Mitsubishi Outlander LS seven-seat 2.4-litre petrol – $33,500
(2.5 / 5)
Mitsubishi is going all out at the moment to position itself as the SUV company, a fact that you may have noticed from the extensive advertising campaigns both on TV and online.
At the core of its SUV range is the venerable Outlander.
It’s been through a few changes over the years, but has remained Mitsu’s staple medium SUV, giving buyers good value for money and enough space to throw the family in the back.
Tell us a bit about it
Today’s Outlander sports Mitsubishi’s current design language – the dynamic shield front end – a far more attractive look than the previous bulbous iteration which had to be hastily restyled.
The rest of the sheet metal is mostly carried over, as is the interior.
The Outlander comes in a few flavours, notably five and seven seat versions, as well as two petrols and a diesel engine.
Our test car is the seven-seat LS, priced at a reasonable $33,500.
It’s worth noting, too, that this same car can come in a “safety pack” version, which adds autonomous emergency braking (AEB), radar-based cruise control, lane departure warning and auto high beam.
What powers it?
Under the bonnet is a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, coupled to a CVT gearbox.
As far as drivetrains go, this is a fairly unremarkable one.
The engine makes 124kw and 220Nm, but it’s worth remembering that it weighs 1500kg.
Thus, with only 220Nm to get it going, it does require a little of bit of patience, planning, or both.
That said, it’s infinitely better than the lethargic 2.0-litre that the front-wheel-drive versions of the Outlander get saddled with.
The CVT does help with fuel economy, though, keeping the revs low wherever possible.
For a petrol seven-seat car to return an ADR figure of 7.2L/100km isn’t bad at all.
Our fuel use for the week came in a mid-nines, a tad more than the ADR urban figure.
You do have to get used to the elastic nature of the CVT, which tends to wind out the engine when called upon to accelerate quickly.
Mitsubishi could take a leaf out of Subaru’s book, with Subi’s CVT ruling the roost in terms of driveability.
Speaking of driveability…
So it’s no quarter-mile tearer, but in every day driving, how does it fare?
Well, it’s not amazing but it’s not dire, either.
The ride is mostly good, enabling smooth driving over most surfaces with the 18-inch wheels, however the road noise can get a bit intrusive on rough-topped bitumen.
The result of softer suspension is that it doesn’t handle like some SUVs, and is a bit rolly around corners.
Like the engine and gearbox, the suspension is happiest when it’s driven with the flow of traffic and not pushed like a sports car.
The steering is also light, and not particularly feelsome, but again when driven sedately, it’s not a bother.
It does make the Outlander quite easy to park, though.
So, if you’re getting the picture that the Outlander isn’t a car that likes to be rushed, then you’d be right.
Loping along, enjoying the scenery, keeping pace with everyone else – that’s where this car feels right at home.
Will you feel at home inside?
Firstly, the seats are padded nicely, but the pattern – with its dimpled surface – manages to hold onto every grain of sand that gets brought into the car.
So, you’ll need to be vacuuming regularly, or opt for the Exceed over the LS to get leather seats and extra active safety gear.
The rear seats have enough leg and headroom, but the back seats are not a spot for adults to be – after all, this isn’t a Land Rover Discovery.
Think of seats six and seven as a spot for young children (those who have left booster seats behind, as there are no anchor points in the back row), and it makes more sense.
But, use the last two seats and there’s virtually no luggage space (128 litres).
Put the last two seat down and you’ll find 477 litres of space, and then the second row folded gives you 1608 litres – yes, there’s enough room for a flatpack or two.
Here’s the deal
For a seven-seat medium SUV, the Outlander LS is actually priced right.
But unless you’re going to use the last two seats, it’s up against some very stiff competition.
If you need do need a seven-seat car, then with Mitsu’s warranty, it’s a reasonable buy.
With a major update not too far away, it may be worth holding off for a while to see how far the Japanese company brings its staple SUV.
Can you take the Mitsubishi Outlander off road
Not if you’ve bought a 2WD version.
But the 4WD version is more capable than people give it credit for. It’s happiest with smaller wheels (in lower specced versions) where you can let the air out a bit more.
Then it needs to be locked in all wheel drive – do that and you can head onto the beach quite easily.
Just switch the traction control off and keep the speed up.