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Winter has arrived, there’s a good smattering of frost and ice in the early morning and it seems to get much darker much earlier. This is the time of year when 4x4s really come into their own.
So no better time then to be testing the second generation Mitsubishi Outlander – the third generation was launched in March 2012. Externally I actually prefer this earlier model if for no other reason than the chrome edging around the grille, which has been removed on the latest version.
It’s not the most attractive off-roader on the market but its distinctive design is certainly memorable. There’s a good high up driving position and it will easily transport seven adults in comfort across three rows of seats (third row in the large boot as you can see in the video at testdrives.biz) over all manner of terrain without a complaint.
Inside, the dashboard seems a little stark and minimal, which is actually quite refreshing in this day and age when manufacturers seem to include as many buttons as they possibly can. Even so, equipment levels are high and the heated front seats are greatly appreciated by both my wife and I during the severe cold spell when the test takes place. There’s hardwearing leather upholstery and the front seats are electrically adjustable, too. The six-speed automatic gearbox is generally easy to use although I must confess that when I first parked up I could not work out why the key would not come out of the ignition. After five minutes of head scratching I finally realised that the Mitsubishi required me to place the gearbox in park mode. I had left it in drive. If drivers prefer the fun of a manual box then the auto unit can be used like this or there’s the addition of paddle shifts either side of the steering wheel, for a similar experience. This helps get the most from the engine and helps combat the delay experienced when setting off in automatic mode.
Parkers, the car experts, say: “The second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander is the best car the Japanese company has produced in years. Nearly all models come with seven seats, making it a good choice for larger families, while the interior is well built and durable. The extra seats are also very cramped and offer little comfort. The Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the better compact SUVs to drive, even though it also offers more than a modicum of off-road ability. It has responsive handling and accurate steering, and it keeps the body under control when cornering.”
The Outlander is just the ticket for a family that demands more than just a runabout.