Gracing our roads since around 2006, the sporty looking Mitsubishi Outlander is promoted as a mid sized SUV. However, a close look followed by a test drive reveals that it’s much more than that.
The vehicle reviewed is the all bells and whistles VRX Outlander, which seats up to five adult passengers comfortably within the leather trimmed seats. There’s even room for a couple of agile youngsters in the rear once the pair of under floor stored seats are set into upright position.
The Mitsubishi team seem to have built the Outlander as a mid sized family orientated wagon, however it’s also going to appeal to the young at heart thanks to some undeniably sporty characteristics. Chromed sports type floor pedals are the start of it, and the 18 inch wheels and steering wheel shifter paddles finish it off. It’s great fun for drivers who like to play with the six-speed gearbox manually. The Mitsubishi Evo inspired front end also gives the Outlander’s bonnet and grille a somewhat distinctive and slightly aggressive look.
The front seating area has quite a luxury feel thanks to plenty of leather trim. The heater equipped front seats (the driver’s with infinite electrical adjustment) are leather covered, there’s double stitching on leather door trims and centre arm rest, and even the gear selector, hand brake lever and steering wheel are leather. The centre arm rest is home to a 12v outlet and video input jack.
The Outlander’s dash area is not quite as fancy as some contenders within the SUV market, but highlights include the climate control air system, double glove compartments for the passenger, and the large Mitsubishi Multi Communication System screen. This offers a somewhat tricky to use Sat Nav system, and a very large and quite clear reversing camera. The dash may look a little sparse, but that is because many functions are located on the Outlander’s steering wheel.
Rear seat passengers are offered ample leg and reasonable head room, more leather trim plus quite a large roof mounted DVD screen. There is also plenty of storage throughout the Outlander’s cabin. Cup holders are plentiful, with ten in the vehicle.
A 60/40 split fold system for rear seats can see luggage capacity nearly doubling from 882L to 1690L. The rear tail gate has a fold down section for ease of loading; it can also be used as either a quick use seat or even a small table. Very handy!
It would be unfair to not mention the VRX Outlander’s 9 speaker premium Rockford Fosgate sound system. Sound was crystal clear, but it was a bit frustrating to find the FM radio didn’t seem to have much range at all.
On the road the V6 VRX was a treat to drive. Supple suspension courtesy of Macpherson struts and coils up front mated to a multilink set up at the rear ensured that only the very worst of road conditions intruded at all. The 24 valve fuel injected 3L petrol engine was very willing, and flicking up and down the six gears was quite seamless whether punting around the city or doing some spirited highway driving.
Power from the V6 came in at 169kW, with torque at a strong 291Nm. Tow capability is rated at 1600kg for a braked trailer.
With a superb driving position and brilliant HID head lights in the usual Mitsubishi style, the Outlander was a great unit whether in the city or out in the bush. About the only gripe was the amount of road noise, which seemed to be coming from the tyres when travelling at speed.
The Outlander VRX has an all terrain capability thanks to the vehicle’s Super All Wheel Control system (S-AWC) activated via a console knob. Settings see the vehicle in standard front two wheel drive, all wheel drive when necessary (if wheel slip is detected), and Lock for full time all wheel drive.
The S-AWC system works via sensors to provide best driving conditions in adverse conditions and is one of the more useful systems in so called soft roader SUVs.
Safety is a strong point with this Outlander; it enjoys a five star ANCAP rating. Dual front and side air bags are standard as are curtain air bags. There’s ESP and hill start assist so drivers should feel quite confident their investment will keep them as safe as possible.
The Mitsubishi Outlander VRX is a very comfortable car whether on bitumen or gravel roads. Not particularly hard on fuel if driven sensibly, the V6 auto will return around 10.5-11.5L/100km. With a 60L fuel tank, a range of somewhere around 500km+ should be on the cards.
Although a replacement Outlander is on the card for next year, there’s no doubt that quite a few owners will jump on model run outs at the latter part of 2012 and early 2013. For overall performance, comfort and sheer ease of driving, the VRX V6 auto is going to be hard to beat. Warranty is 5 years and 130,000 km. As reviewed and supplied by Nundah Mitsubishi, the vehicle would go into the garage for around $52,640.Reads: 2904