If life has dealt you the hand of abundant fertility there are several car makers vying for your dollars when it comes to transporting your progeny. You don’t need to have a hideous van or MPV when you can have a relatively sleek SUV such as the Outlander XLS.
Of course, it will appeal to you altruistic car-pooler types, too, as you ferry your friends’ kids to school – and it will deal with the urban jungle with aplomb. You could pull up outside any school and the Outlander will not look out of place whether the other parents are driving utes or Maseratis.
Leading the handsome look is the ‘fighter jet’ grille taken straight from the Evo X. This is framed by self-levelling high-intensity discharge headlights that follow your steering wheel – steer left, and the Outlander illuminates the way to the left.
Flared wheel arches and a strong sloping shoulder line draw your eye to the neat reverse slope of the rear window, which is something many cars fail to make look good.
Mitsubishi’s website says that “until Outlander came along, driving an SUV meant putting up with a rather ‘wallowy’ ride”, and that the “Outlander, on the other hand, is design to feel like a car. It’s tight, firm and responsive.” That might be taking it a bit far. The Outlander is still relatively wallowy on the road (like almost all SUVs), but it is quite responsive and that’s because of the 127kW 2.4-litre MIVEC engine. There’s plenty of power and you will feel the traction control reining it in occasionally, even in the dry. Power is transmitted through a six-speed CVT gearbox with sport mode.
The Outlander cruises well. You can detect a little hint of the ‘wandering’ nature of SUV steering, but overall it’s quite good. It’s quiet at speed despite that 225/55/R18 wheels it rides on.
Our Outlander was one of the limited number that didn’t have the steering wheel-mounted Bluetooth phone integration, and instead had an aftermarket system fitted. This didn’t seem to work as nicely as the integrated version does (which we tried on the ASX a few weeks ago).
If you’re buying the Outlander, you’re looking for convenience because having multiple children isn’t convenient. So, you’ll be pleased to know that, as well as keyless entry and start, seats six and seven are easy to move into place, and seats 3-5 are versatile in that they’ll recline and are have a one-touch electronic folding option which moves them out of the way to produce almost 1700 litres of luggage space. The split rear tailgate (sorry – we neglected to take a photo of this), allows for easy loading into the boot. The boot comes with a cargo blind, too, to keep your items out of sight. The fold down tail gate can double as a seat that will take up to 200kg so you can park up and watch the kids play soccer. There’s even a chilled secondary glovebox to keep a drink cool for after the match. Convenient, right?
The other thing that is convenient is you can make the Outlander 2WD, 4WD or 4WD with a locked differential. This gives it true off-roading capabilities. You also get the full complement of active stability control (ASC – eliminates under- and over-steer situations), ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), the aforementioned traction control, reversing sensors and hill start assist.
Round this off with six airbags and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, what’s there not to love? Well, the problem is the interior. It feels cheap up the front, and at the back when you have the third row of seats up there is no boot remaining.
What are your alternatives? Well, they’re all pretty strong, so your choice may be heavily based on whether you like the looks, and whether you can cut the right deal. You can have a Ford Territory TX which handles slightly better, has the best interior (especially for passengers 6 and 7), but is thirsty and a bit dear. You can have a Hyundai Santa Fe which has loads of gear and is quiet, but suffers a lot of body roll. And finally there’s a Holden Captiva 7 which is also well-specced on the interior, but is thirsty and has a coarse ride. Of course, if you’ve got more money, you can get an Outlander that’s had an interior makeover: the Peugeot 4007.
The Outlander stacks up against them very well. Apart from the interior, which definitely needs better quality materials, in my opinion it wins in the looks department. The engine is strong, it’s a sensible price and there’s plenty of room.
- Looks great
- Strong engine
- Versatile – it will handle some of the rough stuff with the locking diff 4WD, yet it works in the city, too
- Interior and specification needs an upgrade
- Dull colour range
Price: from $45,990 for the XLS; base model starts at $38,990.
|BODY TYPE||5 door wagon|
|SEATING CAPACITY||5 persons||7 persons|
|ENGINE||2.4 DOHC MIVEC – 4B12|
|BORE AND STROKE||88 x 97mm|
|MAX POWER DIN (KW @ RPM)||127 @ 6,000|
|MAX TORQUE DIN (NM @ RPM)||230 @ 4,100|
|FUEL CONSUMPTION (L/100KM)||9.3|
|FUEL TANK SIZE (LITRES)||60|
|FUEL TYPE||Unleaded 91|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed CVT with Sports Mode|
|PADDLE SHIFT||–||XLS & VRX only|
|ON DEMAND AWD CONTROL||With Traction Control|
|FRONT||Macpherson strut with coil spring & stabiliser|
|REAR||Multi-link with stabiliser|
|AIRBAGS||Dual stage airbags (driver, passenger, side, curtain & driver’s knee)|
|PARK BRAKE||Leather lever type with chrome release switch|
|BRAKING SAFETY SYSTEM||4-wheel ABS with EBD and ASC|
|CONVENIENCE||Hill Start Assist and Brake Assist Systems|
|STEERING SYSTEM||Power Steering|
|CRUISE CONTROL||On steering wheel|
|AUDIO CONTROLS||Located on steering wheel|
|WHEELS & TIRES||LS||XLS||VRX|
|WHEELS||16″ alloy wheel||18″ alloy wheel|
|TIRES||215/70R16 99H||225/55R18 97H|
|OPERATING HARDWARE & ELECTRICAL||LS||XLS||VRX|
|ENTRY SYSTEM||Multi-mode keyless entry with 2 transmitters|
|(KOS)||Keyless operating system|
|SECURITY||Alarm (horn, turn & buzz) with hood switch & immobiliser|
|POWER WINDOWS||Front and rear (driver auto up and down) with key off timer|
|HEADLAMPS||Halogen with manual levelling device||Discharge (wide angle) with auto levelling device and washer|
|FRONT FOG LAMP||–||XLS & VRX only|
|WINDSHIELD WIPER||2 speed with variable intermittent||2 speed with auto variable intermittent|
|RAIN SENSOR||–||VRX only|
|WINDSCREEN WASHERS||Front and rear|
|SEATBELT WARNING LAMP||(Driver & passenger)|
|BUZZERS||Seatbelt warning, shift inhibit and door ajar|
|OTHER||Trip computer, Analogue spedometer and Tachometer|
|AIR CONDITIONING||Full auto|
|SOUND SYSTEM||AM/FM CD radio with 6 speakers||6-CD MP3 Rockford Fosgate with 9 speakers|
|REVERSE WARNING SYSTEM||–||Yes|
|ACCESSORY SOCKET||Console box and instrument panel|
|REVERSING CAMERA||–||VRX only|
|CONNECTIVITY||Bluetooth* and USB port|
|SEAT TRIM FABRIC||Sports Mesh||Partial Leather||Leather|
|HEATED FRONT SEATS||–||VRX only|
|DRIVER’S SEAT||Manual slide, recline & height adjuster||Power with slide, recline & height adjuster|
|ASSISTANT’S SEAT||Slide & recline adjuster & rear pocket|
|FRONT SEAT HEADREST||driver and passenger|
|REAR SEAT HEADREST||x 3|
|FRONT SEATBELTS||3-point with ELR x 2, pre-tensioner, force limiter & adjustable belt anchor|
|REAR SEATBELTS||3-point with ELR & ALR x 2, 3-point centre belt with ELR x 1|
|FLOOR CONSOLE||Large type with lid, armrest & 2 cup holders for front seat|
|GLASS||Laminated windshield, privacy glass and rear glass with hotwire|
|REAR SPOILER||With stop lamp|
|CHILD SEAT||ISO-FIX x 2 with tether anchor x 3|
|DIMENSIONS / WEIGHTS||LS||XLS||VRX|
|OVERALL LENGTH (MM)||4,665|
|OVERALL WIDTH (MM)||1,800|
|OVERALL HEIGHT WITH ROOF RAILS (MM)||1,735|
|WHEEL BASE (MM)||2,670|
|FRONT TRACK (MM)||1,540|
|REAR TRACK (MM)||1,540|
|GROUND CLEARANCE (MM)||215|
|APPROACH ANGLE DEG||22.0|
|DEPARTURE ANGLE DEG||22.5|
|RAMP BREAK-OVER ANGLE DEG||20.0|
|TURNING CIRCLE (M)||10.6|
|KERB WEIGHT (KG)||1,590||1,635||1,670|
|GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT (KG)||2,270|
|ROOF LOADING TOTAL WEIGHT (KG)||80|
|TOWING BRAKED (KG)||1,500|
|TOWING UNBRAKED (KG)||750|
|CARGO ROOM LENGTH – SEAT DOWN (MM)||1,697|
|CARGO ROOM LENGTH – SEATH UP (MM)||983|
|CARGO ROOM WIDTH (MM)||1,426|
|CARGO ROOM WIDTH BETWEEN WHEEL ARCHES (MM)||950|
|CARGO ROOM HEIGHT (MM)||1,017|
|CARGO VOLUME (LITRES)
2ND ROW UP
|CARGO VOLUME (LITRES)
2ND ROW DOWN
Words and photos: Darren Cottingham
Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 7-seat 2012 – Road Test