Mitsubishi’s Outlander has been around since 2001 and has gone through three incarnations. The second came in 2005, followed by a reinvention of the Japanese mid-size crossover in 2012.
This is now in circulation within the used motor trade, and is the version focused on here.
Diesel or hybrid is the way to go with the Outlander. The diesel digs deep for power and this is complimented by a manual gearbox or an automatic transmission. This variant is excellent for long motorway trips or shorter outings.
Overtaking doesn’t take much planning due to the muscle available, and economy is good. Expect early 50s mpg with the manual gearbox or late 40s with the automatic one. VED tax varies between £130 and £180 per year.
Even more economical is the PHEV Hybrid Outlander. This uses electricity as well as petrol to pull it up to good speeds, while returning diesel-like power. The PHEV emits under 50g/km of CO2, putting it in the zero road tax bracket. What’s more, it will feasibly do up to a mind-blowing 148.7mpg.
This model can be plugged in at home to boost its power banks and it’s able to drive along on electric juice only for short distances. This is ideal for nipping out to places locally without using up petrol.
Ride and handling
The Outlander feels agile for such a big vehicle, but it does lean pretty heavily if caned around the countryside and its obligatory twisty lanes. On the motorways or any straight stretch, the car feels settled and quiet, but the steering can leave you feeling disconnected from the road.
This isn’t a massive issue, though, as the Mitsubishi does a good job of wafting along from A to B without being too demanding. The Outlander is a talented off-roader, should the occasion arise, too. But, for most of the time, the Japanese motor will stay on tarmac, with the four-wheel drive system doing a good job of keeping the car safe and sound in rain, sleet or snow.
The Outlander is a safe bit of kit for all the family, too, with a maximum five-star rating from Euro NCAP. The car comes with multi airbags, ISOFIX fitting mounts for child seats and electronic stability control.
Leg and headroom is vast and the diesel Outlander comes with seven seats. This is ideal if you have a large family or if you just need the option of more seats occasionally. But it seems you can’t be green if you have lots of people to transport – you only get five seats with the Hybrid.
Nonetheless, five adults will rattle around in the cabin, no problem, while two kids can join the party by perching on the third row of the seven seater diesel. Stowing odds and ends in the cabin is easy, too, with cubby holes, cupholders and door pockets seemingly everywhere.
Boot space is 591 litres with five seats, but raise the two extra chairs out of the boot floor and this obviously shrinks. Turn things on their head by collapsing all the seats behind you, and you get a load area of 1,022 litres. That’s almost enough to start your own removals business!
Trim-wise, the GX2 is the basic level and only comes as a diesel with manual transmission. But features are good and include parking sensors and a USB slot. The GX3 is the best bet because the PHEV makes an entrance along with the diesel in this guise. Kit ramps up to rear privacy glass, Bluetooth and auto wipers, plus a leather steering wheel.
You only to need to hunt for the higher GX4 and GX4h if you are keen to have a sunroof and leather seats. Granted, leather is handy to wash clean if the kids make a spillage. Then, there’s the flagship GX4hs. This is only available if you get the PHEV.
It has a few techie extras such as adaptive cruise control and a lane departure warning feature.
What to know before you buy
Mitsubishi, as a brand, is known for producing virtually indestructible engines. The under-the-bonnet components on the diesels are proven and there is no reason to doubt the PHEVs.
The Outlander is well built on the outside and nicely assembled inside. Just keep an eye out for early wear or stains on the seats – remember this is a car that will, in all likelihood, have been used hard by a family.
The Land Rover Freelander is worth a look. This has a more cultivated interior than the Outlander and 755 litres of boot space, compared with the Outlander’s 591. Another worthy adversary is the 2010-14 Kia Sorento.
This isn’t as refined as either of the other two cars mentioned here, but it comes with a fully transferable seven-year warranty. It’s not a very entertaining drive, but it does come in five, six or seven seat guises.
However, its boot space, with the third row of seats folded, is sixty litres less than the Mitsubishi’s, at 531.
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a multitalented vehicle, offering an agreeable drive, respectable refinement and heaps of room for up to seven. Indeed, it’s one of the safest and sturdiest SUVs. It’s also one of the most economical too.