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Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D Juro SST

Click to view picture gallery“Like Land Rovers Range Rover,
  there are no silly names on
  Mitsubishi
s ‘town-and-country’
  seven-seater. Outlander it
s
  called. And that says it all
...”


THERE WAS A TIME when choosing a car was a pretty straightforward affair. Today car-buying, like TV, has almost too many choices. Take, for instance, the blurring lines between estates that go off-road and off-roaders that are closer to high-riding estate cars.

Crossing over into the fray steps Mitsubishi's latest Outlander, tested here in special edition Juro spec. It makes deciding on the powerplant for your new car easy because there's only one engine available a state-of-the-art 2.2-litre common-rail, direct-injection turbodiesel engine developed jointly with PSA Peugeot Citroen and also used in the Citroen C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007.

In the Outlander, this four-cylinder unit puts out a healthy 154bhp and 280lb ft of torque enough to get it to the benchmark 62mph from standstill in 9.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 124mph with a official combined consumption of 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 189g/km.

As standard, the 2.2-litre turbodiesel is hooked up to a six-speed manual 'box but our test model was fitted with Mitsubishi's SST a twin-clutch, six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with Sport mode as well as shift paddles for full hands-on manual control.

SST is a clever piece of
kit that uses two
clutches, one to engage
the gear in use and the
other to pre-select
the next gear required,
which ensures that the
gear change takes place
instantaneously
...”
Fitted to some of Mitsubishi's performance cars, the SST is a clever piece of kit that uses two clutches, one to engage the gear in use and the other to pre-select the next gear required, which ensures that the gear change takes place instantaneously.

This technology not only saves on CO2 emissions but massively reduces power loss through the range. With no torque converter, this six-speed 'box is more efficient than a normal automatic. In use, gear shifts are smooth and fast plus there's no fuel penalty to speak of for going 'auto'.

The SST also happens to be an ideal match for the 2.2's muscular torque: thrust is strong and, particularly in Sport mode, the Outlander definitely feels 'up for it'. So no problems overtaking or keeping up with fast-moving traffic, either on B-roads or motorways. And although you can hear there's a diesel beneath the bonnet, it's never really intrusive and at cruising speeds it is quiet and refined in the cabin.

Mitsubishi has a long history of building get-you-there-whatever off-roaders and when you climb aboard the latest Outlander it's reassuring to know that its all-season ability is working for you every mile of every journey you make, whether you're venturing off the beaten track, driving on road in bad weather or towing.

Switching between the three distinct modes for the one that best suits the prevailing road and weather conditions is simply done using the rotary dial drivetrain selector positioned prominently between the front seats. The most frequent switching will be between front- and four-wheel drive.

This can be done on the fly with a twist of the knob. The choices are 2WD front-wheel drive (in normal driving conditions all torque is delivered to the front wheels for economy-biased everyday driving); and 4WD Auto, the best option for driving over unsurfaced roads (torque is instantly and effectively transferred to the wheels with the most grip up to a 70:30 front:rear split).

Worth mentioning is that 4WD Auto mode is also the preferred choice if you need to press on traction is better controlled because the instant the front tyres show any sign of losing maximum grip, power is sent to the rear wheels to rectify the situation. For the record, the Outlander's 4WD functionality is primarily intended to enhance active safety and on-road dynamics, as well as improve towing ability.

You get a fuss-free,
four-wheel-drive system
along with car-like
handling and plenty
of grip
...”
The third option, for more difficult off-road conditions and a reminder that you're driving a proper SUV, is 4WD Lock (torque is split up to 50:50 between front and rear axle as and when required).

What all this means in real-life is that you get a fuss-free, four-wheel-drive system along with car-like handling and plenty of grip. But make no mistake; this Outlander is more than capable of mixing it with nature even if the average buyer will not be going down that route.

That noted, the Outlander's proven off-road DNA doesn't mean that it rides as hard as a traditional mud-plugger. The suspension is firm-ish but mostly as a consequence of limiting on-road body roll — but it's well-judged and keeps on the comfort side of the ride / handling equation.

So who's going to buy an Outlander? Well, with seven seats and offering very good value for money, it's a sure bet it will principally appeal to families or those with family-oriented lifestyles and, given its off-road abilities and room for a pair of 26-inch mountain bikes, for those with a penchant for 'active' lifestyles. Whatever, with variable four-wheel drive, a handy split tailgate and flexible load space/seating, it's suitably tough and fit for purpose to have a foot in each camp.

Wherever you sit, the Outlander's roomy cabin is a comfortable place to be it's smart but without talking itself too seriously, and the mix of trim finishes and textures enhances the ambience. Plus there are numerous storage areas for the whole family's odds and ends. Particularly handy are the two gloveboxes; the top one, very conveniently, is cooled. Knurled rotary knobs with a nice crisp action control the fully automatic climate control which does a refreshingly chilly 'cool' when you need it. And with bright white graphics, the instruments are all easy to read.

Drivers will benefit from, and appreciate, the command driving position that affords an excellent view over the bonnet and to the sides and which makes the Outlander an easy vehicle to place on the road. The fascia is clearly laid out and the cabin is well stocked with enough kit to satisfy most owners including the usual 'must haves' such as leather upholstery, power windows (four one-shot auto up/down) and power-fold door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking), automatic climate control, privacy glass, 18-inch alloy wheels and Hill Start Assist.

There’s enough space
inside the Outlander
s
strapping bodywork
— underscored by
distinctive wheel arches
and fronted by
Mitsubishi
s family face
‘Jet-Fighter
grille —
for seven seats
...”
The semi-bucket front seats are well shaped and supportive with good bolstering both on the base and the backrest. Outer door-mounted armrests are wide and comfy and the centre front armrest caps a deep storage box.

The steering wheel only adjusts for height but the driver has manual seat height adjustment and a good driving position is easily arrived at. The in-car entertainment is sited centrally at the top of the dash, with large buttons for minimal distraction while driving; remote controls are also mounted on the steering wheel for the audio as well as the 'phone and cruise control.

There's definitely enough space inside the Outlander's strapping bodywork (underscored by distinctive wheel arches and fronted by Mitsubishi's family face 'Jet-Fighter' grille) for the seven seats even if the third row bench for two (folded out of the way into the floor when not in use) is best reserved for youngsters. That noted, for many owners the extra seating capacity is still a boon and makes the Outlander a convincing alternative to a people carrier.

The spacious second row seats are split 60:40 and feature adjustable backrests. They also power fold, flipping forward at the press of a small button in the boot a nice touch and it only takes three seconds. The resulting 1,691-litre load bay has the added advantage of providing a fully-flat floor. Loading cargo is easy thanks to a split tailgate, the lower section of which helpfully serves as a seat or impromptu table for outdoor trips and summer picnics.

The latest Outlanders utilise the platform that also underpins Mitsubishi's Lancer saloons and on the move the Outlander feels reassuringly secure and car-like. Yes there is some limited body roll through quick corners but for a high-riding compact SUV it's competent, good to drive and can be entertaining round the twisty stuff while remaining comfortable to travel in. Brakes are progressive and powerful there are discs all round; vented at the front and the meaty Continental Cross Contact tyres fitted to the seven-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels do a decent job for both comfort and grip.

Reasons to buy an Outlander will, justifiably, centre around its roominess, load space, equipment levels, off-road capability and car-like manners. And, of course, its ability to do all of the above while transporting you and your entire clan!
MotorBar

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D Juro SST
| 27,199
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 34.7mpg
Power: 154bhp | Torque: 280lb ft | CO2 189g/km