Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 7-seat 2012 Review

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Interior and specification needs an upgrade
  • Dull colour range

Price: from $45,990 for the XLS; base model starts at $38,990.

GENERAL LS XLS VRX
MODEL CODE CF4LS45 CF4XLS45 CF4VRX45
BODY TYPE 5 door wagon
SEATING CAPACITY 5 persons 7 persons
ENGINE LS XLS VRX
ENGINE 2.4 DOHC MIVEC – 4B12
DISPLACEMENT 2,360
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1
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
CO2 (G/KM) 214
FUEL SYSTEM LS XLS VRX
FUEL TANK SIZE (LITRES) 60
FUEL TYPE Unleaded 91
TRANSMISSION LS XLS VRX
TRANSMISSION 6-speed CVT with Sports Mode
PADDLE SHIFT - XLS & VRX only
ON DEMAND AWD CONTROL With Traction Control
SUSPENSION LS XLS VRX
FRONT Macpherson strut with coil spring & stabiliser
REAR Multi-link with stabiliser
SAFETY LS XLS VRX
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
BRAKES 16″ discs
SMARTBRAKE All models
STEERING LS XLS VRX
STEERING SYSTEM Power Steering
STEERING WHEEL Leather
CRUISE CONTROL On steering wheel
BLUETOOTH Standard*
AUDIO CONTROLS Located on steering wheel
STEERING LOCK Yes
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
METERS High contrast
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
SEATS LS XLS VRX
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
CONVENIENCE ITEMS LS XLS VRX
FLOOR CONSOLE Large type with lid, armrest & 2 cup holders for front seat
MUD GUARD Rear
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
882
CARGO VOLUME (LITRES)
2ND ROW DOWN
1,691

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi Outlander XLS 7-seat 2012 – Road Test

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