Last year I took the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4L four-cylinder for a test drive and was pretty happy with its performance. I thought at the time that if the four was this good, just how good the V6 version would be. I am pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint and the ride was as impressive as expected.
When I undertook the original review with one of the early press fleet vehicles there were very few, if any, Outlanders on the roads and around the car parks. These days, however, there is absolutely no shortage of them.
The five-door Outlander wagon is a handsome little beast. Much like a baby Pajero in many ways, it still retains its own entity and there are plenty of innovative features to keep buyers happy. The ride is very smooth, thanks to McPherson struts up front plus trailing arms and coil-over struts in the rear.
Mitsubishi have warmed to the idea of catering for passenger loads with five- and seven-seat options available. The last row of seats within the expansive luggage area is best suited to youngsters but the bonus is that the seat folds neatly below the floor when not in use and can be folded out in a single movement from the back of the vehicle.
The reviewed V6 Outlander came in the VRX version – plenty of bells and whistles – and lacked virtually nothing but a driver. Electronically-controlled seating and ample power-operated features were there for everyone, including the all-important cruise control.
Climate-control air, Bluetooth phone kit, fog lamps plus paddle gear shifters are all par for the VRX course. Standard also is electronic stability and traction control for easy going in the not-so-friendly stuff. The VRX specification also adds leather seat trim, side curtain airbags, HID headlights and a Rockford Fosgate stereo system. The stereo was great when fed a constant diet of CDs but the radio was not so flash; I found it faded when away from the capital cities.
The VRX is also equipped with 18” wheels running 225/50 series tyres for extra ground clearance.
Contemporary styling and a sleek brushed alloy look about the dash contrasted beautifully with the smooth interior trim. The Outlander is really a pretty little beast and in its six-speed auto mode it was a treat to drive.
The V6 never seemed to be working hard or produce intrusive noise.
I noted that on the freeway sixth gear produced 110kmh right on 2000 rpm.
The 3L V6 punches out 162kW of power and 276Nm of torque. On test runs of city and country driving, the reviewed Outlander returned fuel consumption figures of around 9.6L to 10.6L per 100km.
Night driving was also exceptionally good. In line with the Pajero marque, the Outlander had headlights so good one could drive easily on low beam, even on country roads. This is thanks to the High Intensity Discharge headlights’ self-levelling capability.
On the topic of country driving, the V6 Outlander's auto gearbox was connected to switchable on-demand system, offering 2WD (front), AWD on demand and AWD Lock.
The AWD lock system is designed to direct more drive to the rear as required and it's quite handy because the lock mode can be used at any speed. It was particularly good on gravel roads where just a bit more traction made for sure-footedness.
Mind you, it was only on the worst corrugations that it was necessary to engage the Lock AWD mode.
Ground clearance of the Outlander VRX was comfortable but it pays to remember that this vehicle – as with most of its 'soft road' or 'crossover ' cousins – simply cannot go where the Pajero can.
There are limitations due to lack of a low gear range and wheel travel clearance.
However, the Outlander is a very capable people mover and will sneak along dirt roads and fire trails in fine style. And even a run up the beach should be negotiated without much trouble.
The V6 Outlander VRX is a very classy vehicle with a degree of refinement that that enables it to compete strongly in its market sector. Noise, vibration and harshness (the dreaded NVH – bane of all car makers) are all well and truly curtailed within the Outlander.
The vehicle is as much of a family station sedan as an off-roader in driving characteristics. And a luxury one in VRX trim.Reads: 3257