by- Nitin Sharma
Mitsubishi, A name that has a huge past of rallying associated with it. There was a time when all the big bulky 4*4 had a king named Pajero and literally no one has the courage to outperform it when it comes to off road capabilities. Even in today’s world the old charm of Pajero SFX isn’t lost.
But for the past some years, Mitsubishi faced a huge competition from other manufacturers and Toyota Fortuner became the undisputed king of the territory. It had been quite a long since Mitsubishi came out with an all new vehicle. The last launch we saw was in 2016 when the current gen Montero was launched and because it came as CBU, the car failed to leave a mark or lasting impression.
Though this time around Mitsubishi came out with its latest offering, the Outlander. Now this is not an hardcore offroader but what it is, is a SUV. But again what it isn’t is a diesel SUV. Now this car isn’t a competition for either the Fortuner or the Endeavour. But rather it is targeted against the likes of Honda CRV.
Though this is an all new car but still it is quite reminiscent to its previous sibling. The front is now more subtle and curvaceous instead of the bold aggressive looking previous generation car. The headlamps are also new and not houses LED Daytime Running Lights along with Projector lamps. There are also loads of chrome detailing to the front though the side and rear are kept quite clean. To the side we have new set of 16 inch multi spoke alloy wheels but they look a bit tiny on this big car. Also the car now looks more compact than the previous model, thanks to the sleeker profile. The rear now houses a new set of wrap around colored tail lamps unlike the clear lens style on the previous car.
Outlander looks like a typical soft roader. It’s not bold and bulky like a proper SUV but it looks elegant nonetheless.
To the inside the dash also is a completely new unit and here everything is driver centric. The dashboard is basically divided into two parts, as in all the buttons are concentrated to the right side so as to facilitate easy access to the driver and the rest is left clean and nearly untouched. It looks minimalistic and functional to say the least. There is also a new 6.1 inch touchscreen infotainment system but what is surprising that it is not compatible with either Apple Carplay or Android Auto. Also the interface feels a bit outdated considering that of the competition.
There are two major updates done to the interior here. Firstly the Outlander now comes with Electric sunroof and the second biggest change is that Outlander comes with full seven seats. Also there is two zone climate control so that both driver and the co passenger can enjoy their own climate. Interior is complete black with some nice wooden inlays which looks rich though the look a lot plasticky then they should. Driver seat is nice and supportive but we wish it was bit more wide. We now have an electric parking brake rather than a conventional lever.
The biggest update though is the addition of a third row of seats which opens a whole new segment for the car. The Indian market is occupant concerned and thus having an extra row means that the Outlander is now available for those who have a big family and want to stay together no matter wherever they go. But there is a big issue. First the middle row doesn’t tumble forward, it just slides ahead and reclines a bit thus making the ingress a lot harder. Secondly the space available for the rear most passengers is absolutely none if you slide the middle row seats to the extreme back. The only way you can squeeze yourself in those seats (yeah you really need to squeeze yourself to be there) is either you chop your legs off or slide the middle row seat ahead to the forward most setting means you are left with minimum space for the middle row passengers. Best said these kids are only suitable for small kids.
The space at the second row is quite decent but the high set waistline and lowered roof means smaller windows and there are times when you start to feel claustrophobic in this cabin. Though the seats are wide enough to accomodate three passengers easily.
The overall feel is now extremely plush but still it gets the job done.
An area where the car does a decent job is in the area of equipments offered. Outlander is loaded with stuff such as LED headlamps and fog lamps, auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, hill start assist, electric parking brake, keyless entry and go, cruise control, paddle shifters, electric sunroof, dual zone climate control and many more. For safety the car comes with 7 airbags, ABS, EBD, active stability control and brake assist.
The car is powered by the same 2.4L 4 cylinder MIVEC petrol motor producing 167 bhp and 222 Nm of peak torque. This motor is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters. No diesel engine option comes with the car and it is a big setback considering the diesel concerned SUV market in India. The motor is quite peppy and responses to the lightest of throttle inputs. Being a petrol motor the refinement is undoubtedly quite good. But the CVT gearbox to ruin some of the fun. First it is very eager to upshift. This seriously hampers the car’s performance specially when you want to make a sudden overtake or need some extra power. For those cases one can always use the manual mode and this is where paddle shifters come as handy. At low speeds the CVT gearbox feels relaxed and smooth but as you start to build RPM it starts to sound weird. This is not a car that loves being pushed hard. Drive this in a relaxed manner and you’ll be surprised by its cruising abilities. Also one thing to be noticed is that the steering vibrates a lot. Hit a thud and you will feel it via the steering which is one odd and strange thing considering the price and premiumness of the car.
The suspension is also set considering the thing in mind that this car is set to be driven on tarmac more than offroad. It is a bit stiff and though it feels quite comfortable for cruising, on broken tarmac or offroad the car feels a bit rough and gets to thrash a bit oftenly.
The Outlander is priced at 31.84 lacs and at this price it faces stiff competition from the just launched latest generation Honda CRV and petrol Toyota Fortuner both of which are cheaper than the outlander.