“The Outlander looks modest, but is practical, safe, cheap to run and genuinely good off-road.”
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a sturdy, stylish SUV with class-leading space that also offers the only genuine hybrid SUV on the market. It has genuine off-road capability, can carry seven people comfortably and is a great car to tow a trailer or caravan. It's also cheap to run, with a strong diesel or the super-efficient hybrid. The Hybrid is eligible for the £5,000 government grant and is the cheapest-to-run SUV money can buy.
The Outlander benefits from a significant weight drop, which makes it better to drive. Its seating position is still high, offering good all-round visibility, and the dash layout is simple and the controls easy to use. The diesel engine has strong acceleration but can be a little rattly. It's quieter than the previous model, but it's still loud, plus there's wind noise on the motorway. The hybrid is much quieter, as you’d expect, but still suffers from motorway wind noise. Around town, the hybrid is excellent, as it accelerates smoothly and strongly with a comfortable ride. The only sticking point is that the turning circle is quite large on the 18-inch wheels.
The Outlander has plenty of room for tall passengers in the front seats, with the second row offering marginally less headroom. A six-foot tall passenger will fit (just), while the third row is exclusively for toddler-sized children. The ride is comfortable, and there's plenty of storage to make life easier. Materials are good, and the seats are supportive, with dual-zone climate control on higher-spec models. These also offer a power tailgate to help ease of loading, as well as high-definition sat-nav, with a much clearer image making it easier to follow on your journey.
Mitsubishi has a solid reputation for building reliable and robust vehicles, especially when it comes to trucks and SUVs. The Outlander has two engine choices, a hybrid and a diesel. The 2.2-litre diesel engine is a carryover from the previous model, so any bugs should have been well and truly ironed out by now. The hybrid may be new, but their fewer moving parts have seen hybrids prove even more reliable than their internal combustion counterparts for brands such as Toyota. Based on this, the Outlander should be a reliable vehicle. The Outlander has also scored a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
All Outlanders come with seven seats, something that's not offered in the Toyota RAV4 and is an extra in the Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda CR-V. You can fold both the second and third row seating flat to access a longer load area than any rivals. There's also good-sized doorbins, map pockets and a big glovebox, and the load area is now longer than its main rivals, at 1741mm, and is matched only by the Nissan X-Trail. If you choose the hybrid, the Outlander has been engineered to make sure you don't lose any space. It has a 31-mile EV range and the battery pack can be charged at home in a regular socket. When fully charged, the hybrid Outlander has a 550-mile range. For towing, pick the diesel, which can pull up to 2,000kg.
Value for money
The Outlander will start at around £23,000 for the first of three equipment grades, which makes it competitive with its main rivals. This price includes seven seats, which are a pricey option on the Honda CR-V, for example, while the Toyota RAV4 doesn't offer seven seats at all. There's also a host of advanced features including keyless entry, DAB radio and an electric tailgate. Safety features include Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control that keeps a safe distance to the car ahead via radar, with an emergency brake - known as Forward Collision Mitigation - that acts as an auto brake to prevent the Outlander hitting the car in front. There's also the safety of an automatic all-wheel drive system offering excellent grip levels.
There isn’t a more affordable SUV on sale: the PHEV's 141mpg and 49g/km of CO2 make it more efficient than any car on sale bar a Toyota Prius Plug-in. To put this in context, it uses half the fuel of a 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta yet the Mitsubishi can still tow 1500kg and has all-wheel drive. Its closest rival is the Honda CR-V 2.2 diesel, which offers 50.4mpg and 149g/km of CO2. If you chose the Outlander diesel, which is also a 2.2-litre like the Honda and many rivals, it's still cheap to run with figures of 52.3mpg and 140g/km of CO2. This is better than the Kia Sorento, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe diesels.