Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 GX4
The Outlander has a fresher look but retains a visual link with the old car
- Very practical and comfortable cabin
- Quiet diesel engine offers decent performance
- Surprisingly low running costs
- Easy to drive
- Exterior design looks awkward from some angles
- Badge snobbery may put some buyers off
- Driving experience is undemanding but uninspiring too
- Seven-seats not fitted to GX2 version
Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi has had a strong presence in the 4x4 sector for many years and has also expanded this to include the increasingly-popular SUV sector. This is the third generation of its Outlander, which aims to satisfy a broad range of buyers with four-wheel drive, strong economy and a practical cabin.
The Outlander's role within the Mitsubishi range is intended to be more generalist than some of the other offerings; although it's a relatively large SUV it is less of hardcore off-roader than the bigger Shogun model. In that respect it is intended to have a broader appeal and help to bring new customers into the Mitsubishi brand.
Visually there are elements of the previous generation model in its tall and slim body, but overall it is a much fresher and more modern design. A slim grille flows smoothly into large headlamps and there is a pleasing absence of garnish; this is a clean and unfussy-looking car.
On the inside the latest Outlander retains one of the main appeals of the outgoing car, namely it's excellent practicality. It has seven seats as standard on GX3 models and above, with the rears stowed easily and best suited to children, while in five-seat configuration it has a good-sized boot. It also allows a combination of seats and luggage to suit most situations.
Mechanically the Outlander follows a well-established recipe, with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes driving all four wheels. Crucially however the latest Outlander gets an updated 2.2-litre diesel engine which has improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions, something which is a crucial factor for many buyers.
Our verdict on the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 GX4
While Mitsubishi may still be something of a minor player in the UK market, the Outlander delivers an impressive all-round package the has the potential to succeed. It is easy to drive, comfortable and practical, and should be remarkably cheap to run given its size. Only the low-key image and modest driving experience count against it.
For a car of this size the Outlander offers the potential for remarkably low running costs. The sole engine option combines well with either transmission to give impressive fuel consumption and emission figures, something which few cars with four-wheel drive or seven seats can match.
Space and practicality
With an emphasis on practicality the Outlander has a great deal to offer the motorist with a range of requirements. The first two rows of passengers have a good portion of head and legroom, and although the third row of seats are intended for children only an adult could still squeeze aboard for a short journey. Folding the seats frees up a large luggage space, including turning the Outlander into a virtual van.
Controls and display
The layout inside the Outlander is refreshingly simple, with two large instruments behind the steering wheel supplemented by a information display between them. Also the Outlander avoids having a mass of buttons scattered across the cabin, with all the main controls being very easy to understand and operate.
Where the Outlander claws back some ground is comfort levels. The suspension is biased towards comfort to give an impressively smooth ride, dealing with poor road surfaces with comparative ease. The noise levels from the engine and the tyres are also well managed, although there is a little more wind noise a motorway speeds.
All Outlander models have an alarm, immobiliser and remote central locking as standard, while the load cover will keep the contents of the boot away from prying eyes, although this isn't the case should you have all the seats folded.
Even the entry-level Outlander comes with an impressive haul of safety kit, including active stability and traction control, a driver's knee airbag as well as front and curtain airbags, plus City Brake Control which intervenes in the event of a low-speed collision. Higher specification models add radar cruise control and lane-keep assist.
The Outlander offers a low-stress driving experience that makes life very easy for the driver. The high driving position makes it easy to see out to allow good anticipation, while the light steering, fuss-free gearbox and torquey engine mean very little effort is required by the driver. Keener motorists might find the driving experience a little unexciting, but this will only be a minority.
Family car appeal
The Outlander is very well suited to family life, with the ability to carry five children being the main reason. Alternatively it can carry a family of five whilst still retaining a well-sized luggage area, with the added bonus of secure four-wheel drive.
First car appeal
Few new drivers will need this much space or have this much money to spend, although should they decide to plump for the Outlander they will find it comparatively easy to drive.
Quality and image
The overall quality levels inside the Outlander are respectable and competitive with most cars in the class. Much of the cabin feels well constructed and sturdy, although the materials themselves are not the best in the class. The Outlander's image benefits from the reputation of sturdy working vehicles like the Shogun, even though the Outlander is more of an on-road vehicle.
The Outlander's high ride height puts the seats and the floor at a convenient height for climbing in, while the all the doors have big handles that are easy to use and a large aperture for easy access. The same goes for the boot, although electric access is only fitted on the high-specification versions.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
All Outlander models have USB and MP3 connectivity, with even the entry level model fitted with a six-speaker audio system. Basic steering wheel controls are also fitted, while the top specification model brings with it an upgraded stereo and satellite navigation system.
Colours and trim
The Outlander is relatively discreet compared to many SUVs of this size and so it tends to look better in more sober shades such as silver and black. That said one of the feature colours is a metallic orange gives it a substantial lift. On the inside there is the common blend of dark greys and blacks, which despite the large glazed area can leave the cabin feeling a little dark.
A car of this size can present issues when parking but the Outlander is blessed with a large glass area and a high driving position, which makes life considerably easier. The power steering is very light at low speeds, while rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are available on higher specification models.
The Outlander is fitted with a space saver spare wheel.
Diesel engine options - 2.2-litre (147bhp). Transmission options: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Trim levels: GX2, GX3, GX4, GX5.
Volkswagen Tiguan Classy and on-road biased, but not as practical as the Outlander
Honda CR-V Efficient, quiet and capable, the CR-V is understandably popular
Volvo XC60 Typical Volvo attributes of sensible design and refined quality
Peugeot 3008 More of a crossover alternative, the 3008 is highly practical but best on-road