When you first look at the Mitsubishi Outlander, you can’t help but wonder what the lead designer was thinking. It almost seems as if they designed a new car in clay, went home, but forgot to put the oven on, so the clay melted.
The result is a rather sad looking car. It has droopy eyes and sad shoulders. It has the look of a car that didn’t want to be a car in the first place.
Styling aside, there’s not much to complain about. Mitsubishi stuck closely to the previous Outlander’s formula, which means you get loads of space on the inside and a comforting ride.
You also get a lot of toys for R430 000. The interior is of a high quality and the touch points are covered in either leather, or soft-touch plastic. I liked it in there a lot, mostly because the Outlander feels substantial. It feels as if it’ll last a lifetime.
I’ve only driven it on the road so far and can only say that there’s no major flaws to report. Mitsu has carried over the same 2,4-litre petrol four-cylinder from the previous model and it does a decent enough job of powering the Outlander’s massive body around. I’m not a huge van of the CVT gearbox, which makes the car feel a bit sluggish, but it’s something I could get used to.
The secret, I’ve found, behind these gearboxes, is not to rush things. You have to drive leisurely with a CVT gearbox and then it’ll deliver acceptable fuel consumption levels and it won’t make that horrible CVT drone.
The Outlander does have one weapon in its arsenal, which makes it a rather tasty proposition. Unlike the other SUVs in its price range, the Mitsubishi offers seating for seven. The third row seats are only for children, but I’m convinced they’d come in handy when you least expect it. When you don’t need them, the third row can be folded down completely flat, giving the Outlander a massive boot. It has at least enough space for five people and their luggage.
I think the Outlander’s biggest problem is the fact that it’s easy to forget. Think of the segment it competes in and your mind immediately goes to the Toyota Rav4, Ford Kuga and Honda CR-V.
It’s unfortunate that the customers out there forget about this car, because it has loads of space and there’s nothing really atrocious about it.
I’d urge anyone to go have a look at one before finally signing on the dotted line. It may be ugly on the outside, but on the inside it really is something special.