… But that’s only because the field in which the facelifted Mitsubishi Outlander stands is so far removed from its competitors in Singapore. Here’s why:
Around about a decade ago, consumers who had a sizeable brood to ferry around had no shortage of reasonably-priced multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) to choose from. Now though, the seven-seater market is considerably sparser. Most brands have cut down on their seven-seater options, with some dispensing with it altogether, while others now offer seven-seater sports utility vehicles instead.
Mitsubishi is one such brand that’s gone with the latter option since its 2014 comeback, in the form of the Outlander, which has just undergone a facelift for 2019, the second for the current-gen model.
The changes this time round are much less substantial than its 2015 refresh – they include a new radiator grille, bumpers, LED head and taillights, electronic parking brake, and perhaps most importantly, aircon vents for middle row passengers.
The rest of is unchanged; it’s still a conventional seven-seater SUV, powered by a 2.0-litre inline four mated to a CVT gearbox (a 2.4-litre version is available). On paper, there’s absolutely nothing remarkable about the Outlander, its outputs of 150hp and 190Nm of torque being thoroughly average for a 2.0-litre mill, but outclassed by pretty much any engine with a turbo attached to it.
On the move, it suffers from the customary CVT “rubber band” effect of pegging the engine at a constant high rpm if brisk acceleration is called for. It certainly doesn’t help that the engine gets extremely vocal above 4,000rpm. Drive the Outlander gently though, and the drivetrain performs adequately, though you do get the sense that it’ll struggle from a standstill with a full load of passengers.
Ride comfort is similarly disappointing. Even with four adults aboard there’s excessive vertical movement on big bumps and plenty of jiggles over small ones, like the springs are too soft and the shock absorbers too hard.
So it’s no Lancer Evolution to drive, that much shouldn’t surprise. But for family duties the Outlander isn’t perfect either. For starters, the Outlander’s sixth and seventh seats are spacious enough only for kids and the smallest of adults (though we’ve experienced tighter), there’s no aircon back there, and shifting the middle row for access is a tedious affair. There’s also only one USB and 12V socket each in the cabin (though there’s another 12V in the boot), and storage bins are a bit limited for a seven-seater.
That said however, use it as a five-seater and you probably won’t have any complaints. Slide the middle row rearwards and you have all the legroom you could ever want, and with the third row folded you have a cavernous 591-litre boot to play with. And if you need even more space (say, if you’re a biking enthusiast), the middle row will fold flat, although its operation is a fiddly one.
But even though the Outlander doesn’t excel in any area, there’s still a very good reason why you might want to consider one: price. At $106,999 with COE for the base Modern trim, the Outlander is the second-cheapest seven-seater you can buy, bested only by the Toyota Sienta mini-MPV; seven-seat SUV rivals like the Honda CR-V and Kia Sorento meanwhile, are at least $30k dearer, while further up the scale at $160k there’s also the excellent Skoda Kodiak.
Despite its affordability, the Outlander doesn’t skimp on equipment. As standard, you get seven airbags, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, a Kenwood head unit that’s Apple CarPlay/Android Auto-compatible, and a rear-view camera (although this last one came severely misaligned as standard). Local dealer Cycle & Carriage even offers a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
For $6,000 more, the Style trim, as tested here, adds on factory-fitted leather upholstery, electric front seats, and an electric tailgate – a very useful feature.
It’s no exaggeration to say that, viewed in isolation, the Outlander doesn’t particularly impress.
But with the small MPV market all but dried up, it pretty much has this end of the market all to itself (the Toyota Prius+, Renault Grand Scenic and Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer are the closest on price, but are $10k costlier than the Outlander Modern).
For those on a budget and who absolutely need the extra seating capacity, that’s all the reason needed to choose the Outlander, and that’s a choice we can certainly respect.
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 Style
|Engine||1,998cc, inline 4|
|Power||150bhp at 6000rpm|
|Torque||190Nm at 4200rpm|
|VES / CO2||C1 / 164g/km CO2|
|Agent||Cycle & Carriage Automotive|
|Price||$112,999 with COE|