although it steers accurately and accelerates briskly enough, there’s little to pique your interest here. You turn the wheel or flex a pedal, the car responds – not particularly quickly, keenly or with much in the way of character, but with consistency and competence, and nothing to take a dislike to. Mechanical refinement is good, and both wind and road noise seem well contained.

Should I buy one?

Maybe – but the chances are most won’t even consider the car. In a class packed with fresh metal, 'comfy’ and ‘competent’ probably won’t be enough to create big interest for the Outlander. Particularly when, to these eyes, the car’s styling is too derivative to set it apart.

We’ll take nothing away from a thoroughly respectable effort, though, especially at this early stage. Mitsubishi has done a decent job here, and has ensured that one of its key models remains if not outstanding, then at the very least competitive. Those who know this car will end up rating it quite highly – and so they probably should.

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DiD GX4 4WD

Price: £30,000 (tbc); 0-62mph: 9.7sec; Top speed: 124mph (tbc); Economy: 50.4mpg (tbc); CO2: 146g/km (est); Kerb weight: 1590kg (est); Engine type, cc: 4cyls in line, 2268cc, turbodiesel; Power: 148bhp at 3500rpm; Torque: 280lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
11

The styling

1 year 48 weeks ago

The first Outlander was a bit weird, but it looked distinctive. The second one looked very good, right until Mitsubish decided that they should slap a "Company face" on all their models, using the Lancer front styling, and while it works for the Colt, it didn't work for the Outlander.
And now this...looks like it was designed by the US division of the company, or at least targeted towards that market. Pity. 

Bad UK roads?

1 year 48 weeks ago

Are they really that bad?  I have found far worse roads in Germany, Italy and France. California takes the biscuit though, truly appalling.  Our road network strikes me as pretty good but we just love to moan about it and think of ourselves as something exceptional.

" 'comfy’ and ‘competent’

1 year 48 weeks ago

" 'comfy’ and ‘competent’ probably won’t be enough to create big interest for the Outlander."

Speak for yourself, plus 7 seats, very good CO2 levels for its size/4WD, Mitsubushi's 4 wheel drive system is excellent and the thing will probably be bullet proof. The only bit kills my interest is the price and the look. I can see where they were going, the old one especially in Warrior trim could be mistaken for a their pickup and looked a bit like a construction site vehicle. This one is more car/crossover style to appeal to a more domestic market but its a bit too bland and un-chunky for me. 
You missed the new totally reworked Kia Sorrento off your list, best looking of the lot and if they have fixed the terrible dynamics now it would be a very strong competititor.

Mitsubishi's go-anywhere cars

1 year 48 weeks ago

Mitsubishi Outlander offers little for owners to enthuse about. That's quite a catchline, Matt. I know guys who think Mitsubishi Outlander is god in the world of 4WDs. And they prove so in Scottish highlands. And they are so looking forward to this new incarnation.

I personally don't like or need one since I live in the plain old South-East where SUVs are purely used for school and office runs. But I know that Mitsubishi 4WDs are very competent vehicles with go-almost-anywhere ability. And their diesels are deceptively powerful too and come in their own on those steep hill climbs.

fadyady wrote:  And their

1 year 48 weeks ago

fadyady wrote:

 And their diesels are deceptively powerful too and come in their own on those steep hill climbs.

Are you sure of that? the 'current' Outlander has an ancient crude 2.0 130bhp PD diesel unit supplied by VW, the top of the ranges had a 158bhp 2.2 unit which is quite good supplied by PSA from Citroen (I heard there was a tie in with Ford so a version of it is used in the Freelander)

none are 'Mitsubushi' engines as such..

Clarkey wrote:Are they

1 year 48 weeks ago

Clarkey wrote:

Are they really that bad?  I have found far worse roads in Germany, Italy and France. California takes the biscuit though, truly appalling.  Our road network strikes me as pretty good but we just love to moan about it and think of ourselves as something exceptional.

quite - I have made the point on many occasions here that German roads are no better than ours when it comes to general condition.

If anything, Germany offers a worse experience than the UK for keen drivers, in that speed cameras are hidden out of sight, draconian measures are in place for traffic violations in urban areas (though I should say, this is something I agree with), radar warning devices are banned where they are legal here, and so on.

This is all before you consider the fact Germany has the highest number of speed cameras on the entire continent, and there are speed limits in force on significant stretches of most autobahns. A driving nirvana it is no longer.

Autocar wrote:

The car’s outright performance levels aren’t outstanding, and it won’t tempt people away from Ford Kugas and BMW X3s on driver involvement.

is the Kuga or X3 a 7 seater? Does the Outlander not deserve a comparison with genuine 7 seater rivals? Where is the parallel with the Hyundai or Kia or Qashqai+2, or even with its bigger brother Shogun - also a 7 seater but barely more money? I might also point out that the Qashqai is bland and "derivative" but they can't make it fast enough.

Perhaps if you focussed on the Outlander's strengths rather than compare it to cars whose buyers have different priorities we may get a better idea of what it has to offer.

The Apprentice

1 year 48 weeks ago

The Apprentice wrote:

fadyady wrote:

 And their diesels are deceptively powerful too and come in their own on those steep hill climbs.

Are you sure of that? the 'current' Outlander has an ancient crude 2.0 130bhp PD diesel unit supplied by VW, the top of the ranges had a 158bhp 2.2 unit which is quite good supplied by PSA from Citroen (I heard there was a tie in with Ford so a version of it is used in the Freelander)

none are 'Mitsubushi' engines as such..

Bit out of date there apprentice, for the past two years the outlander has come with a Mitsubishi produced 2.2 which is nice and punchy, aside from the twin clutch models which still have the psa engine, you're right the 2.0 in older models was pretty unsuited though. 

Bad UK roads?

1 year 48 weeks ago

I'm with Clarkey on this, I drive about 25k miles a year mainly in the UK but have driven all over Europe and parts of the US and our roads just aren't as bad as you guys make out - I don't ride a motorbike anymore having given up fairly recently, motorbikes are a great way to really understand road surfaces and from experience wet grip on may french roads especially anything painted is truly lethal. 

Bad UK roads?

1 year 48 weeks ago

I sometimes wonder if the allegedly special nature of UK roads is used as an excuse to tone down rose tinted gushing praise written the morning after some sun-drenched model launch junket.

nickp47 wrote: Bit out of

1 year 48 weeks ago

nickp47 wrote:

Bit out of date there apprentice, for the past two years the outlander has come with a Mitsubishi produced 2.2 which is nice and punchy, aside from the twin clutch models which still have the psa engine, you're right the 2.0 in older models was pretty unsuited though. 

Ah its a fair cop Nick! hmm same torque and similiar other specification, 20bhp more, hard to believe its not a revision of the PSA unit seems a lot of trouble to go to making a new motor for a couple of years but if it isn't, it isn't. Smile

I wanted an Outlander but got the C-Crosser instead, same car but better spec/£, Outlanders with the 2.2 were still pricey.

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