What is it?
Mitsubishi’s honest Outlander SUV has been launched in SE trim (and even glitzier GSE), which works like a special edition, offering bags of extra kit for the same cash. The Outlander is now three years old, around the time when a range is due for a spruce up, and as such Mitsubishi is feeling generous.
Effectively it has taken a basic 2.0 Di-D Equippe and thrown in 18-inch alloys, Bluetooth, cruise control, privacy glass, extra airbags, and a third row of seats. The GSE gets leather seats and a DVD player for another £1500.
What’s it like?
Not bad at all. Amid a market saturated with flashy, road-orientated SUVs, it would be easy to write off the Mitsubishi as a bit crude, but this may be missing the point. The interior is plasticky, admittedly, but the air con, which uses the same controls as an Evo, works well, the fabric seats are comfortable and everything has a rugged, hard-wearing feel to it.
The biggest letdown is the driving position, which is borrowed straight from the Warrior pick-up. The leather wheel doesn’t adjust for reach leaving the driver in a peculiar slumped position over the wheel. Space is better than you’d think, especially in the second row of seats, and the third row is handy, if a little flimsy feeling.
On the road the Mitsubishi is also more sophisticated than you may think. There is a little bounce to the suspension, but the secondary ride is impressive for this type of vehicle. The VW-sourced diesel has an old school rattle at first but on the road this disappears and the Outlander makes a decent fist of some level of refinement.
On the Mitsubishi website it says the “brakes, suspension and aluminium roof (for a low centre of gravity) are all borrowed from Mitsubishi's iconic Lancer Evolution”. This isn’t strictly true, as the press office told me the set-up had in fact been tested on an Evo but no parts are shared, but nevertheless it must have had some effect. The Outlander’s handling is tidy, body roll being kept to a minimum and decent levels of grip for this type of car.
Should I buy one?
If you are fed up with your soft-roaders not being hard enough then the Outlander may be worth a look. It’s a bit more rough and ready and less suited to urban driving than some of its competitors, but it’s nice to know this kind of four-wheel drive still exists in this segment.