Fleet News

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi

Review

And perhaps the first thing that strikes you about the all-new Outlander is its hybrid looks. It has a chunky 4x4-like front end and a rear almost fitting for an estate car.

While such styling certainly makes it stand out from the crowd, it also gives it a confused appearance and prompts you to question what function this car is supposed to perform.

But perhaps that's not such an accident. Mitsubishi will point out that it has a long history of introducing 'innovative crossover vehicles that aim to being together the best elements of different styles'.

Evidence of this, it says, includes the 1983 Space Wagon which brought together elements of a family estate and a people carrier and the 1998 Space Star which, it claims, was the UK's first 'tall' hatchback.

The result of such thinking may not be to everyone's taste, although bosses say this car was restyled for Europe (it has its origins in the Airtrek sold in Japan) and is its first European car for four years.

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The company expects the Outlander to appeal to couples aged between 35 and 45 but also expects to draw couples aged over 55 loyal to the Mitsubishi brand. Climb aboard the Outlander and its high seating position gives you the feeling of being in a sport utility vehicle. The materials used inside the car look durable enough but the dashboard isn't the prettiest, and doesn't feel quite as good as a traditional car at this price like the Toyota Avensis.

However, the cabin has an airy feel and is a comfortable place in which to sit. I'm a fan of uncluttered interior consoles so the fact the Outlander has few buttons is welcome although on this occasion there are so few buttons it looks sparse. That's not to say it lacks the necessities – climate control air-conditioning and a single-slot CD system come as standard on the Equippe.

Other standard features include anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution, driver and passenger front and side airbags, electric front and rear windows and 16-inch alloy wheels.

All Outlander models are powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with sports mode manual override. There will be no diesel, which will hamper its appeal in the UK, although a factory LPG conversion could help reduce running costs.

The foot-operated parking brake felt too high and won't be to everyone's liking as we are more familiar with a lever on the transmission tunnel in this part of the world, unless Mercedes-Benz cars are your thing.

The automatic transmission smoothes out gearchanges well enough, but as a four-speed unit, the gaps between the ratios are a little too wide.

It also takes the edge off the 158bhp and 159lb-ft of torque from the 2.4-litre engine.

The Outlander does handle more like a car than a sport utility vehicle. Body control is good and traction is excellent, thanks to its Evo VIII-derived all-wheel drive system.

The car also comes as a 'twin-sunroofed' Sport model (£17,999 on-the-road) and a Sport SE, which gets leather, for £18,749 on-the-road.

Competitors include the Subaru Forester and Honda CRV – neither of which are available with a diesel – and while this car fights its corner well in that segment and is a good performer, it is still in a sector of well-established high achievers and could struggle to make its presence felt.

Model: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 Equippe
Engine (cc): 2,378
Max power (bhp/rpm): 158/5,750
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 159/4,000
Max speed (mph): 119
0-62mph (sec): 11.2
Fuel consumption (mpg): 28
CO2 emissions (g/km): 240
Transmission: four-speed automatic with manual override
Fuel tank capacity (l): 60
On sale: now
Prices (OTR): £16,999

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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