|  First Published: November 2015

Modern car manufacturers don’t sit still. Mitsubishi for example is constantly engineering innovative changes to their models to release very well received upgraded vehicles. The Triton released earlier this year was a standout and now the Outlander has received an upgrade to bring it into line with some of the main contenders in the niche market of high performance 4WDs.

The established Outlander is currently available in both 2WD and 4WD models, with a choice of either a petrol or diesel engine. Clients can choose between 5 and 7 seats. Changes that have been implemented include a softened body shape, a chrome and silver plated grille, the addition of Mitsubishi’s ‘Dynamic Shield’ insert, as well as new fog light insert bezels. Changes to soften the rear include a newly designed bumper and LED rear lights. These alterations create an even stronger road presence and coupled with the SUV wagon, the Outlander has become an attractive sight on the road.

Ample features across the board

The model reviewed was a 7-seat, six speed automatic diesel. The Exceed has top specifications and the mode tested featured 4WD on command via a rotary console button. The entire Outlander range offers a host of desirable features. All models sit on 18” mag wheels for a touch of style. The electronic functions are above expectations. The mid range XLS features items such as digital audio, touch screen satellite navigation, dual zone air, auto wipers and headlights, and Bluetooth connectivity – many of the most important functions are wheel mounted.

The higher market Exceed’s most prominent features were an electrically adjustable driver seat, folding side mirrors, a power operated sun roof, power operated tail gate via the key fob, climate control air conditioning, plus leather seat facings. Keyless entry and push button start are listed in the Exceed’s specs, as is radar cruise control and collision warning systems. As far as lighting and sound systems are concerned, Mitsubishi have always been leaders in the industry – a tradition that continues with the current Exceed models. The Outlander even has daylight LED lights.

Interior modifications

Mitsubishi’s interior alterations in the Outlander are immediately noticeable. A 3-spoke leather bound steering wheel, new head lining and plenty of piano black around the dash, with some contrasting silver highlights to brighten and draw attention to various items is just the start. Seating has also been revised with improvements in support through a bolstered seat design, as well as aesthetically pleasing changes like extra trim, eye catching stitching, and leather facings. The reviewed 7-seater Exceed will seat 2 comfortably up front, 3 in the middle row – with plenty of head and leg room – plus another 2 youngsters in the third row. Seating configuration is considerably versatile with the option of folding the third row away, as well as the mid row, and the ability to employ a 60/40 fold situation to cater for larger items.

Improved road manners

Mitsubishi’s efforts to greatly reduce Noise Vibration Harshness (the dreaded NVH) has proven to be successful in all Outlanders across the board whether petrol or diesel engines. I found the Exceed’s four cylinder DOHC 2.2L diesel engine teamed with a 6-speed auto box was both powerful, compliant, and acceptably quiet. Some diesel chatter at start up was evident but this soon levelled out as road speed increased. Figures of 110KW for power and 360Nm of torque certainly saw the wagon well organized as both power and torque come on line at a low 1500 rpm.

Highway work was a breeze and keeping up with suburban traffic was easy as the 6-speed auto gear box kept the engine in ideal operating range. For the more adventurous among us Mitsubishi have provided paddles on the wheel for those that like to do their own gear changing. Handy for pulling a solid trailer up a range or coming off the other side where some driver input is obviously required – think of coming around a bend on Cunninghams’s Gap and rounding onto a line up of trucks inching their way downwards.

Mitsubishi has put a lot of serious focus into improvement of handling. According to the company, the 2016 variant, features more rigid suspension with a stiffened body to match. Some work on the rear damping system, as well as changes to the electronic steering system also makes for a smoother ride. The result of these modifications are an improved driving experience with easier travel over small bumps and inconsistencies. The electronic steering system is definitely a step forward for the Outlander and is far more responsive.

Summing Up

In my opinion Mitsubishi have done a lot to make a good car even better. With a tow capacity of 750kg for an un-braked trailer and 2000kg for a braked trailer, this stylish and comfortable wagon will certainly tow it’s share of boats or camper trailers. If the road is muddy or the boat ramp is wet there’s always 4WD on command at the touch of the console switch to get more traction when it’s needed. Warranty is 36 months or 100,000km and capped price servicing applies. The Exceed diesel, 6-speed auto would come home for $46,490.

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