Mitsubishi Outlander 4x4 full 9 point review
The Outlander’s diesel engine has 148bhp and 280lb ft of pull, and even though it’s no fireball when you rev it hard, it’s keen enough at low and medium revs to keep life easy. Low-end models come with a six-speed manual gearbox, while posher versions come with a smooth (if slightly hesitant) six-speed automatic. The (auto-only) PHEV petrol-electric hybrid is brisk enough around town, but can feel a little leisurely at higher speeds.
Ride & Handling
Diesel models ride more comfortably than many rival SUVs, and are generally forgiving over bumpy roads. That loping gait means that body movement isn’t especially well controlled, though, so it can bounce around at higher speeds, and there’s quite a bit of lean in corners. The heavier hybrid model feels more stable in corners, although it doesn’t ride quite as smoothly as the diesel. No matter which version you go for, the steering is disconcertingly light at higher speeds.
The diesel engine transmits unwelcome vibrations through the steering wheel, and emits an intrusive clatter when you accelerate. It’s pretty quiet on the motorway, but you get a fair amount of wind and tyre noise at higher speeds, so the Outlander is still a bit tiring on long journeys. The manual gearshift is notchy, but the auto is smoother. The hybrid is very quiet when running in electric-only mode, and is still pretty hushed when the petrol engine kicks in.
Buying & Owning
Brochure prices look high, particularly compared with the Nissan X-Trail’s, but substantial discounts bring the purchase cost down to competitive levels. Resale values aren’t as good as those of many rivals, and servicing is also quite expensive, even if you go for a fixed-price package. The PHEV hybrid version can travel short distances on electric power alone, so it could be cheap to fuel; it certainly has extremely low company car tax bills. The diesel model is pretty economical.
Quality & Reliability
The Outlander’s cabin has some piano black inserts and metallic accents, but the other plastics feel quite cheap and the overall design is rather dated. Mitsubishi’s reliability record is a bit hit and miss: as a brand it did well in the latest What Car? reliability survey, coming in the top 10 of the 38 manufacturers featured; however, it finished near the bottom of the table in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey that it featured in.
Safety & Security
All versions come with stability control and seven airbags, including one to protect the driver’s knees. Top models get plenty of sophisticated safety measures, including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and a collision-mitigation system (which applies the brakes automatically if it senses an impending crash). The Outlander also received the maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test, although it didn’t score as highly as some rivals. Security kit is comprehensive.
Behind The Wheel
Finding a comfortable driving position isn’t easy because the seat has limited height adjustment and won’t drop low enough for taller drivers, and the steering wheel doesn’t adjust enough for rake or reach. Most of the dashboard controls are simply laid out, but some of the buttons are tucked away out of sight, and the touch-screen sat-nav system has complex menus and small, hard-to-hit icons.
Space & Practicality
All but entry-level Outlanders get seven seats as standard. There’s plenty of space in the front, but six-footers in the middle row will be close to brushing the ceiling with their heads. The two rearmost seats are fine for adults on short journeys, and they fold easily into the floor when not needed. The boot isn’t the biggest in the class, but it’s big enough in five-seat mode, and there’s room for a few bags even with all seven seats in place.
Entry-level GX2 models are pretty poorly equipped, so we’d opt for GX3 (or GX3h in the petrol-electric hybrid version), which gives you dual-zone climate control, reversing sensors, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. GX4 and GX4h trims come with heated leather seats, a reversing camera, sunroof and a powered tailgate, but they're pretty expensive, so are hard to make a case for.