The Outlander LS is the cheapest four-wheel drive version of the Outlander range. You can get a 2WD two-litre model for $39,990, and that would be fine if you’re trying to save money on petrol (its quoted fuel economy is 6.6l/100km vs the LS’s 7.5l/100km), but this 4WD LS develops more power and torque (126kW and 224Nm) which will make it better for towing, and it has the flexibility of a trick 4WD system. Both vehicles will tow the same amount (1600kg on a braked trailer).
The Outlander has never really handled that much like a car and this LS is no exception. It’s competent and generally responds to where you tell it to go at lower speeds, but you should expect some body roll.
The Outlander LS does come with a good level of equipment for the price. There’s a leather steering wheel and gearshift knob, dual climate control with pollen filter, Bluetooth connectivity (for phone and streaming), six-speaker stereo, a large touchscreen to control the media functions and display the reversing camera images, reversing sensors, and the plastics are soft (in most places).
You also get keyless entry with push button start/stop, steering wheel-mounted cruise control, seven airbags and a raft of safety electronics.
16-inch alloys are fitted and they look a little lost in the arches compared to the 18s on the Outlander VRX we drove. The rest of the exterior design is hit-and-miss. From the front it looks good with its strong grille design; from the rear three-quarter view it looks like it has podgy hips.
These podgy hips, though, are in your favour: if you’re a passenger in the back you’ll be pleased with the enormous amount of legroom available and good shoulder width, too.
In previous Outlanders there was a split folding rear tailgate. This has been replaced with a single tailgate. It’s not a major change, but the split one had its advantages.
An Eco mode reduces engine revs and air conditioning compressor levels. Mitsubishi claims this gives a 5-10% reduction in fuel used. The other two 4WD modes are 4WD auto and 4WD lock. Hill start assistance was available, but there was no stop/start fuel saving mode (unlike Outlanders in Europe).
While the majority of Outlanders sold are likely to be petrol (because those are in the more affordable end of the range), the diesel is the better engine. If you can stretch to a diesel you’ll also get seven seats as opposed to this model’s five seats.
This 2.4-litre MIVEC petrol is mated to a CVT gearbox and the whole thing seems a little noisy at times. Indeed, the diesel VRX we tried drove more smoothly and seemed quieter, possibly because of the conventional six-speed automatic gearbox and the additional torque.
The things that will attract people to this version of the Outlander are the enormous warranty options Mitsubishi offers, the ample legroom and headroom in the rear and the sensible price point. It’s not the best looker in the class, and it’s not the best performer in the class, but with its handy 1754-litre boot, good passenger comfort levels and excellent price-to-equipment ratio, it will win fans.
- Good value 4WD SUV
- Lots of legroom in the rear
- Long warranty
- Engine and CVT noise seemed a bit intrusive at times
- If you can afford it, the diesel option is better
Words and photos: Darren Cottingham