Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire 4WD Review
Practical Motoring’s 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire 4WD review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.
IN A NUTSHELL An updated version of Mitsubishi’s mid-size SUV, the 2014 Outlander boasts a new look and more kit for the money.
PRACTICAL MOTORING SAYS Mitsubishi has tried hard to update the Outlander and the new look on the inside and out certainly modernises it, but the uninspiring ride and handling relegate it to the back of the pack.
WHILE MITSUBISHI PAJERO owners would, no doubt, argue otherwise, it’s the rally-bred Lancer Evolution that the brand is best known for. It’s Mitsubishi’s poster child.
But it is, without doubt, Mitsubishi’s hard-working SUVs (Pajero, Outlander and ASX) that have won it fans in this country. And while the Mitsubishi Outlander has always been the ho-hum SUV of the mid-size segment, Mitsubishi is determined that that won’t be the case for the 2014 Outlander.
The styling mish-mash of its predecessor has been tamed, both inside and out. The once bulging wheel arches have been smoothed out and the mesh grille has been replaced by a flat-design offering. That said, the new look still jars on some angles with the grille and headlights looking a little too pinched, making the Outlander look bloated but, on the whole, it’s a more attractive-looking vehicle than before.
The Outlander’s interior, as mentioned, has also been re-styled with liberal use of soft-touch plastics and clean, well laid out instruments. Better than before, it’s not quite up to the standard of, say, the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the seven-inch MMC audio and sat-nav system isn’t particularly intuitive, it’s also slow to recalculate when you go off route.
We drove the Outlander Aspire 4WD 2.4L which is priced from $43,790 (+ORC) or almost exactly $3000 cheaper than its diesel-powered equivalent. Mitsubishi says the Aspire receives $5700 worth of added value over the mid-spec Outlander LS, getting HID headlamps with washers, a power tailgate as well as forward collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control.
Thanks to reach and height adjustment on the steering wheel and the power-adjustable leather driver’s seat (the passenger makes do with manual adjustment) drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable behind the wheel. The back seats offer a generous amount of head, shoulder and legroom – we had no problems fitting two childseats into the back, and both children had good legroom once buckled in.
The Outlander is sold as a true seven-seater, but like a lot of mid-size seven-seat SUVs the third row isn’t overly generous with foot and legroom almost non-existent. Indeed, a co-worker’s 14-year old clambered in and had to have his legs over to one side to fit in the back. While the Hyundai Santa Fe also offers seven seats other Outlander alternatives are all five-seaters, like the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4.
Forward and side vision in the Outlander is pretty good, although the slabby rear three-quarter is particularly tricky to see around when you’re performing a shoulder check to change lanes.
Powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 124kW (at 6000rpm) and 220Nm of torque (at 4200rpm) and mated to a CVT only, the Outlander Aspire 4WD consumes 6.9L/100km (although our best was 7.2L/100km). While the transmission works well with the engine whether you’re letting it shift all by itself or using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, there is a slackness in picking up the throttle from a standing start. What worked against the Outlander while we had it was the fact we’d just returned the WRX CVT, which shows just how good a CVT can be.
Out on the road, the Outlander’s electric power steering is light which is great for parking but not so great as the speed builds. Billed as speed-sensitive (or variable-boost) steering assist system we couldn’t tell any difference in weight through the wheel at either 40km/h or 100km/h.
At low, around town, speeds the 2014 Outlander is comfortable enough, but as you get out of town and into corners the Outlander struggles to control its weight, rolling over and falling into understeer and thumping through imperfections in the road. It’s not in the same class as its competitors.
In terms of safety, Mitsubishi has lavished plenty of attention on the Outlander and it receives a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating. Standard features include seven airbags, seatbelt reminders, stability and traction controls as well as hill-start assist. There are two ISOFIX mounting points in the back seats. The Aspire 4WD we tested also receives adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, and rear parking sensors and camera.