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First Impression: Mitsubishi Outlander – The ideal family-mover

POSTED BY ON 10 April 2016

Coming with ample safety features, there is room for everyone

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IT is only fitting that an SUV needs to be utilitarian but if it’s going to be used to ferry an entire family in the long run, it has to strike its future buyer as a large vehicle that is inarguably comfortable and well-equipped.

In our most humble opinion, it really doesn’t matter if an SUV lacks whatever the current automotive market has to offer in terms of classy in-car gadgets because at the end of the day, making sure that a journey is whine-free is a priority rather than fondling with your techs all day which you know for sure you’ll get too used to in time anyway.

Which now brings us to the latest player in the domestic C-segment SUV team – the Mitsubishi Outlander, which recently underwent a not-so-outlandish nip/tuck. Don’t be mistaken, though, it was never our intention to say that in an undesirable manner.

It may not be one of the sharpest looking SUVs around, however, it’s fair enough to say that the latest Outlander is one of the most refined models in Mitsubishi’s line-up, thanks to an upgrade that was done just right.

Exterior-wise, “great” would be an overstatement but basically, after several tweaks and alterations here and there, the latest Outlander has an external appearance that’s easy on the eyes in comparison to its precursors.

For one thing, the grille belonging to the 2012 Outlander has been replaced with a set of enormous chrome ones. On top of that, the SUV now has a more mature, distinctive face made possible by chrome strips that nicely “connect” the headlamps to its foglamps – part of the elements making up Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield design concept that has been fused into the 2016 Outlander; that’s a plus point, for us.

If ever you get your hands on one unit and notice that there are bits and pieces of chrome on almost every part of the Outlander, then it’s true – Mitsubishi was generous enough when it came to styling and in fact, it accentuates the “upmarket” appearance of the SUV, as proven on the red-coloured Outlander which we had with us recently during a drive to Johore Baru.

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Before we move on to its cockpit, we’d just like to point out that it’s already 2016 and as yours truly tend to lean towards the idea of being minimalistic, for a vehicle that carries a price tag that’s about RM4,000 shy of RM170,000, the cabin styling and design fail to justify its market value although this is compensated by other worthwhile features, which we will of course talk about further down this review.

The Outlander’s interior is too simple and nothing more. It doesn’t exactly excel in the interior styling category; its infotainment system can be described as just basic and while we had it, failure to connect our devices to its Bluetooth system was unexpected although forgiven.

Front heated seats are available but evidently, there is a lack of air-conditioning vents especially in the back – a concept we scarcely fathom. Then again, we were not utterly disappointed after all, thanks to the presence of a sunroof and tailgate, premium features that we’d actually pay for.

Third-row seats are available though it does not affect overall legroom and hiproom, and this is good news for every large family out there. Once the second- and third-row seats are folded, you get a cargo capacity of 1,608 litres (it’s what the manufacturer claims).

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But as tried and tested recently, that’s sufficient enough to swallow at least two golf bags, one large ice cooler boxes, two full-size luggage bags and one folded bicycle. Just in case anyone’s wondering, yes, there was still extra space to stuff more items. Wind noise is noticeable yet bearable when driving in gusty winds.

In other foreign markets, the Outlander is available in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive but our local showrooms will be receiving only one variant which is the 4WD petrol.

Placed under the hood is a 2.4-litre Mivec engine that feeds 165hp of output and 222Nm of torque to the wheels.

Power, unfortunately, gets a little hopeless when you need it the most and in saying so, driving enjoyment is compromised when the pedal is floored as the Outlander starts wobbling once the needle touches anywhere past 150km/h as we had experienced. Otherwise, together with a CVT gearbox, the power plant’s capabilities are adequate enough for daily driving. Braking power, meanwhile, lies somewhere between “all right” and “work in progress”, so it’s best to exercise cautious drifting.

Three driving modes are available for your perusal, namely the 4WD Eco (torque is disseminated to the front wheel in normal road conditions but evenly split between all four wheels when situations worsen), 4WD Auto (cornering and high-speed firmness is maintained by providing the right amount of torque to all wheels) and 4WD Lock (on inclines, muddy tracks or any other uneven surfaces, torque is permanently fed to the wheels).

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Mitsubishi claims that the Outlander clocked in 7.8 litres per 100km; this was recorded based on internal testing. Nevertheless, we managed 11.6 litres per 100km. Though we are certain we did not push the Outlander to its limits during the drive back to Kuala Lumpur, the only theory behind the discrepancy that makes sense for now is the accidental activation of the 4WD Lock mode by some entity which went unnoticed for about 30 minutes or so.

Of course, like most other manufacturers that are catching up with the latest vehicle safety regulations and requirements, Mitsubishi has equipped its Outlander with seven airbags, active stability and traction control, hill-start assist, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and Isofix child seat mounts.

With all that being said, the cost of buying one unit of the newest Outlander lies somewhere between the price brackets of its rivals, namely the Nissan X-Trail 2.5L 4WD (RM159,164) and Honda CR-V 2.4L 4WD (RM172,600). It may not be the best choice of a big family SUV but the big advantage held by the SUV is its roominess, if not its appearance and its ample suite of safety features for that extra family well-being and security.

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Specifications of the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4

Engine: 2,360cc four-cylinder Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (Mivec) petrol
Transmission: Continuously variable transmission
Maximum output: 165hp @ 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 222Nm @ 4,100 rpm
Safety features: Seven airbags, active stability and traction control, ABS with EBD, hill-start assist, brake assist, Isofix child mounts
Price: RM166,720 (exclusive introductory OTR price for units booked and registered before May 31, 2016)