It’s also just as easy to drive. Many new owners tend to be skeptical about driving a big car as it seems intimidating at first. But once they get behind the wheel and use it daily, they soon realise that it is not much different from handling a car and yet it offers so much more practicality.
SUVs are able to ferry people around in comfort and with a larger cargo area, you don’t have to worry about running out of space with luggage and anything else you need to haul.
And then you have SUVs which offer off-road capabilities. This feature is an added bonus if you find yourself going through unpaved or dirt roads.
It’s good to remember that as these SUVs have a higher clearance than cars, and is able to wade through a flooded section of a road or highway as long as the waters are not too deep. Having this ability is always useful during the rainy season which we are experiencing now in Malaysia.
Recently, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia organised a drive to experience the seven-seater 2.0 litre Outlander as the SUV is now locally-assembled and is currently priced at RM139,988 (on-the-road without insurance).
Besides being competitively priced, this SUV also has the benefit of 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) and features an intelligent 4WD system which lets you select between 4WD Eco, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock.
It has a very capable 2.0 litre MIVEC engine mated to the Invecs-III CVT transmission which produces 145PS and 196Nm of torque.
On the way to our destination to the town of Bentong, Pahang from Shah Alam, Selangor, we made a pit stop for a little driving exercise.
This exercise was to determine the different handling abilities in 4WD Eco and 4WD Auto modes on a wet surface. This would be the two most used modes for urban driving scenarios while the 4WD Lock would only be selected in off-road situations.
Cones were arranged in a circular fashion followed by a minor slalom course after exiting the ‘roundabout’.
The first exercise was done in 4WD Eco mode where we had to accelerate hard towards the circle before lifting-off the accelerator pedal and turn the wheel to take the roundabout.
This SUV understeered in this instance while in 4WD Auto mode, the SUV was much more responsive whenever we turned the wheel.
The conclusion in this exercise was that Eco mode promoted fuel efficiency when selected but does not fully utilise the vehicle’s 4WD capabilities. And it was the opposite in Auto mode as all the wheels are responding to the steering angle and hugged the turns tighter.
We would continue to use the two 4WD modes as we made our way to Bentong using the old, windy roads from Genting Sempah. We stopped at Janda Baik for lunch and it had begun to rain. And it only got heavier after that.
Despite the wet, slippery and narrow roads, we felt secure with its confident handling in 4WD Auto.
We also enjoyed being in the cabin which we found to be quiet, comfortable and spacious. It also gave us the opportunity to try the Air Gesture Control by placing our hand in front of the 7in HD touchscreen unit and adjust the volume level by waving our hand up and down.
This worked intermittently but then again, there is the volume control on the steering wheel so it was not an issue.
The rain came pouring down on our way back, this time we drove on the Karak highway and the convoy kept a steady pace and again, it was simply planted even under such conditions.
Besides being such a capable car, there's an arm’s length of safety features such as seven airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, Active Stability and Traction Control and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
There’s also a host of other features such as keyless entry, push start button, LED daytime running lights, 18in wheels, automatic headlamps and wipers, dual zone climate control, cruise control, reverse camera with guide lines, driving video recorder, audio system with six speakers, CD, MP3, USB, Bluetooth and ISOFIX mounts.
It also offers a lot of utility with the seven seats and a best-in-class cargo volume of 1,608 litres with the second and third row seats folded.
In conclusion, the Outlander offers a lot of value for the price, practicality, 4WD system, cargo space and safety features.
It's no wonder people the world over prefer SUVs these days.