Mitsubishi Outlander Review
According to the Internet, the Outlander moniker is expected to evoke a “feeling of journeying to distant unexplored lands in search of adventure.” In a sense, going into the wilderness, like a missionary on a mission to spread the good word to uninformed heathens.
You could also be a pillaging pirate come to relieve natives of jewellery and other dear possessions. The main thing is that you would be engaging in a spot of adventuring. Which is why I was a bit at odds when I found myself at the helm of a 2010 grey Mitsubishi Outlander.
The journey ahead was, save for a few hundred metres, on smooth tarmac. I was not on a pillaging or preaching spree to unexplored lands, but rather to visit a relative’s soon to be in-laws to negotiate a marriage transaction. I had avoided involvement in the matter until the best excuse left was that I was to shave my imaginary dog.
The face has been transplanted off the Lancer, making it more car-like with fewer rugged SUV cues and sporting the shark-like and “jet fighter” snout inherited from the Evo.
This shark-like nose is not without purpose as the now slipperier face enables it cut through the air with less resistance. A reworked mesh grille, a new rear fascia, redesigned bonnet and fenders all add to the aerodynamic enhancements. Along the sides it looks even classier with side sill extensions finished in chrome.
The end result is a car that’s easy on the eyes and seems to be right at home in the leafier suburbs of Nairobi as well as the dust covered outdoors. Inside you’re welcomed by lots of dull hard plastic interrupted by some soft touch materials and chrome inserts here and there. The driver’s seat is comfortable.
The ride position is commanding, giving you a wonderful view of the road and over shorter cars. The 2010 outlander optimistically, and needlessly, comes with three rows of sitting but the third would only be practical if you sawed off your children’s legs.
Thankfully, both second and third rows can fold flat, giving you lots of continuous cargo room. The second row, although a bit thinner and less comfortable than the first, can slide fore and aft and recline for added comfort.
How good this is depends on what engine you have underneath. The ES and SE models boast a 2.4-litre mated to a CVT automatic gearbox. Even though I haven’t driven one I recommend avoiding them.
Due to the unique manner our second-hand market operates, most dealers will have stocked it and cunningly priced it at around 2 million a pop. This is a hefty sum, more wisely spent on the XLS or GT models.
These come with an enthusiastic 3.0-litre, V6 that makes use of a 6-speed automatic that sends 220 horsepower to the wheels. Depending on your luck again, this could either be to the front or all four. Under other circumstances I would recommend the 4-wheel drive, which generously comes with a centre-locking differential but there’s really no need.
The Super-All Wheel Control available in the GT is borrowed from the rally stage munching Evo but it’s completely unnecessary when you consider that the idea of roughing it up for crossovers in general is going to the new shopping mall outside town. The steering wheel mounted paddles make for smooth, easy shifting and give you the sense that you’re driving something more exotic and expensive.
The front wheels are very grippy in the corners and the steering wheel is as communicative as an overly excited girlfriend. The shocks do a wonderful job keeping you comfortable on smooth tarmac but the ride gets quite choppy and firm on rough patches and those insufferable rumble strips.
The long and short of it?
The 2010 Outlander is a well-equipped alternative to the Honda CR-V, Nissan X-trail, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota Rav-4. All Outlanders come with front side airbags, side curtain bags covering the first two rows, front active headrests, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes. It drives better than the Honda CRV and wins the beauty contest by a landslide.
This is a car that convincingly argues the case for crossovers, as long as you get the one with the V6 and those swanky paddle shifters. It also just happens to be the right car to go negotiate for a bride in. It doesn’t look too showy which helped the groom’s case, and comes standard with a faint whiff of maturity and fertility.
Author: Stephen Mbuthi
This article was first published on The People Daily