Motoring / Motoring News

Glen Hill
4 minute read
2 Apr 2014
3:00 pm

A vehicle for all conditions

Glen Hill

Mitsubishi's Outlander started life as the Airtrek, which could be the first time a vehicle has carried an Afrikaans oriented name internationally.

Although that name fell away ages ago it underscores the vehicle’s appropriateness in the South African context. Good tar roads and good dirt roads covering thousands of kilometres of unexplored wilderness are what Outlander drivers will be able to traverse.

The Outlander underwent a full model change in early 2013 and in the earlier launch countries the sales have been very good. South Africa is now getting the all-new Outlander with additional 2014 changes that include design tweaks as well as a reduced drag-coefficient.

The first in the range of Outlanders to be launched in South Africa will be the luxurious GLS Exceed model. The vehicle is powered by a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine developing 123kW of power at 6 000rpm and 222Nm of torque at 4 100rpm. Claimed fuel consumption in the combined test mode is 8.2l/100km and emissions on this cycle are 192g/km. Claimed maximum speed is 195km/h with a maximum towing capacity of 750kg.

The Outlander uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to transfer the power from the engine to the wheels. This is its greatest weakness by far.

If you would like to get a move on and are generous with the throttle inputs, the engine revs up to almost 6000rpm and stays there until the speed catches up or you back off when the vehicle speed is where you want it. Not only is this a bit noisy, but it also burns fuel.

We got nowhere near the claimed consumption figures on the launch drive, presumably for this reason.

It is true that you can learn to drive a CVT better than that, but I have yet to experience one that I could live with. Unfortunately there are no other gearbox options for South Africa at present. A diesel is in the pipeline and it mercifully produces too much torque for CVT, so will probably have a torque converter set-up. This should make for an agreeable vehicle, as the rest of the Outlander is rather nice.

The power passes through a multi-select four-wheel drive (4WD) system, which is electronically controlled. In ECO mode, the 4WD system runs in 2WD during normal driving conditions, but automatically engages 4WD when it senses one of the wheels slipping on a loose or slippery surface. The system permits 4WD ECO, 4WD auto and 4WD lock-up modes.

The lock up mode increases wheel traction, thereby providing maximum tractability. The different modes can be selected through the simple push of a button. The 4WD system is flexible, driver-friendly and provides great capability in off-road situations.

Steering makes use of a rack and pinion system with electric power steering assistance. The steering wheel can be tilted and telescopic adjustment is possible as well.

All models are fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/55 R18 tyres and there is a full size spare wheel.

The new Outlander is extremely spacious with a lot of loading space and offers convenient seating for seven occupants in three rows of seats, with the second and third rows able to fold flat. Getting in and out of the third row of seats is also reasonably easy thanks to the simple fold-forward action.

A high level of standard equipment includes a dual zone automatic air conditioning system, keyless operating system, a high quality touch screen audio system, cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, paddle shifts, an information system, park distance control, Bluetooth with hands-free voice control for cell phone use, a USB port and a retractable tonneau cover over the spacious luggage compartment.

The 7-seater Outlander further boasts leather seats (driver and front passenger seats are

also heated) and a Rockford Fosgate audio system with nine speakers. It also features a rear-view camera, glass sunroof and electrically operated tailgate as well as a rear entertainment system which connects via wireless headphones.

Safety is always top priority for the Mitsubishi engineers and here the Outlander is again very well equipped with seven airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), ASTC (active stability and traction control) which includes BA (brake assist system), and HSA (hill start assist).

The vehicle is built using Mitsubishi’s acclaimed RISE (reinforced impact safety evolution) body construction.

Other safety features include dusk sensing HID headlamps with auto levelling function for better night vision, headlamp washers and front fog lamps, rain sensing windscreen wipers, central locking with an alarm/immobiliser with ultrasonic motion sensors, an Iso-fix child seat anchor (lower and tether) and privacy glass.

Buyers have a choice of five colours for the latest Outlander: Cool Silver Metallic, Titanium Grey, Black Mica, Warm White Pearl and White Solid.