When Mitsubishi’s all-new Outlander arrives in showrooms on 1st March it will enter the UK’s fiercely competitive mid-sized SUV sector armed with fresh new styling, all-new chassis architecture, Euro IV-compliant turbo diesel power, electronically controlled all-wheel drive, seven-seat versatility, generous levels of standard safety and luxury specification and a low £19,449 start-off price.
With styling clearly inspired by the 2002 Pajero Evo 2+2 concept, the new Outlander is instantly identifiable as a member of Mitsubishi Motors’ rejuvenated line-up of new models. Key design points are its bold grille flanked by a set of piercing headlamps, that create a strong visual link with the new Shogun and L200 pick-up, the distinctively slashed back third side window, boldly flared wheel arches and split tailgate.
The Outlander sits on a new platform frame, Mitsubishi’s first-ever global platform, developed in conjunction with DaimlerChrysler. Light and stiff, the chassis along with the MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension and rack and pinion steering, has been tuned to deliver an engaging and sure-footed driving experience. For example, the Outlander’s roof is made of lightweight aluminium to lower the car’s centre of gravity, and in turn reduce roll and boost cornering agility.
Key to this driver-orientation is Mitsubishi Motors’ rally-inspired AWC All Wheel Control four-wheel drivetrain. With a simple twist of a dial mounted on the cabin’s centre console, the Outlander driver can electronically select three driving modes: 2WD front-wheel drive for economy-biased every day driving, 4WD Auto which instantly and effectively transfers torque to the wheels with the most grip up to a 70:30 split, and 4WD Lock which splits torque up to a 50:50 split between front and rear axle as and when required when driving in more difficult conditions. The AWC system has been designed with enhanced on-road stability and safety in mind, as well as allowing the Outlander to tackle wet, snowy or muddy tracks and undertake towing duties.
Like the Grandis, the Outlander is powered by a Volkswagen-sourced 1968cc intercooled turbo diesel four-cylinder engine. Featuring an advanced common rail injection system and a variable geometry turbo charger, it produces 138bhp at 4000rpm and a healthy 310Nm of torque at 1750rpm. Naturally, it meets demanding Euro IV emission regulations. Hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission with ratios developed to tap into the engine’s deep torque reservoir, the Outlander sprints to 62mph in 10.8seconds and has a maximum speed of 116mph. It’s fitted with 294mm ventilated disc brakes up front and 302mm disc brakes at the rear, backed up by ABS anti-lock and EBD electronic brakeforce distribution systems.
In the Equippe model, the engine returns 42.8mpg on the combined cycle (40.9mpg in the Warrior and Elegance models) and posts a tax-effective CO2 figure of 174g/km (183g/km for the Warrior and Elegance models). Towards the end of the year, the powertrain line-up will be bolstered by the arrival of a more powerful 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel four-cylinder engine as well as the first iteration of Mitsubishi’s ‘World Engine’, an all-new 168bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developed in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor Company. It will come with a six-speed CVT constantly variable transmission as standard.
The Outlander’s cabin design reflects its sporting aspirations, with a number of motorcycle motifs like its deeply cowled instruments and the arching centre console that’s reminiscent of a motorbike’s fuel tank. Particular attention has been paid to the quality of the plastics, leathers and fabrics used, and their fit and finish.
Outlander will offer an outstanding degree of packaging flexibility. At 4640mm long, 1800mm wide and 1680mm high (1720mm with roof rails) Outlander casts a smaller shadow than many traditional family estates, while still offering a spacious and well proportioned five-seater cabin with generous head, leg and shoulder room. A split tailgate, capable of supporting 200kg, provides easy access to the large and regularly shaped 541-litre boot, which can be extended to a vast 1691-litres with the second row of seats folded away.
Outlander owners won’t have to follow any complicated routines to fold down the seats – by holding down a small button secreted in the side of the boot for three seconds, the second row seats electrically flip forward to create a flat load bay for accommodating larger objects. This feature is standard on all derivatives. This versatility is further boosted on Warrior and Elegance models by Mitsubishi’s innovative ‘Hide&Seat’ third row of seats, which lies beneath the floor of the boot. When two further seats are needed, they simply fold out from the boot floor to create a third row of seats, complete with integrated head rests, turning the five-seater Outlander into an occasional seven-seater as and when needed.
As with all Mitsubishi vehicles, the new Outlander will combine generous levels of standard luxury and safety specifications with an aggressive pricing policy. The model line-up starts with the £19,449 Equippe, which comes with twin front airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry, six-speaker CD/MP3 player, ASTC Active Stability and Traction Control safety system, electric windows and mirrors, and rear spoiler as standard.
To this, the £21,999 Warrior adds, among other features, 18inch alloy wheels, ‘Hide&Seat’ folding third row seats, side and curtain airbags, a striking body kit, cruise control, Bluetooth handsfree telephone kit and a leather-covered steering wheel and gearlever. The flagship Elegance model adds heated leather seats, sunroof, satellite navigation complete with its own 30GB music server and hard disc drive for high speed data access, DVD player and a nine-speaker 650W Rockford FosgateTM Premium Sound System, as well as numerous other standard features.
Mitsubishi expects to sell around 5,600 Outlanders in the UK within the first 12 months of sales – some 10% of the annual UK mid-sized SUV market. At 60%, the Warrior range will account for the bulk of sales, with the Elegance model appealing to 30% of buyers and the remainder opting for the budget-conscious Equippe.