As Australians we tend to be naturally attracted to fun activities in the water, so for our weekend 'daddy daughter' adventure, Miss Six and I piled into the Outlander and headed to 'Adventure Park' waterslide theme park in Geelong, just outside of Melbourne.
The Mitsubishi Outlander, with its selectable 4WD system and seven seats, would be a fun weekend getaway bus - somewhere in the Victorian high country... where it isn't too warm. More on that later...
The Outlander has just received a facelift for the 2016 model year.
The 2015 model we tested tended to polarise opinions in the CarAdvice office. I didn't mind it - but the 'jowl' lines on the front bumper can look a little awkward.
The top-spec Aspire (now replaced in name by the Exceed) has nice wheels and lashings of chrome - but 1990 called and wants its clear tail lights back (this has been changed on the 2016 facelift - thankfully).
Even though it looks to be quite small, the Outlander has seven-seats and is roomy in all rows.
The 60/40 split middle row can adjust to offer more legroom for third-row passengers... and the 50/50 split back seats mean your luggage space can grow if there is just one passenger there. It's comfy up front too, with a nicely placed armrest and good storage for 'stuff'.
Quality is OK, and certainly within expectation for the brand, but at almost $50,000 I would have expected a slightly more premium feel (something that has been addressed in the 2016 model). The digital readout on the heater controls is simple but classy, but some of the ergonomics aren't great - the boot-release button is tucked away on the lower dash, almost behind the steering wheel - where something like the traction control activation button is much easier to reach - and I know which one I need to press more often...
I have to say I was impressed with the space in the Outlander. The car feels much smaller than something like a Toyota Kluger (it's 200mm shorter than the big Toyota) but can handle passengers and bags without feeling cramped.
I always hate to be 'that guy' but the lack of rear air vents in the Mitsubishi Outlander is a real pain. Our waterpark adventure weekend saw the mercury in the mid-30s and with a six-year-old that insists on sitting up the back of the bus, you have to crank the aircon at full speed to keep the rear area cool. The combination of Australian weather and family focus of the Outlander makes the absence of rear ventilation a big oversight.
Plus the navigation has motion lockout and I cannot stress how annoying that is.
As a seven-seat, adventure capable family hauler - the Outlander ticks the box. But it is worthy of a closer look before signing on the dotted line.
The third row is OK for children up to about ten-years-old, and the 60/40 split centre row means rear access can be tricky if you still require booster or child seats, and of course those rear vents for hot days - are all areas you need to consider.
The five-year warranty is a step above most competitors, and was initially offered with 130,000km cover. This has dropped to 100,000km for the 2016 model year, so could be a key negotiation tactic at sale, particularly if you are opting for a runout model.
The 110kW/360Nm 2.2-litre turbo diesel isn't as 'real world' economical as I would have expected, seeing just over 8.3L/100km on our combined urban/freeway trip to Geelong - and regularly in the 13L/100km range around town. Mitsubishi claim a combined cycle of just 5.1L/100km.
For me - the Outlander is nice, but not nice enough. It's a sensible and competent car, but not a particular standout in any one area - and it's that combination of mediocre attributes that loses the Mitsubishi for me.
Through the wonders of television advertising, I am constantly served memories of our trip to Adventure Park, and with Miss Six also able to remind me that Family Feud winners could score an Outlander, and that's what we drove to Adventure Park, and can we go to Adventure Park this weekend again... for me - survey says: no thanks.
The runout MY15 Mitsubishi Outlander competes with its newer MY16 replacement as well as the Toyota RAV4, Holden Captiva 7 and my pick, the Nissan X-Trail.
As always, when good run-out deals can be had, there is always a quantifiable gap between compromise and value - and so if the Outlander is even an outside chance in your consideration set, perhaps visit your Mitsibishi dealer to see what sort of a deal you can strike for a brand-new MY15 model.