It’s big, tough, brash, in a manly way – but hand the keys of Mitsubishi’s Outlander 4x4 to a young mum or a little old lady and neither would be overawed.
Here’s a car that really is for every driver in the family. The kids will love it too and so will those farmers and builders who need a vehicle that will double for those fabled social, domestic and pleasure needs as well being a reliable workhorse.
Unlike others of its ilk, the third generation Outlander doesn’t look liked it’s a van with windows tacked on as an afterthought – in fact it is rather a handsome beast – nor does it drive like a commercial.
Yes, given its generous road clearance, tall windscreen and high stance, it rolls a little more than the average family saloon but the roadholding and handing is exemplary, even over twisting lanes and in the city maelstrom. And it is pretty good off-roading too, with a tough suspension that soaks up the lumps and bumps.
Just shy of a million Outlanders have been sold worldwide since introduction back in 2001 and Mitsubishi have high hopes for what they aver is the safest most environmentally friendly version yet.
The new car has been designed from the ground up to accommodate the latest hybrid plug-in technology.
Under the bonnet there’s a choice of just one when it comes to engine and that’s a highly economical 2.2 litre diesel unit, offering class-leading low emissions.
The maker reckons there’s an Outlander to suit most drivers and high spec levels help the car’s wide-ranging appeal. Even the entry level model comes with seven air bags, automatic lighting, cruise control, air-conditioning, city crash provision and hill-start assist while at the top end of the range you will find adaptive cruise control, a forward collision mitigation system and a powered tailgate, providing easy access to a big, flat load area.
A full 100 kg lighter than its predecessor, and the same weight as a BMW 1 Series, the Outlander is now also a lot quicker than before, its 10.2 seconds 0-62 mph acceleration time being faster than that posted by a 1.6 VW Golf TDI while it sits in the same tax band as a 1.4 petrol VW Polo.
Purchasing is relatively easy on the pocket too, with prices kicking in at just under £22,000.
My experience with the car was a pleasantly embracing one – the Outlander manages to be versatile and reliable while never losing that little hint of edge that brings a glint to the driver’s eye. It’s less than half the price of a Range Rover but in many ways a more complete and satisfying package.