namibia Adventure Safari MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER 2.4L GLS AWD
The villains in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars keep making the same mistake: they underestimate Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name. People tend to make the same mistake with Mitsubishi’s Outlander
The grimy criminals in A Fistful of Dollars all make the same error. They take one look at Clint Eastwood’s character and assume that he doesn’t have the shooting skills to take them on. They usually realise their mistake too late – about a second before hitting the ground.
Just as the villains in A Fistful of Dollars underestimate Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name, outdoor enthusiasts often underrate the Outlander.
They realise that it has four-wheel drive but they tend to think that it can’t go far off road. A big reason for this misconception is its shape. With its sleek design and low, slanting roof, the Outlander doesn’t really look like a high-riding SUV. In fact, it boasts very good ground clearance – far better than many other compact SUVs. Where many SUVs have to crawl over rocks with only 180 or 190mm of clearance, the Outlander sits 215mm above the ground.
The Outlander also boasts a fancy four-wheel-drive system that allows the driver to switch between 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock with the turn of a dial.
The engine is a 2,4-litre petrol powerplant that generates 125 kW of power and 226 Nm of torque. Gear shifts are managed by a CVT automatic transmission.
To be sure, most Outlander owners won’t take their vehicles very far off road. They usually stay on tar, which is why their suspensions have been designed to perform particularly well on the black stuff. But as we discovered in the Kaokoveld, just because Outlanders don’t often venture into the bundu doesn’t mean that they can’t.
During our trip, the Outlander performed impeccably. Every obstacle was dealt with in a no-fuss manner. The vehicle never battled. When others in the convoy scraped their bellies against rocks, the Outlander’s ground clearance ensured that it glided over stones without a touch.
The vehicle was at its best, however, in thick sand. With its punchy petrol engine, 4WD lock option and CVT gearbox, it coasted through with ease.
“This was the first time I’d ever used a CVT gearbox in thick sand,” says Mitsubishi’s Arrie Froehlich. “I was really impressed. It handled the sandy surface very well.”
Like Clint’s laconic gunfighter, the Outlander is not what it seems. Yes, it has a sleek and low-slung look that suggests it doesn’t like venturing off tar, but it’s no stranger to the rough stuff. It has what it takes to go the off-road distance. Go ahead – take it on. But just ask yourself one question: do you feel lucky?
As you probably know, Mitsubishi recently launched the ASX (Active Sports Crossover) locally. This new crossover, however, is not the first vehicle from Mitsubishi to carry the ASX moniker. The company unveiled a vehicle called the ASX Concept at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. And the ASX Concept eventually reached production as the Outlander.
The first generation of the Outlander was produced from 2001 to 2005. In October, 2005, the second generation was introduced. This version is still being produced, but it received a major facelift in 2010 that included styling, equipment and feature upgrades.
Trivia: The Peugeot 4007 is produced by Mitsubishi, and it is, to all intents and purposes, an Outlander.
MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER 2.4L GLS AWD
Engine: 2,4-litre 16-valve DOHC
Power: 125 kW @ 6000 r/min
Torque: 226 Nm @ 4100 r/min
Gearbox: CVT with sports mode
4WD: Electronic 4×4 with 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock
Ground clearance: 215mm
Price: R403 200