Mitsubishi Outlander has had a mixed history in its life. Earlier generations were practical, great on dirt roads with a clever 4wd system. The latest generation was launched some 6-7 years ago to mixed reviews and Mitsubishi has spent the last few years improving the model with little updates along the way, the latest in early 2019. We have the Outlander AWD Exceed DiD model for a test drive.
Latest generation 2019 update Outlander has kept a fairly lean shape and looks lower in profile than the current high SUV trend. The design is neither stunning nor boring.
2019 model year Outlander is distinguished by a new-look twin-blade front grill in a sweeping style with LED headlights and auto high beam, as well as LED front fog lights and headlamp washers. From the side it portrays a smooth exterior, with sleek heated exterior mirrors with auto fold function.
The rear again is sleek, with a spoiler on the auto opening tailgate. The door opens just enough for taller users. The Exceed runs two tone Alloy 18 x 7.0J rims with 225/55R18 98H tyres and a full size Alloy spare.
Exceed has well bolstered heated front leather seats, soft touch points for elbows and good seat travel. The leather steering wheel adjusts in all directions and frames the instrument binnacle perfectly. The pedals are well spaced and with electronic adjustment the driver’s seat allows a flexible arrangement, but there is no additional lumbar support.
Driver ergonomics are good with a row of buttons to the right of the steering wheel and well laid out centre console and stack area. It’s all functional without being exceptional. Let me point out the ridiculous paddle shift levers that are excessively large, don’t move with the steering wheel and unnecessary. The central 7 inch centre screen is functional however there is no embedded navigation, relying on your smart phone.
Wide opening doors front and back allow for ease entry and exit. In the back there is reasonable room for two more so than three passengers. Head room is good as is knee room. There are new rear A/C vents and a single USB plug, but unfortunately no third row ventilation. Seats have a clever slide function for third row access, but you have to be very small or acrobatically inclined to get in them let alone sit in them.
The boot area ranges from a measly 128Lto a handy 1608L with all seats folded. A clever function is for one side of seats to fold to give about 1845mm of load area. The load height is good and there is an auto tailgate function. However the process to fold the middle row seats flat is a bit convoluted and a little annoying.
As the Exceed is the range topping model you would expect it to have the most features. These include7 inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a sunroof, heated front seats, Adaptive Cruise control (that can be switched to normal mode), electro chromatic rear view mirror, electric park brake, one touch auto windows from driver seats for all windows, ECO drive function, automatic dusk sensing headlights, automatic rain sensing wipers, intermittent rear wiper and washer, Multi Around Monitor (MAM), rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors, auto function on the rear tailgate.
Drive and Engine
Outlander has a 2.2L DiD 4 cylinder engine that produces power 110 Kw @ 3500 rpm and torque of 360 Nm @1500-2750 rpm. This runs through a 6 speed automatic transmission with manual shift facility. Economy is ADR rated at 6.2L/100Km but real world figures are closer to 9.8L/100K that we achieved in a mix of freeway and suburban driving.
Previous models had a clever 4WD system, but this model has a much simplified electronic controlled AWD system. Three driving modes balance fuel economy and driving performance. AWD ECO – Fuel-efficient mode, AWD AUTO – Normal mode and AWD LOCK- High ground covering ability.
While the power and torque figures are on the low side, the actual daily experience is that you don’t really notice it. In normal conditions the engine performs what is asked of it. It will happily potter around town and cruise without fuss on the freeway. Under cruise control it eats hills without hunting through the gears. The torque band really helps here.
On road the ride and handling is car like more than SUV and the revised suspension and steering calibration allows responsive driver input. Overall I have to say that it’s good.
However owners should think of the AWD system as an additional safety and traction aid, rather than any form of outback adventurer. It is great for snow trips, light forest trails and dirt roads.
Outlander boasts a five star ANCAP safety rating and a reasonable array of both active and passive safety features.
Active Safety features include – Forward Collision Mitigation system (FCM), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Change Assist (LCA), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), Adjustable speed limiter, Automatic High Beam (AHB), Emergency Stop Signal function (ESS), Emergency Brake Assist system (EBA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Active Stability Control (ASC), Active Traction Control (ATC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Airbags include – Driver & front passenger SRS airbags, Driver & front passenger side SRS airbags, Curtain SRS airbags, Driver knee airbag,
- Smoothness and ride
- Value for money
- General ambiance
Not so Good
- Convoluted middle seat folding
- Ridiculous paddle shift levers
- Small rear seats
Outlander is a bit confused. It is an AWD SUV, but with wagon like styling. It is a seven seat vehicle but with tiny, almost redundant rear seats. If owners buy this as a five seat wagon with the benefit of AWD and very occasional 7 seats for a family transport then they will be happy. It’s got good towing capacity for the adventurous families as well.
It represents outstanding value and well worth a drive.
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FACTS AND FIGURES: 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed AWD
- Engine: 2.2 L 4Cyl DiD producing 110kW/360Nm
- Transmission: 6 Speed AT AWD
- Warranty: 5 Yr./ Unlimited km plus Conditional Roadside Assist
- Safety: 5-star
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $45,790 MLP*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.