Refined drive with the Mitsubishi Outlander

By THOMAS HUONG | 6 June 2016

The new Mitsubishi Outlander sport utility vehicle (SUV) has a refined drive quality, a spacious seven-seater cabin, and a host of premium comfort features to help justify its RM170,000 price tag.

Unlike the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV, which uses the Triton pick-up truck's platform, the Outlander is based on a car-like monocoque architecture for better handling and comfort, and reduced weight.

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This is the 2016 Outlander which was given a substantial mid-life update in Japan last year, featuring Mitsubishi Motors' Dynamic Shield front design.

The Outlander is imported from Japan and only available in 4WD form (also equipped with heated front seats).

Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia recently organised a 480km drive for the press from Shah Alam to Puteri Harbour, Johor to highlight the Outlander's outstanding features.

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The drive was mostly on smooth highways, and included a detour to Port Dickson for lunch.

We found a refined and quiet cabin environment, as there was there was little engine, tyre and wind noise intrusion.

Although it's doubtful whether the typical urban family will ever use the Outlander for a rough-and-tumble offroad outing, the Outlander has four-wheel drive with automatic and lock modes via a convenient round dial or button control.

We drove the SUV in 4WD ECO mode all the time as we did not go off-road.

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This facelifted Outlander received more than 30 updates to reduce cabin noise intrusion including extra sound absorbing and insulation materials.

We liked the premium ambience of the cabin with the black leather upholstery, and ebony wood grain-like panels.

There are also nice and useful gadgetry like a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, a large 6.1-inch touchscreen display, iPod and USB features, and a reverse camera, push-start ignition and keyless operation.

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Premium features here include a powered driver's seat, automatic LED headlamps with daytime running lights, and electric tailgate with anti-trapping function, a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, dual zone climate control, auto dimming rear view mirror, and Konica Minolta security and solar film.

There is ample power from the 2.4-litre Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) engine with 167ps and 222Nm of torque, whihc is mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

The Outlander was fitted with Goodyear Eagle LS 225/55 R18 tyres, and it's quite nimble and handled well when we were in a bit of a playful mood.

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The suspension is comfort-biased, and the steering was responsive and precise.

The Outlander was a brisk sprinter when we stepped hard on the accelerator pedal.

While there is no rear air-conditioning vents, our rear passenger did not have any issues with this.

In fact, she complained of being too cold when we had the blower at near-full blast on a extremely hot day.

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Rear seats can be reclined for more comfort, and with both rear rows folded, the Outlander has a best-in-class 1,608 litres of space to up to four golf bags or a single-bed mattress.

There's also the convenience of a push-button to close the electric tailgate.

Making tight U-turns is not too difficult with the Outlander's best-in-class turning radius of 5.3 metres.

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Over a 100,000km or five-year warranty period, Mitsubishi Malaysia says its estimated after-sales and maintenance costs will be RM5,239.

The Outlander comes across as a well-packaged, refined, and marvellously engineered premium family SUV.

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4L 4WD
Engine: 2,360cc DOHC MIVEC ((Mitsubishi innovative valve timing electronic control)
Maximum power: 167ps at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 222Nm at 4,100rpm
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 6-step Sports Mode
Features: Seven airbags, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, ASC (active stability control), traction control, hill-start assist, ISOFIX anchors with rear seats, Konica Minolta security and solar window tint, paddle shifters, sunroof
Fuel consumption: 12.98km per litre
Price: RM168,600 on-the-road without insurance (GST Inclusive); five-year or 100,000km (whichever comes first) warranty