Mitsubishi's refreshed 7-seat Outlander offers better looks and performance

The facelifted Outlander comes with updated headlights and tail lamps.
The facelifted Outlander comes with updated headlights and tail lamps. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
The facelifted Outlander comes with updated headlights and tail lamps.
The facelifted Outlander comes with updated headlights and tail lamps. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Folks who bought the new Mitsubishi Outlander when it was launched a little over a year ago might feel a little cheated. For here is the facelifted version.

Nope, Mitsubishi has not shortened its product life cycle. Fact is, the current generation Outlander was launched in Japan three years ago. It just took a little longer than usual to get here.

If it is any comfort to those who bought the car last year, the changes are not very dramatic. For those who have yet to consider the Outlander, the facelifted version is nevertheless more tempting.

For starters, it is better-looking. With faux chrome "blades" that frame an updated grille that is no less shiny, the car appears more macho and modern at the same time.

Emphasising the car's 4x4 ruggedness, doors get lower protective claddings.

  • SPECS/ MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

  • Price: From $129,999 with
    COE
    Engine: 2,360cc 16-valve inline-4
    Transmission: Continuously variable transmission with paddle
    shift
    Power: 167bhp at 6,000rpm
    Torque: 222Nmat 4,100rpm
    0-100kmh: 10.2 seconds
    Top speed: 198kmh
    Fuel consumption: 7.7 litres/100km
    Agent: Cycle & Carriage

Headlights as well as tail lamps have been updated. Small changes really, but effective in making the biggish SUV less bulky and more stylish.

Inside, changes include a multi- function steering wheel (with metallic finish paddle shifters) and chrome linings around the centre console, front air-con vents and shift gate. The steering wheel and gear lever are now leather- wrapped.

A ceiling-mounted vent brings chilled air to passengers in the third row of this seven-seater.

In performance and efficiency, the Outlander has benefited from a new continuously variable transmission that makes it quicker and yet more economical.

The century sprint is accomplished in 10.2 seconds - one whole second less than what the pre- facelift version achieved. Top speed is 198kmh instead of 195kmh.

And fuel consumption is 7.7 litres/100km instead of 7.8 previously.

At the wheel, the revised Outlander is pretty impressive. Its transmission is not as whiny as most other CVTs and actually mimics the behaviour of a polished automatic rather convincingly.

The car is energetic and eager, with decent throttle response. Still, the fact that it is an all-wheel-drive is inescapable, with a trace amount of stodginess associated with old four-by-fours remaining. It makes the vehicle seem a tad heavier than its 1.53 tonne kerb weight.

The upside of this is, of course, better traction under hard acceleration and considerably more confidence in the wet.

The Outlander also more than compensates with a relatively smooth delivery, with comfort enhanced by a muted cabin. Even at higher revs, the harshness of its normally aspirated 2.4-litre engine does not intrude.

What disappoints a little is the steering response, which comes across as non-linear and a wee bit tentative.

Amenities are aplenty, with cruise control, motorised tailgate, 4.2-inch TFT infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control and selectable four-wheel-drive (which includes an Eco mode).

As a multi-seater, the Outlander is not quite as spacious as a full- fledged MPV. Its wheelbase of 2,670mm is not as long as you expect of a vehicle its size. But to its credit, its second row slides, with maximum horizontal movement of 250mm. The backrest of the third row can also be reclined. These two features compensate for the rather compact quarters.

The Mitsubishi offers a fair amount of versatility, with second and third row seats that can be folded flat should you need more cargo-carrying space.

At the end of the day, the Outlander is a seven-seat SUV that is fairly accessible. Starting from under $130,000, it is about the price of a Toyota Wish.

It may not be as comfortable as a Wish when fully occupied, but hey, it will take your family to places you will never dream of going in a Wish.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2015, with the headline 'A cooler Outlander'. Print Edition | Subscribe