The Mitsubishi Outlander is slower than the previous generation, but it certainly isn't slow. It's 0-60mph times are about average for a medium-size 4x4.
What MMC has realised is that little of that actually matters much. Most Outlander owners will care a great deal more that their new 4x4 is rated to tow two tonnes on a braked trailer – more than an equivalent Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V – and that, broadly speaking, it’s a strong performer with bountiful low-down lugging power.
All models come with Mitsubishi's 2.2-litre diesel engine and buyers can choose from a manual or an automatic transmission.
If you opt for the six-speed automatic, instead of the conventional and unobtrusive six-speed manual, then the spacing of ratios in the gearbox takes some getting used to.
The gearing seems very short indeed as you pull away – so much so that you wonder how noisy your motorway cruise is going to be. As it turns out, fifth and sixth are a lot taller than the other gears, so it’s not so noisy.
There is a bit of a hole between fourth and fifth, but you’re never really aware of it with the automatic gearbox left to shift by itself, which it does smoothly and intelligently. But in manual mode – towing up a long motorway incline, say – you could find yourself caught in that hole. And once caught, you’d certainly notice the Outlander’s disdain for operating at high crank speeds.
Having said that, mechanical refinement elsewhere is quite impressive – not because the cabin is particularly well isolated from the engine, but because the engine is fairly quiet to begin with.
Running a compression ratio of 14.9:1, Mitsubishi’s aluminium four-pot diesel may not be the quietest in the class, but its combustion certainly seems softer and less clattery than many.