Having tested the Outlander PHEV not long ago I was very interested to get the keys to the Outlander Aspire diesel as apart from the engine it is pretty much the same so it was good for me to get a good comparison between the two power plants.
I do like the look of the Outlander the frontend seems to be a more modern take on the Mitsubishi family design style.
The open lower grille with fog lights, the thin chromed grilled in between the Hid head light complete with day time running lights at the front and clear lensed tail lights give the Otulander decent loks, the 18inch Alloys are one of the best factory done rims that I’ve seem and really set this car off specially with the wonderful Metallic red paint work which to me looks good in any light but is specially good looking in bright sunlight.
Stepping inside though I was a touch under whelmed, the interior is well set out and very functional to me but to me it doesn’t seem as modern looking as some of its competitors.
The leather bound steering wheel is comfortable to hold and has buttons for the Cruise, audio system, voice recognition and blue tooth.
The instrument panel is well set up and easy to read in any light there is a colour LCD screen in between the dials that can display various vehicle functions.
There is a simulated carbon fibre looking strip across the dash which did like and breaks up the expanse of the black dash.
The centre stack is home to the MMCS system with a 7 inch touch allows you to control access various settings and functions including the Bluetooth, phone, audio system and Sat Nav.
While relatively easy to use the system to me has a few annoying traits that I feel leaves it behind other system available in other brands.
Now one of my biggest bug bears was the fact you choose music or enter things into the Sat Nav while the car is moving. I understand this to stop drivers from being distracted while driving.
But it also stops your front seat passenger from doing anything while the car is moving as well, which meant I had to pull over and stop and wait for a stoppage in traffic so my passenger could search for a song or to enter a destination so it was a bit of a pain.
The system does also offer full Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognigtion which proved easy to use only took 20 odd seconds to connect my phone.
The MMCS also allows you to adjust all the settings on the vehicle as well as access a very handy ECO screen which not only tells you what your current fuel economy is but also gives you both a short and long history of it as well.
The seats are reasonably comfortable but I thought they were a touch short in the seat base so after a couple of driving my legs were sore when I got out. The back seat is comfortable and offered decent enough leg room my teenagers didn’t complain about it.
The boot space is good for its class but you do loose a lot of it with the 3rd rows seats up but that’s the same for most 7 seats SUV’s.
Under the bonnet this Outlander was powered by a 2.0L Turbo Diesel pushing out 125kw and 350Nm of Torque.
Like a lot of diesel engines there is a lack of go off the mark but it does get along rather smartly once it gets going. The Outlander has a switch able ECO mode which does make a difference in fuel economy when engaged but I did however find that when in ECO mode the Outlander felt very sluggish off the mark.
Although once you get going it will easily keep up with traffic and then some, economy around town was 12L/100km very reasonable for the bumper to bumper traffic and on the freeway it got down to 6.8L/100.
The petrol model Outlanders have a CVT transmission but thank god Mitsubishi saw the light (I hate CVTs) and put a rather nice conventional 6 speed auto in the diesel models.
The auto seems well matched to the diesel engine and the shifts were rather smooth, there are 2 paddles behind the steering wheel allwos you to change gears for yourself if you want to.
Ride wise I found the Outlander extremely comfortable to drive the ride is very compliant absorbing a lot of the bumps, the steering is not quite as sharp as some cars I’ve driven, there is some lean going around corners at highway speeds but its not enough to be off putting. When you look at though it’s not a sports so you shouldn’t expect it to handle like one.
The Outalnder Aspire also comes with Mitsubishi’s excellent Electronic Control 4WD system which has 3 different modes which are accessed via a console button.
1st mode and the one I spent most of the time driving around in is the 4WD ECO mode which is basically as it suggests the most fuel efficient mode, in normal conditions it uses 2wd powering the front wheels but it can switch to 4wd depending on the conditions.
I didn’t get much of chance to test the other two 4wd modes so I’m going to paraphrase Mitsubishi.
2nd mode is the 4WD AUTO which is the Normal mode it will sense the conditions such as dry asphalt roads, wet roads and snowy roads. In addition to heightened drive power in slippery conditions, the system makes turning easier.
3rd mode is 4WD LOCK which is for High ground covering ability This mode excels when driving on bad roads and even escaping when the vehicle is stuck. Even on normal roads, this mode provides traction driving of all 4-wheels from low speeds to high speeds.
Safety wise the Outlander Aspire is packed full of gear including, Driver & front passenger front & side airbags, Curtain airbags, Driver knee airbag, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Power brake booster with emergency brake assist system, Active Stability Control (ASC), Active Traction Control (ATC).
Hill Start Control (HSC), ISO-Fix child seat mountings, Forward Collision Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Reverse parking sensors and it scores bonus points for having a Reverse camera.
So After a week with the Outlander Aspire I came away liking it, it’s a nice comfortable car to drive and ride in has plenty of room for the family, is well equip and chockfull of safety which is important, the diesel engine can be rather frugal and the transmission is nice and smooth.
The only thing I wasn’t too kean on was the MMCS system while sound ios good from the audio I think the MMCS is behind a lot of other systems on the market.
All and all if you are looking for a decent size 7 seat SUV then you should put the Outlander Aspire on your list and take a close look at it.
For full details on Mitsubishi s full range of vehicles check out their website http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/