Midfield Mitsubishi Outlander soldiers on

Last updated 13:17 22/02/2012
The Mitsubishi Outlander
TOM GASNIER/NZ Autocar
SOLDIERING ON: The Mitsubishi Outlander.

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Though the Outlander is one of Mitsubishi's better products of the last few years, it's getting on in age.

We should see its replacement at year's end, at least on the international stage, but in the meantime, it soldiers on.

At $45,990, this XLS is the mid-point for ownership. It stacks up well against its competitors, particularly when you take into account the spec, which includes Bluetooth, USB connection for your iPod, keyless entry and go, 18-inch alloys, auto lights with cornering lamps, ESP, seven airbags and a five-star safety rating. New is the SmartBrake system, which will apply the brakes if you've somehow managed to stand on both pedals at the same time. And there's Mitsi's big warranty, too.

Outwardly, the Outlander still looks good in the car park, but the interior is showing its age. Mitsubishi has thrown some sort of leather-ish material on the seat bolsters, door and dash tops, but the cabin is otherwise a sea of hard black plastic. The seats are comfy, if lacking in the lumbar area (wish I'd taken my McKenzie roll with me on our journey south).

The Outlander's 2.4-litre four requires revs to realise its peak outputs of 127kW and 230Nm, which is made at 4100rpm. While the CVT takes up smoothly, it doesn't react too smartly to throttle inputs, meaning that the vehicle can take a while to get up and go. Using the shift paddles helps stir it into action. The quoted average fuel economy of 9.3L/100km isn't bad for a big car, but tread carefully on the throttle as this figure can climb steadily.

If you're looking at this option, you've probably kids to carry. As well as two Isofix attachments, there are seven seats here, though the third row is for primary school littlies only. These stow in the boot floor (the seats, not the kids - although it could be a nice place for them at times), and then you can pile whatever stuff you're transporting into the boot. This is exactly what these big wagons are good for. The Outlander's 882 litres of space increases to 1691 with the all seats tucked away, and the second row folds and tumbles forward at a press of a button.

While the Outlander is rated to tow 1500kg braked, it wouldn't do it easily, and consumption would soar. The press car was fitted with a removable tow bar, revealing a design flaw. With the tow ball in place, you can't lower the bottom half of the split tailgate, as it comes into contact. And in a plastic-versus-steel fight, steel wins every time. 

MODEL: Mitsubishi Outlander XLS.
PRICE: $45,990.
ENGINE: 2360cc, IL4, VVT, 127kW@6000rpm, 230Nm@4100rpm.
TRANSMISSION: CVT, on-demand AWD.
VITALS: 10.3sec 0-100km/h, 9.3L/100km, 216g/km, 1674kg.

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