Ford-PSA 2.2-litre diesel engine makes Outlander much better, but can we have a cheaper one please?

What is it?

A new engine for the Mitsubishi Outlander, and one you may already be familiar with. It’s the same Ford-PSA sourced 2.2-litre diesel found under the bonnet of the Outlander’s sister cars, the Citroen C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007, also in the Land Rover Freelander, and soon to appear in the Ford Mondeo too.

This is a crucially important addition to Mitsubishi’s line-up – both the C-Crosser and the 4007 have offered this engine from launch. So far anyone keen on the rugged Mitsubishi will have been stuck with a VW-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine, and Autocar’s original road test back in March 2007 heavily criticised this low-tech lump for being too noisy and unrefined.

While the 2.0-litre diesel is still available, this new range-topping 2.2-litre from PSA offers a more attractive alternative.

What’s it like?

Better. We’ve rated the PSA 2.2 diesel highly elsewhere, and it impresses again in the Outlander.

It’s much quieter than the VW unit, settling into a gentle rumble at idle rather than a raging clatter. It’s not the sort of hush that will impress the owner of a BMW 5-series, but the noise level is now acceptable for a workhorse like the Outlander. It’s also worth mentioning that our test car had only notched up delivery miles – it will probably get quieter as the engine loosens up.

The 2.2-litre PSA diesel is significantly more powerful than the old 2.0-litre, packing 154bhp and 280lb ft torque compared with 128bhp and 228lb ft. The result is a marked difference in driving experience. This engine’s urge drives the big SUVs 1735kg mass with minimal fuss and offers a surprising turn of pace between 40- and 70mph.

Offroad the extra torque also proves useful, although it’s a shame that peak pulling power couldn’t be served at lower revs to help out with mud-crawling. Although the Outlander’s got lockable four-wheel-drive, there’s little doubt that it wouldn’t perform as well over the fields as an identically engined Land Rover Freelander.

Mitsubishi’s big on highlighting the Outlander’s clean, green credentials and likes to make a point of the new engine’s modern diesel particulate filters. But on the environmental figures that matter most – those that reduce road tax and cut your fuel bills – the 2.2-litre is one of the least economical engines offered with the Outlander. Fuel consumption slips to a claimed 38mpg combined, and that equates to 194g/km CO2 emissions.

That’s not terrible – so don’t tolerate the green brigade burning effigies of you for buying this car – but do consider that it will cost slightly more to run than the 2.0-litre.

Should I buy one?

Now that you can get the Outlander with the 2.2-litre Ford-PSA engine, it’s a slightly more tempting propostion than the Peugeot 4007 and Citroen C-Crosser with which it shares a production line. Mitsubishi is a much more powerful 4x4 brand than either of the French alternatives, and the Outlander isn’t saddled with the dodgy styling or weak residual values that blight the Peugeot and Citroen respectively.

The problem is the Outlander’s price. Since Mitsubishi is keeping the 2.0-litre lump on for cooking models, the 2.2-litre engine is only available in range-topping Diamond trim, which means it costs a whopping £26,999. For that you get plenty of equipment, including a high end DVD multimedia system, but it’s still £5k more than you might pay for a mechanically identical Citroen C-crosser. And £5000 is lot in the compact 4x4 market.

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Adding the 2.2-litre PSA engine improves the Outlander’s ownership appeal significantly. It fact, there’s very little wrong with this car; it’s a shame we can’t say the same for Mitsubishi UK’s marketing strategy, which currently saddles anyone who can’t afford the top-spec model with a decidedly second rate engine.

When the importer finally comes to its senses, deletes the 2.0-litre diesel model altogether and knocks that £5k off this Outlander’s price, we’ll be able to recommend it. Until then, we’d buy a Citroen C-Crosser – or a mid-spec Land Rover Freelander, for that matter – and keep the change.

Will Powell

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