I dunno, Mitsubishi’s Outlander lineup confuses the hell out of me with some versions scoring seven seats but no advanced driver assist technology, some are five seaters, some have a six speed auto, some have a CVT and some have a five speed manual.
Three engines are available; a 2.0-litre petrol, a 2.4-litre petrol and a 2.2 litre diesel. All are only SOHC – single cam units that is a rarity in these days of multi cam engines designed to optimise efficiency.
Then there’s front wheel drive and AWD as well as the PHEV plug in jobbie sitting in the background.
Talk about having a bet each way.
Whatever, subject of this review is the front wheel drive ES seven seater with CVT transmission.
It came as a bit of a shock how good this car actually is. I had low expectations but then, I seem to be getting plenty of wrong preconceived ideas these days. Must be getting old…
The test car is one up from the base and goes for $30,990.
I like it, and apart from the cute new Eclipse, the Outlander probably ranks as the best looking model in Mitsubishi‘s local SUV lineup. It doesn’t have much to beat though especially the hideous Pajero Sport.
There’s the family face with sweeping chrome grille elements and chunky appearance across all body work.
The Outlander looks smaller than it is thanks in part to clever styling.
It’s practical offering plenty of ground clearance and easy access. And you can tell straight away it’s a Mitsubishi.
Though this was the base model, the interior is easy on the eye and functional though there are plenty of equipment omissions and plenty of blocked off switch holes.
The seats are pretty comfy although the mid row folding mechanism is daft.The rear seats are small.
The ES misses out of plenty the good stuff but does have a decent 7-inch control screen and adequate connectivity/infotainment but no hardwired satnav.
The bluetooth system is as annoying as that used by Toyota in its cheaper models. I gave up trying to pair my phone at one point. Then it decided to pairt of its own accord.
There’s a decent trip computer and though most surfaces are grey, there are some splashes of attractive silver carbon fibre look fascia.
The ES does alright in this department with
• Dual zone climate control
• Pollen filter
• Mitsubishi’s handy `MID’ info system
• Digital radio for city dwellers
• Cruise control
• Remote central locking and keyless start
• Multi drive modes including Eco
• Fold flat floor for middle and third row seats.
Drive and Engine
This was the part that took me by surprise because being an old tech single cam engine doesn’t stack up with the level of performance delivered by the Outlander ES.
It goes really well and the 2.4-litre petrol engine can be economical if you have a bit of a crack.
The CVT is a tad laggy but once hooked up off it goes. Quite impressive for a family wagon like this that weighs 1475kg.
The engine is good for 124kW and 220Nm and I reckon Mitsubishi has done something to the internals to make it perform and not use much juice that we saw down to the 7.2 litres/100km mark. It’s fairly smooth and quite too.
On the dynamic side, the ES Outlander is limited by its design and height but isn’t a slug by any stretch.
It feels pretty sharp through the steering and though the CVT starts slurring away when you put the foot down, it can be a bit of fun.
Though Mitsu’ says it will tow 1600kg, that might be a bridge too far for a front wheel drive such as this.
Five stars despite any real advanced driver assist technology so the body/chassis is obviously strong and the vehicle has the requisite features to protect its occupants to highest standard.
Thankfully it has a reverse camera and you know what, the thing sticks to the road well due to decent rubber and a proper MacPherson strut/ multi-link rear suspension keeping everything under control.
• Surprisingly spritely engine performance
• Responsive steering
• Decent ride
• Looks good
• Seven seat capacity
• Relatively economical on E10 too
• App driven Infotainment system
• Impressive audio for the cheapie model
• Like the 18-inch wheels and alloys that come standard
Not so good bits
• CVTs…. Don’t like ‘em
• No advanced driver assist features to speak of
• Super annoying Bluetooth phone operation
• Difficult second row folding mechanism
Yes, hmmm, OK.
Would I if I was in the medium SUV market?
The Outlander PHEV I drove immediately after this car was a total waste of time. Nobody would bother to plug the thing in and the cost… up to $55,500.
So this car stacks up quite well but I’d go the extra $1500 for the ADAS model and forget about the third row of seats unless absolutely necessary. Or go for the LS model around the same money.
See. told you it was complicated.
Facts and Figures 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 ES
• Engine: 2.4-litre, SOHC, petrol four cylinder 124kW/220Nm
• Transmission: CVT, front wheel drive
• Safety: 5-Star
• Origin: Japan
• Price: $30,500