• Excellent diesel drivetrain; reduced noise, vibration and harshness; impressive cabin quality; roomy rear seat; nicely balanced handling
  • Ride quality has lost its sheen; steering lacks on-centre precision; less practical cargo area; no rear-seat air vents; top models are expensive

OUR RATING
7 / 10



2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

It was easy to have a soft spot for the outgoing Mitsubishi Outlander. That’s because the previous model was, well, nicely soft, not needlessly sporty, and very roomy, with a clever split-fold tailgate the perfect perch for wrenching on ski boots in the Perisher carpark, or watching a game of local footy…

This new, third-generation Mitsubishi Outlander shares only some of those virtues with the second-gen, which launched back in 2006. Its suspension is no longer soft and it no longer gets a split tailgate, for example. However it also posts huge improvements in the areas where the last model lagged sorely behind – by Mitsubishi’s own admission, cabin quality, refinement and space utilisation all needed work.

Gen-three is an overhaul and renewal of the existing Outlander platform, cloaked with fresh sheetmetal, and timed perfectly to fend off the new Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester, both of which launched last month, and the all-new Toyota RAV4, which arrives here in January.

Mitsubishi has followed its competitors (Mazda CX-5, CR-V and Forester) and offered an entry-level 2.0-litre four-cylinder variant for the first time. The $28,990 Mitsubishi Outlander ES front-wheel-drive manual ($31,240 auto) replaces the old 2.4-litre LS as the entry grade, but it’s similarly equipped with 16-inch steel wheels (previously alloys), leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshifter, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, and (newly added) reverse sensors and driver’s knee airbag.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

The Lancer-derived engine produces 110kW (at 6000rpm) and 190Nm (at 4200rpm), the claimed slurp 6.6L/100km with the continuously variable transmission, or 0.4L more with the standard five-speed manual.

As a partial offset for the reduction in displacement, Mitsubishi has increased the use of high-tensile steels throughout the new Outlander’s body to achieve a 100kg kerb weight reduction compared with the previous model.

The entry front-driver weighs 1395kg, or 48kg less than a CX-5 Maxx, and 65kg below a CR-V VTi. In the ES CVT we drove, the results appear more promising. Foot-flat acceleration is similarly stubborn, but the CVT is quick to raise revs and disguise the lack of torque. Crucially, compared with the last Outlander and current Lancer, increased noise suppression measures dulls the high-pitched engine scream as the CVT holds high revs under full throttle. It isn’t a Honda-sweet petrol four cylinder, but it is effective.

One grade up, the $34,990 auto-only Mitsubishi Outlander LS front-wheel-drive (above) adds 16-inch alloys, fog lights, privacy glass, cargo blind, 6.1-inch colour LCD display, dual-zone climate control and rear-view camera.

But it’s better to save $1000 and pick the base ES, but optioned with all-wheel-drive, which for $33,990 includes the bigger 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol retained from the old Outlander, with 124kW (at 6000rpm) and 220Nm (at 4200rpm), linked to a standard CVT.

The performance gains are such to be noticeable and welcome, even if the coarse, grainy engine note rings deadly like the 400cc-smaller engine. The fuel consumption lab results claim 7.5L/100km combined, but the bigger-engined Outlander may do better than the smaller engine in the real world because it doesn’t need  to be worked as hard.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

Like the base front-driver, the all-wheel-drive model weighs a slim (by class standards) 1495kg. The old base all-driver tipped in at 1580kg.

Buyers of the 2.4-litre petrol can get the extra kit in the LS, plus seven seats instead of five, for $38,990. Those with deeper pockets can choose the flagship Aspire for $43,490 (below), which adds 18s, leather seats with front heating, chrome scuff plates, one-touch start, seven-inch colour touchscreen with nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio and sat-nav, plus wood trim off-cuts seemingly from a 1996 KE Mitsubishi Verada.

Neither 2.0- or 2.4-litre petrols are the engine pick, however. That honour is reserved for the brand-new, Mitsubishi-designed 2.2-litre direct-injection turbo diesel.

Producing 110kW (at 3500rpm) and 360Nm (at 1500rpm), and claiming just 5.8L/100km combined, the engine is wonderfully punchy, yet refined, showcasing the improvements to the Outlander’s engine noise suppression measures most noticeably.

Choosing the oiler flicks the CVT in favour of a six-speed automatic, and it’s all the better for it. The drivetrain feels premium and suave the way it flutters the tacho needle around its arc, with barely-noticeable cabin vibration and noise intrusion. At 110km/h, the DDi-D diesel is ticking over at 1800rpm in sixth gear.

Available only in LS and Aspire all-wheel-drive grades, the diesel is an easy choice for just $2000 over the 2.4-litre petrol, at $40,990 and $45,490 respectively.

After experiencing (suffering?) the hard, scratchy cabin plastics in the last Outlander, the new interior design is a revelation. This is the first modern Mitsubishi to discover soft-touch plastic surfacing, and the mould consistently wraps from passenger door over the dashboard to the driver’s.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

The fascia gets metallic black panelling with a silver-plastic outline – neat, classy – and in the ES and LS grades the audio system blends in seamlessly. Ironically, the flagship Aspire’s Rockford Fosgate unit looks aftermarket, with a swivel-out screen to insert CDs an early-noughties throwback (LS, then Aspire, below).

The Mitsubishi Outlander continues to have more middle seat leg and headroom than any compact SUV. The bench is positioned higher than the front seats, increasing visibility and aiding under thigh support. Almost criminally, however, there are no air vents for second- or third-row passengers.

Replacing the previous fold-and-tumble seat mechanism, the middle base now flips forward against the front seats and the backrest folds to reveal a completely flat floor.

The middle bench also has a multi-adjustable backrest angle and sliding functionality in all models, while rear tikes relegated to the rearmost seats standard in the all-wheel-drive models can vary legroom between non existant and reasonable. Third-row headroom is definitely from pre-growth-spurt teens.

Gone is the split tailgate, replaced by a regular one-piece door that was required for the inclusion of an auto-lift function on the Aspire. The loading lip is now higher, and luggage room with five seats in place totals 477 litres – a full 112L less than the old Outlander. Mitsubishi argues that the new seat-fold system increases load length by 30mm, but it’s scant compensation.

Although still-roomy, the Outlander is less practical than before, and that’s a shame.

Common to all grades is an electro-mechanical steering set-up that’s extremely vague on centre and light. Turn-in is guesswork, but the steering is reasonably consistent and tactile beyond the first movements.

Mitsubishi’s drive loop around the outskirts of Melbourne took us up a tarmac hillclimb section used for rally events. Perhaps not the Outlander’s natural milieu, granted, but the Aspire does come with a lap timer in its central display…

Surprisingly, the Mitsubishi Outlander remains an enjoyably balanced and reasonably dynamic drive. It now packs a semblance of body control, and roll is contained, where the previous generation lurched during quick changes of movement and heaved over large undulations.

Although the front end can be reasonably leant upon, a lift of the throttle or brush of the brake tames the eventual onset of understeer, maintaining the playful nature of the last Outlander.

The only major difference between the grades is wheel choice. The ES and LS specs roll on 70-aspect 16-inch tyres, while the Aspire utilise 55-aspect 18s. The low-profile bigger tyres introduce noticeable bump-thump compared with the regular cars, although all Outlanders are now firmer, so even the chubby tyres fail to eliminate some restlessness on seemingly smooth surfaces.

Particularly in the Aspire, the ride quality doesn’t match the excellent road noise suppression, nor the newfound cabin class, which along with the high prices, aftermarket audio and awful wood trim, is reason enough to settle for the superior ES and LS grades.

Mitsubishi is, however, using the Aspire as an active-safety technology showcase. A $5500-optional Premium Pack, available on the flagship grade only, includes adaptive cruise control (below) and an auto-braking forward collision mitigation system.

Although underbody aero plates and stop-start engine technology are available overseas, Mitsubishi says a “cost benefit analysis” meant the fuel-saving measures were removed from Australian-spec vehicles.

All models do, however, get an ‘Eco’ mode which dulls throttle response, and a fuel economy ‘game’ that teaches owners to drive more economically. On the all wheel drive models, an ‘Eco 4WD’ mode runs primarily in front wheel drive, while ‘4WD auto’ and ‘4WD lock’ are progressively for more serious off-roading.

It’s worth noting that two test cars – not ours – suffered a CVT overheating fault during the launch drive, and another had a traction control fault backed by a litany of dashboard warning lights. Mitsubishi Australia was unable to provide an explanation.

Impressively refined, with adept dynamics and a particularly strong diesel drivetrain, the latest Mitsubishi Outlander doesn’t feel like the victim of the strangled development budget most models faced in the post-GFC period.

However, the diesel is priced to rival the excellent $43,240 Territory TDCi and gargantuan $44,235 Mazda CX-9, while at the other end the 2.0-litre offers a negligible performance improvement over the old sub-$30K 2.4-litre. And all models lack the boot space and tailgate flexibility of the old car, and miss some of the previous ultra-cushy urban ride.

In most ways, the third generation is a better Mitsubishi Outlander. The diesel is a four-star proposition, but there’s no sub-$40K model, while the petrols are only a bit better than average.

Really, a new model should be better in almost all ways.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander pricing:
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 ES FWD – $28,990 (man)/$31,240 (auto)
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 LS FWD – $34,990
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 ES AWD seven seat – $33,990
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 LS AWD seven seat – $38,990
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 Aspire AWD seven seat – $43,490
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2D LS AWD seven seat – $40,990
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2D Aspire AWD seven seat – $45,490


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MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER BREAKDOWN

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Review
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  • Crummydore

    You know, I think that it looks terrible.

    I have been waiting for all over images of the car to give it some leeway, but quite simply it looks wrong. The bum is plain, the front end design is unresolved and the side is slabby and makes the wheels look to small.

    Sorry to be so harsh Mitsu but this is a massive step backwards from the last model, and the design will not improve with age.

    Mind you it may sell well in the US…

     

    • Zaccy16

      totally agree, had a look at them in the dealer and they look hideous in real life too

    • Phunken

      Saw the concept car years back and was worried how the new non jet fighter shark nose look tame and boring… and now in the metal, they are horrible. Mitsu got it right with the aggressive look they should refined not going all 90s… Hope the next Lancer not gonna get the Triton look.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FFLU42DZJ4E23NZKHN3UXJU44Q Aazz

    Agreed… that is unbelievably ugly.

  • Bluerainsh

    Why can’t 7 seats be optional? I am confused. Don’t love that car!

  • Birty_B

    The Aspire doesn’t come with Rockford Fosgate and Nav standard, they’re part of the premium pack. Car looks a lot better in the flesh then pictures.

  • Andrew

    Looks better the old angry snout model.

  • F1orce

    Producing maximum power at 3500rpm. Gotta love that hahaaaaa

  • Guest2

    Are those rearmost seats individually folded. It looks from the photo’s that its one piece which is a shame as you cannot take 6 passengers and fold the 7th seat flat to use a luggage area.

    • Birty_B

      They split

  • Riker

    That is one ugly car…. Huge overhangs front & rear makes this look ungainly & frankly 10 years old.

  • vrx26

    They should have kept the convenience of the split tailgate. It was a redeeming feature of the 2nd Gen and I think for this model there is no standard rear entertainment system (dealer option) as well. Overall design is uninspiring compared to the previous but kudos for the refinement and finish but nothing to be really excited about. Although there’s an optional body kit for this model and makes it look a bit more aggressive but would definitely add more dollars to the purchase price. My advice is wait for a few months if you are really interested because Mitsubishi loves doing limited edition versions (RX, Active, Platinum).

    I also don’t see the point as well of Mitsubishi not offering fuel saving feature offered in other countries due to ‘cost benefit analysis’. If they are not keen on fuel saving benefits then they should have kept the V6 engine and not bother introducing next year the Plug-in version w/c according to them is most fuel efficient car in this category – it’s just contradictory to what they are saying.

  • Dan

    It really looks like they’ve taken a step backwards in regards to looks. UGLY appearance & conervative!

  • Super Char

    Boring, boring and boring (Front, back, side,). Actual it looks similar to the Territory in the last shot (oh, another boring car).  Hopefully Peugeot can do a better job when their version comes out

    • Jim

      Similar to the Territory? Do you have no ability to differentiate between cars? I think you’re confusing boring for ugly.

    • Turbodewd1

      Piffle!  The Territory front looks much better than the Outlander.

      • Hank

        They’re both pretty bad.

  • Milsie

    What an ugly, boring mess of a car… One of the most uninspiring designs in the last 10 years. Did Mitsubishi save money by sacking all of their designers?

  • Drive

    No 2nd or 3rd row airvents. And they are releasing this just in time for the Aussie Summer.
    Oversight?

    • mo

      I agree. For a 7 seater no rear air vents is a pretty huge omission. Otherwise it seems like a decent people mover.  

      • Drive

         It’s hard to gauge just how much space there is in the 3rd row. Considering I’m in the market for a 7 seater, this will be a big issue. They will need to be able to support some kids until they are about to hit their teens. Not sure this car will cut it. And despite the fact I don’t always like my kids, I’m not ready to suffocate them – seems mitsubishi is happy to though!

    • Zaccy16

      big oversight, its a big car and it would get very hot in the back

    • Barry

      We have had two friends in the back of our aspire during thirty degree heat and they had no issues at all. – the aircon cooled the entire interior no problems.

    • Kiwimitsi

      The air con vents to the rear with ducts under the front seats. Works very efficiently. Reviewer got it wrong and all the lemmings followed.

  • Latin Fish Names

    Woah!  Whose been pointing the ugly stick?

  • SickofHoldenbashers.com

    Actually I can see where Char is coming rom with the small grill between the headlights and not really dissimilar headlights and the rear reminds me of some of the work done on some Suburus. Bitsamissing could have done a better job. Although I am not a Honda person CRV actually has improved the look yet you can still tell its a CRV from past generations

  • Dave

    This things gives Ssangyong a run for its money in the UGLY stakes.
    The previous model was much more handsome.

  • Turbodewd1

    I genuinely find the front very unattractive.

    The space inside looks v.good.

    The interior color choice is overly dark for my tastes – depressing.

  • O123

    wonder what the peugeot version will look like?

  • MitsuMadMan

    UGLY. The last iteration looked better. I would not pay >$50k for an Outlander either. The top of the range should be no more than $35k driveaway. Interior is substandard and nothing special. Hopefully Peugeot refreshes the front and rear lights along with the dull interior…

  • Zaccy16

    The only engine you would ever considering would be the diesel with the normal auto, the other 2 petrol engines are horrible slow and unrefined with overheating CVT’s!

  • http://www.ooyyo.com.au/ Brian L. Gilman

    Very nice upgrade from the previous model. Very impressed with the interior, look forward to test driving one soon.

  • Barry

    I have just bought the new outlander Aspire premium and absolutely love the car! I have driven over 1000 Kms so far and I am unable to fault this vehicle, comfort, technology and space – it’s all there. The Diesel engine is so quiet and exceptionally frugal – it is the first vehicle I have owned and driven that matches its claimed fuel economy figures ( I even got 8l per 100k towing a 1200kg camper).

    I am unable to find fault with this vehicle and would recommend it to anyone wanting a mid sized SUV .

    Finally. – mitsubishi, love that car !

    • Kiwimitsi

      Have also just taken delivery of a 2.4 AWD XLS (NZ premium spec). Very impressed. Don’t judge it by the hate comments. Drive it!!

  • Mozza

    So gald I just bought a ex Mitsi exec VR Outlander with 8,000k on the clock for $30,000 drive away no more to pay. Love that V6 exhaust note. The new Outlander is one damn UGLY car. Refinements aside, I’d hate to see the new Outlander in my driveway every morning. Mitsubishi how could you make such an out of proportion Ford Territory wannabe, and shave a slab out of the cargo capacity to boot!

  • Mark Dyer

    Did I miss a comment about leg room in the 3rd row. Is the 3rd row suitable for an adult or is it similar to the Ford Territory and only suitable for small kids and short journeys?

    • Kiwimitsi

      Room in 3rd row is vast improvement over previous model which was really only viable for small children town and about.  My 5 foot 10 son travelled about 35km in the 3rd row of our new Outlander at the weekend and said it was remarkably comfortable. While 35k was probably his limit without a stretch he simply would not have been able to do that in our 2009 Outlander.  Seats are fully padded and you can adjust the second row to give reasonably leg space for the 3rd row. They also split which is a great feature, you can have one 3rd rowseat up and one down. We are giving Mitsi 9/10 for improvements to the 3rd row. As for the rest of the car…couldn’t be happier with our choice.

  • Chronic831

    the curved side ridge between top of windows and roof is soft as clay. Gave mine a wash after first week , and now have multiple dings  from (gently) leaning on it to reach the roof centre. Put a few more dings in it confirming this softness in an area which is usually the stronger part of any car panels. Does not pop as it collapses, so don’t like the chances of any easy fix (can’t pop back), like I said behaves like clay under minimal pressure.

  • Nnn

    This is the best car ever made..looks greats and even feels great.

    • TTT

      Any context to that? I am considering the car

      • Ash

        Got my outlander 2 weeks ago. The best decision I made with regards to the car. Had a Rav4 2006 till now.

        The ride quality is excellent and road noise low. Im getting close to 8L/100 on eco mode doing my usual day-to-day rush hour commute. turn off the eco mode its zooms. Not a big fan of the exterior, however i think its a very good compromise when compared to everything else.

        Only thing im missing is a Sunglass holder :-)
        Simply love the outlander.

  • Kashmilne

    Auto 4WD
    I have a Triton GLS 4×4 ute and if it helps and if the 4wd on the Outlander is the same it is very good esp in the Auto mode on ice and snow mud etc very hard to get any slip.

  • Cars

    So park it in your garage. Or perhaps you can’t afford one hence why you bought the old model?

  • Cars

    I think it looks good and yes I like conservative.

  • Cars

    So you won’t be buying one. Cool, more available to others.

  • Amir

    I am concidering  the New Outlander 2013. I think iam going for the 2,2 Diesel engine with the automatic gearbox. The 2,0 CVT is of course, cheaper but it must be slower somehow? Anyone who knows?

    • Testdrive

      Be sure to check on service costs for the diesel before you choose. It is VERY expensive.

  • Vpari

    That sounds great . I get mine in 2 weeks can’t wait.

  • DAVIDZ

    CORRECTION, THE ENGINE HAS NOTHING IN COMMON WITH THE LANCER, THE TOP END IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT IT USES A LOT LESS FUEL THAN THE LIGHER/LOWER LANCER

  • Nicnox72

    Having had the 2.2 diesel automatic for a year now I can say I’m a little disappointed comparing it to the 2010model I had before for 3 years. In 12 months driving in the goldfields of WA Aus, it has needed a new shock absorber, door weather seal and the glovebox has jammed shut. The missing tailgate drop is a factor too. The drive however is awesome and the fuel economy amazing. I just feel it’s abit less quality for abit more oomph.

  • kiwi tom

    I find the road noise level so great that i will be selling mine.

Mitsubishi Outlander Specs

LS : 2.4L MULTI POINT F/INJ - CVT AUTO 6 SP SEQUENTIAL - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
MITSUBISHI
Model
OUTLANDER
Variant
LS
Series
ZH MY12
Year
2012
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.4L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
226Nm @  4100rpm
Max. Power
125kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
79.1W/kg
Bore & Stroke
88x97mm
Compression Ratio
10.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
CVT AUTO 6 SP SEQUENTIAL
Drive Type
4x4
Final Drive Ratio
6.466
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1580
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1740mm
Length
4640mm
Width
1800mm
Ground Clearance
210mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
10.6
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
215/70 R16
Rear Tyres
215/70 R16
Wheel Base
2670
Front Track
1540
Rear Track
1540
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder, Traction Control System
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Package
Convenience Pack
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  130,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
9-H-13
Country of Origin
JAPAN