“The Mitsubishi Outlander looks modest, but is practical, safe, cheap to run and genuinely good off-road.”
The Mitsubishi Outlander is a solid and sturdy SUV that has excellent cabin space and a huge boot, while also offering the only genuine hybrid SUV in the UK (due for release in spring 2014). Its off-road capabilities are excellent and all but the hybrid can carry five full-sized adults plus two children, in relative comfort. It's even good for towing a caravan or trailer. It may lack a bit of sparkle – especially inside – compared to its rivals, such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Land Rover Freelander, but it is cheap to run in either diesel or ultra-efficient hybrid form.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The Outlander GX2's 147bhp 2.2-litre diesel returns 53.3mpg and has CO2 emissions of 138g/km for road tax of £125 a year. The GX3 and GX4 both return 52.3mpg and 140/g/km C02 emission, to match the lower model's annual road tax costs. Automatic models return economy of 48.7mpg and have CO2 emissions that translate into road tax of £175 annually. All models are beaten by the hybrid, which has amazing economy of 143mpg and CO2 emissions of just 49g/km, for free road tax.
Interior & comfort
The Outlander offers plenty of room for tall passengers in the front of the car, while the second row has less headroom and the third row seats are suitable only for children. The ride is comfy, and there's plenty of interior storage to make life easier. Materials are generally of a good standard, although the interior could be more inspiring to look at; the seats are supportive, with separate climate control adjustment for the driver and front passenger on higher-spec models. High-spec cars also have an electrically powered bootlid to help make loading easier, as well as a high-definition sat-nav screen.
Practicality & boot space
The Outlander has an advantage over rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 because it comes with seven seats as standard. Both the second and third row of seats fold down flat to provide a longer boot than any of its rivals, with maximum boot space of 1,022 litres – 33 litre bigger than the car it replaced. With the standard-fit 50:50 back seat still in place, the Outlander offers a reasonable 591 litres. Inside, there's also decent-sized doorbins, map pockets and a large glove compartment, and, at 1,741mm, the load area is now longer than its main rivals, matched only by the Nissan X-Trail. If you go for the hybrid model, it loses the two extra seats, but actually has a bigger boot. It offers a electric range o31 miles, while the battery can be charged at home using a standard three-prong socket. Once fully charged, the hybrid has a total range of 550 miles. If towing ability is your priority then the diesel Outlander, which can pull up to 2000kg, is the best option.
Reliability & safety
Mitsubishi may have a solid reputation for building reliable and robust vehicles, especially when it comes to trucks and SUVs, but the second-generation Outlander could only rank 112th in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey's list of the top 150 cars. Mitsubishi itself held its mid-table position at 19 out of 32 in the survey's list of top manufacturers, with reliability being one of its main assets. The Outlander offers a choice of two engines - a hybrid and a diesel. The 2.2-litre diesel engine is carried over from the previous model, so its tried and tested, and any problems should have been ironed out by now. The hybrid is brand new so it's too early to say how it will perform. All Outlanders have the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, with all models coming with seven airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and electronic stability control (ESP).
Engines, drive & performance
The current model is significantly lighter in weight than the previous Outlander, which does make it a lot easier to drive. It has a high driving position that offers great all-round visibility, while the dashboard is clearly laid out and all the controls are easy to use and read. You get decent acceleration from the diesel, too, but it does suffer from a little clatter and there is also quite a lot of wind noise when driving on the motorway. The hybrid model is much quieter in electric mode, but suffers from the same motorway noise. The hybrid is truly excellent when being driven around town, accelerating smoothly in electric mode, while always offering a comfortable ride. Although solid and reassuring to drive, the Outlander isn’t particularly fun going round corners.
Price, value for money & options
The Mitsubishi Outlander comes in four main specifications – the entry-level GX2, mid-range GX3 and GX4, and the top-of-the-range GX5 – all of which are competitively priced against their main rivals. You get seven seats and loads of technology. Kit includes keyless entry, DAB digital radio and an electric tailgate, plus safety features such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control that keeps you a safe distance from the car ahead, and forward collision mitigation, which brakes the car automatically to prevent the Outlander hitting the car in front. Even the basic model gets air conditioning, cruise control and a USB port.