Competent and appealing, but not outstanding.

What is it?

Mitsubishi’s first serious attempt at a mid-size SUV (the old model was more like an uglier version of a Subaru Forester). It's got switchable four-wheel drive (normally it's front-drive), and the option of seven seats - a very flimsy-feeling bench folding out of the floor for a third row.

What's it like?

Initial impressions are mostly positive. The styling is pleasantly chunky, although a little uninspiring. Inside, the good work continues with an attractive and well laid-out dashboard. Delve a little deeper, however, and you’ll discover that the dash plastics feel rather brittle, and the action of some of the switches isn’t as slick as you’d expect on a £25k vehicle.

On the move, the suspension does a more than respectable job, keeping body roll in check when you’re pressing on and smoothing over the scarred and broken bitumen of Britain’s towns and cities.

Unfortunately the drivetrain spoils the party somewhat. The VW-sourced 138bhp turbodiesel is punchy enough and the Outlander will hit 62mph in a respectable 10.8sec, but the diesel clatter is too intrusive and the car suffers from a lack of low-down urge, despite claims that peak torque arrives at 1750rpm. Better, we reckon, to wait until the 156bhp 2.2-litre Peugeot-sourced diesel becomes available later in the year.

Should I buy one?

Only If you really want to be different. The Outlander is a good effort, but it's up against cars as talented as the Honda CR-V and as charismatic as the Land Rover Freelander.

Matt Rigby

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