Mitsubishi's seven-seater 4x4 gets some new chrome bits, but is unchanged mechanically.
Johannesburg - Mitsubishi has given the Outlander a bit of a nip and tuck with some cosmetic changes that gives it a new look although fundamentally it is very much the same vehicle people have become used to.

It’s called the ‘Dynamic Shield Design’ which was recently introduced on the ASX and they say it gives it a bold and edgy look and a stylish and purposeful appearance.

I’m not a big fan of lots of chrome but it seems to work on the front design where the badge is centred above the grille and chrome ‘strips’ lead from the outside of the headlights towards the lower fog lights. At the back a large Mitsubishi logo dominates below the rear window again with chrome detail.

My son and I took it down to Durban for the recent long weekend to attend a mini family gathering and aesthetically it got the nod of approval from a 76 year old through to the teens.

The drive down gave me enough time to experience its driveability and comfort and even though I’m not entirely convinced of the merits of a CVT gearbox, on the open road it worked a charm. You also get a six-speed sports mode shift which I tried in and around town which gives you a substantially quicker pull off, but the Outlander was never made with tyre-ripping performance in mind and certainly as a family transporter it covers all the bases well.

It’s still powered by the familiar 2.4-litre engine pushing out 123kW and 222Nm; the maker claims fuel-consumption in the region of 8.2 litres per 100km but the best I could manage was 9.2 which I suspect was the CVT gearbox picking up fairly high revs on the inclines.

Still, it’s a very comfortable drive both on the open road and in town considering its size which gives you oodles of space including a third row of seats which on a long trip should be comfortable enough at least for the little people.

Its multi-select all-wheel drive system gives you 4WD Eco Mode, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock mode, all of which are managed by an electronic system to give optimum road and some less serious off-road performance.

The Rockford Fosgate sound system with nine speakers, a 710W eight-channel amplifier and a subwoofer is enough to give even the loudest doof-doof taxi a run for their money. But the best thing, according to my son, was the nine-inch roof-mounted, fold down DVD player which you can listen to via the sound system or infrared headsets. Harry Potter nirvana, apparently.

The steering wheel is fully adjustable and multi-functional with the gear shift paddles, access to voice controls and hands-free Bluetooth phone functionality.

You get automatic lights and windshield wipers, dual zone climate control (although no aircon for the rear passengers), and cruise control, while on the safety front are seven airbags, stability control, ABS brakes with emergency brake assist, and hill start assist which is peace of mind when loaded and travelling with the whole family.

The Outlander comes in at R549 900, including a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a five-year or 90 000km service plan.

Saturday Star

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