The grim reaper for the traditional Aussie large family sedan or wagon is undoubtedly the now ubiquitous SUV. The deadly platform comes in many strains, large, medium, small or even ‘cross over’. There’s no cure and some doubt there will ever be a vaccine. It also doesn’t discriminate, just ask the Falcon.  In this EFTM review we turn our attention to the mid-sized 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

The 10 minute test drive

Mitsubishi supplied two Outlander models to EFTM. The Outlander 2.0 LS FWD Petrol with CVT and Aspire 2.2 AWD diesel with ‘Premium Pack’. The later scoring 7 seats.

The interior isn’t the flashiest in class, but it’s also not sub-standard, I guess perhaps it’s just “ok”. It goes without much fanfare when your mates get in, so while ever they aren’t bagging it out – I’m happy.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

Sitting upfront in the flagship Aspire model is a little like visiting a refurnished RSL club. It’s been around for years. However a fairly comprehensive and tasteful overhaul does enough to lift the ambiance to almost acceptable 2013 standards.

Faux wood-grain trim paneling very rarely looks the goods, nor does it here. But generally the now softened dashboard plastic compensates for this.

The Outlander is hardly dynamic. Hustling through the twisty stuff wont tickle the fancy of purists. Steering off centre is quite lazy and sharp directional changes produce a top-heavy unstable feel.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

The 110kW / 190 Nm Petrol on the LS model was driven via a CVT transmission and offered just the right power you need for your average city driving. Punchy enough off the line to sprint out into traffic, but not gutsy enough to make you feel like you’re packing some serious power. The CVT felt smooth for the most part, unless you had a long constant period of acceleration, at which point like with most CVT transmission you’ll find yourself unnecessarily wanting for a gear change.

The Aspire can be ordered with the as tested 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. Turbo lag is evident from a standstill, but once on the go it sports a willing springiness under foot with 110kW / 360Nm on hand. Novelty alloy paddle shifters make manually flicking through the 6 speed auto possible.

It’s hardly a secretive diesel with a typical clatter that makes its presence known despite some extra sound deadening work.

AWD is also on offer, giving the Outlander some off-road ability. Drive to all 4 wheels can dialed up in normal, locked and ‘eco’ mode.

Visually the Outlander has a sleek and updated appearance. The ‘Copper’ palate used on the Aspire test car may polarise some. The front end has a stylish lower air dam with a mid and larger grill positioned below Mitsubishi’s corporate narrow chrome grill. A waistline crease runs the length the body while the rear end now features a single piece tailgate rather than a split. Generally though the Outlander is pretty sedate looking.

In’s and Out’s.

Our base model petrol only felt lacking after being inside the range topping Aspire model which can be optioned up with a ‘Premium Pack’. Showcasing a Power tailgate, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Mitigation, premium nine-speaker Rockford Forsgate sound and satellite navigation.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

Once you’ve driven with those features you really do miss them – the infotainment system is the same but with gaps and missing features. If you jump straight in the base model the simple touch screen interface, bluetooth and reversing camera help give the sense this has some great standard features

Outlander models equipped with AWD and the larger capacity 2.4 Petrol engine score third row seats. A total of seven bodies aboard is possible, however only garden nomes need apply. The middle row is a different story with a copious amount of leg room, in fact space over all is quite deceptive.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

EFTM archived a wide spread of fuel efficiency numbers in both the Petrol and Diesel models. The Aspire managed 6.7/100km while the petrol power unit did a great job in the low 7’s over a few days of similar driving. This surprised us but we suspect over a longer period the diesel would show a more obviously better result.

Bragging rights

The Outlander is competent and enjoys newfound levels of refinement. It’s what I call a “Blender”, melting into the rest of the SUV crowd largely unnoticed. Nothing really distinguishes this car from the rest of the field.

You need to fork out some serious cash for the Aspire model and ‘Premium Pack’ before any chest beating to the neighbours.

The lasting Impression

The biggest problem with the Outlander is its propensity to date. We are talking about the 3rd Generation of a platform that was created as far back as 2001. Newer arrivals have a significant advantage is this area.

The Hip Pocket

There’s five other models not tested here with three different engines, pricing starts sub 30k and hits unjustifiable heights over 50k if you opt for the ‘Premium Pack’ on the Aspire model. You could pick up the recently reviewed Holden VF Commodore Calais V V8 Sportswagon for less.

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

Capped Price Servicing at 15,000km intervals for AWD models is $360. Keep in mind that’s $150 cheaper than the diesels and $20 more than FWD models.

Warranty sits at a generous 5 year / 130,000km.

  • Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 ES FWD – $28,990 (5 speed manual) / $31,240 (automatic)
    Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 LS FWD with CVT – $34,990

Seven seat models

  • Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 ES AWD – $33,990
    Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 LS AWD – $38,990
    Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 Aspire AWD – $43,490
    Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2D LS AWD – $40,990
    Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2D Aspire AWD – $45,490 ($5500 for Premium Pack)

The EFTM Rubber Stamp

If decent handling dynamics influence your purchasing decision for any car let alone an SUV then it really pays to shop around.

The holy grail of compact SUV driving manners is the Mazda CX-5. Ford Kuga looms close and Hyundai Santa Fe is also right up there. Holden’s Captiva corners relatively well and is also available as a 7 seater, it has huge refinement issues however.

With so many SUV’s to choose from why would one choose an Outlander? One possible reason is you didn’t check out the opposition. Sure the mid ranged ES and LS AWD models are sharply priced if a seven seater is a must.

But the grass is greener elsewhere.

Mitsubishi Outlander - earns a PASS from EFTM

Mitsubishi Outlander – earns a PASS from EFTM

The Mitsubishi Outlander scores the EFTM pass stamp.