Mitsubishi Outlander review
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a spacious SUV that’s easy to drive but alternatives are more high-tech inside
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What's not so good
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As with its rivals, the Mitsubishi Outlander is an excellent choice if you have a family. Its roomy cabin has space for seven people (the Outlander PHEV only has room for five) and the boot is big enough to swallow a family’s luggage for a fortnight. It’s not the most inspiring of interiors to look at, but is easy to use and feels robustly put together.
Like the interior, the drive is perfectly competent, if none too inspiring. The Outlander is at its best on the motorway where the ride is comfortable and the cabin quiet. Take to country roads and there’s little to encourage sporty driving, but it remains a serene place to travel.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine may not be as hushed as the hybrid in full-electric mode, but it’s perfectly quiet enough to take the strain out of long cruises and there’s plenty of power in reserve for fast motorway overtakes, too.
Everyone raves about the PHEV but, you know, the standard car is really good too
The basic Outlander 2 must be one of the most expensive cars to come with lowly steel wheels, but in all other respects the standard equipment list is strong – all models come with front and rear electric windows, cruise control, plus auto lights and wipers.
Look at the reviews and you’d think the Outlander deserves a better score than it gets. And maybe it does – if value, space or economy are your priorities, then there’s plenty to recommend the Outlander as a usable family vehicle.
However, it doesn’t truly excel in any one area, it’s fairly average to drive and there’s little to delight with the interior or exterior styling. The Outlander is competitive, but it may not be long until the market takes another step ahead of it – take a look at the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage for alternative takes on the affordable crossover theme.
The Mitsubishi Outlander has seats for up to seven and a decent boot, but not at the first time – and only the first and second rows will take adults
One day, someone will crack the conundrum of a car that can have seven seats and a big boot at the same time - but Mitsubishi hasn't managed it
While the Outlander may be termed a seven-seater, the spare pair of seats in the boot are only really suitable for kids, although legroom can be increased by sliding the middle row forward. Space in the first two rows is excellent, with enough head and legroom even for tall adults, while the car’s large windows make it feel suitably airy.
There’s no shortage of storage cubbies, in the Outlander – you get large door bins, two cupholders in front of the gearlever, a tray for your smartphone and a lidded cubby under the front centre armrest.
Boot space is another strength. The 591-litre load bay is bigger than you get in the Hyundai Tucson (513 litres) and the Kia Sportage (503 litres) and with the rear seats down it boasts a huge capacity of 1,756 litres. Aside from the litres at its disposal, the Outlander boasts a low load lip and a huge boot opening that makes sliding luggage in the back really easy.
Mitsubishi has shed plenty of weight from the old Outlander, and the new model is much more nimble as a result. It also rides nicely.
The diesel Outlander is perfect for the long motorways slogs that see the PHEV model’s fuel economy drop
There’s just the one engine available here (unless you go for the petrol hybrid), with standard four-wheel drive and a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. All refreshingly simple in fact, and the engine pretty much does the job you require of it. Combined economy is 52.3 mpg for the manual and 48.7 mpg for the auto.
That doesn’t tell the whole story, as most will prefer the relaxed nature of the auto – it’s no B-road blaster, after all – and it’s quick, smooth and easy to use. Helps with refinement a little, too – something the Outlander does well for the most part. The four-cylinder diesel unit can get a little noisy under hard acceleration and there’s some clatter at idle, but these have improved over its predecessor.
Lots of buyers, however, are opting for the more interesting Outlander PHEV petrol hybrid, which improves performance and economy.
The Outlander rides a little firm, but never uncomfortable – just nicely judged for the class of car. Refinement is also pretty good as a result, though tyre noise does creep through at motorway speeds more so than some rivals.
The way the Mitsubishi takes corners is less adept, but it covers the basics – it’s predictable and easy to drive. The brakes are strong, but the steering doesn’t allow much information from the road to reach your fingertips. If driving pleasure isn’t your goal (and realistically, it probably isn’t for a crossover), it should suit you fine.
The Outlander’s dashboard design is seriously lacking in imagination, but as all the controls are easy to use and logically laid out, this is easier to forgive than you may imagine.