By Wayne Gorrett
* Drives well for a large 4×4 * Spacious * Torquey 2.2-litre diesel engine * GX4 is well-equipped *
* Cabin quality trails behind competing brands in its class * NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is poor over broken road surfaces * Poor kit on lower grades * GX3 and GX4 grades aren’t cheap *
☀ ☀ ☀
The fun-packed week that my extended family and I spent in the Tanzanite Blue GX4, was a very memorable one – and the Outlander made it so. Outings in the New Forest and to the beaches of south Hampshire and Dorset with seven passengers and a ‘bit’ of play kit in the very back was a breeze for us with the Mitsubishi handling the gruelling job with ne’er so much as a sniffle.
Introduced in 2001, the current model underwent its final facelift in 2010, adopting Mitsubishi’s style language visible throughout its range, most evident in the somewhat flattened but striking nose grille. An elegant side profile and a business-like rear ensures the handsome 4×4 will never be out of place at any gathering of horsey folk. It’s one big plus is the split tailgate proving ideal for the huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ folk. Oddly, Mitsubishi have removed this sell-able and practical feature from its incoming Outlander.
The in-line 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC MIVEC turbo-diesel engine with intercooler in the test car offers 174bhp (at 3,500rpm) and 380Nm of torque at 2,000rpm, delivering usable grunt across the 6-speed gearbox, with a respectable 9.6s 0-60 time. The test car had reassuring pulling power and gearbox flexibility to hustle the bulk along and the well-matched engine and gearbox is smooth and quiet on the motorway as it is tootling around town or ferrying the little tykes to school.
Ride and Handling
For a large 4×4, the Outlander showed little of the ‘blancmange effect’ suffered by a few in its class. This makes for a relaxed and enjoyable drive. The steering is well-weighted under normal driving conditions, but the overall weight of the car shows through with understeer when cornering in a spirited fashion. The car has a sportier suspension setup, evident by a spot of crashing, rumbling and a few rattles coming through into the cabin from broken road surfaces.
The Outlander will operate in standard two-wheel mode in normal conditions, directing power to the rear wheels when extra grip is needed. Overall though, whatever happens at ground level, it feels planted and sure-footed.
Space & Practicality
Across the Outlander range, seven seats are standard. As with most seven-seater SUVs in this class, the rearmost pair are small and suitable only for children or short grown-up journeys. They’re a bit awkward to fold but you do eventually get the hang of it. When folded away though, an enormous space of nearly 550 litres is revealed. If you need to create even more echo space, the seats on row two can be folded to open up a huge, flat loading space.
Adequate storage in the center console, door pockets and dual upper and lower glove box finish off an average quality, but comfortable interior.
The GX4 variant is as well-equipped as you would expect a top of the range model to be. Outside, 18″ alloy wheels, auto-levelling HID headlamps, sunroof, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers complete the picture. Inside, heated front seats, powered driver seat, leather-faced seats (front & 2nd row), HDD satellite navigation system and the Rockford Fosgate 710W audio system with its nine speakers and sub-woofer in the boot, rounds off the generous kit list.
Safety and Security
Euro NCAP awarded the second generation Outlander four stars, scoring well in side-impact tests. The GX4 gets six airbags and electronic stability programme and anti-lock brakes.
With a 2.2-litre oil-burning lump up front, the Outlander offers an official combined economy figure of 44.8mpg, I averaged 50.4mpg in real-world mixed conditions over the first 260 miles and 47.2mpg over the total 550 miles of the test. For most of those miles, all seven seats were kept warm. I have included a badly-taken picture indicating the 50.4mpg figure in the slideshow below (because I wouldn’t believe it either). CO2 emissions at 167g/km are not too good against latter-day rivals.
Subaru Forester, Nissan Qashqai +2, Chevrolet Captiva.
The third generation Outlander is being released later this month. The outgoing Outlander is roomy enough to comfortably sit five adults and the twins in the third row. It is a good and easy drive, is well styled, feels rugged and looks slightly different to most of its competitors – a deserved option for large families.
Now is the time to strike a real bargain as dealers attempt to clear out stock of the old model – along with a generous deal from Mitsubishi UK. Read about it here.
If I was in a buying position, I would snap one up in a nanosecond.