So, Mitsubishi has woke up again from dormancy and has imported two Outlanders to India for homologation. As we have seen before, such efforts usually mean that the model is a few months away from launch. While it is true that Mitsubishi’s plans for India has mostly been stagnant for a while, this 2016 Outlander and the third generation Pajero Sport, which is expected to make its way to India, should give the company some much needed relevance in the SUV market.
This 2016 Outlander is one generation ahead of the last Outlander which was sold here, and what we are going to get is the facelifted version. So, although this is a 4 year old platform, the facelift – which follows Mitsubishi’s new design language – masks its age well. It actually looks like a Jeep Grand Cherokee from the rear, but it is not that long, and is definitely not competing against one. The Honda CR-V is what future buyers might cross-shop it with.
Abroad, there is choice of two engines for the Outlander, a 2.4-litre inline-four and a 3.0-litre V6. Do not get your hopes up, since it is four pot petrol which are going to get here. While 165 bhp and 22.3 kgm doesn’t sound all that bad, when you consider that the Outlander weighs 1.7 tonnes AND the gearbox is a CVT, performance is not the Outlander will be known for. For what it is worth, the Outlander will come with paddle-shifts as standard, though. However, Mitsubishi petrols do carry along a reputation, of the good kind, especially if the engine comes with the ‘MIVEC’ acronym, like this 2.4-litre does. Infact, these are so good, that Mitsubishi is handing out a 10 year/ 160,000 km warranty on the powertrain. There is a diesel also in the global Outlander range, and rumour has it that Mitsubishi will launch an Outlander diesel later. While it comes with a useful 215 mm ground clearance, it is to be seen if Mitsubishi launches it with the optional all-wheel-drive system, which shares some of the components with the Lancer Evo AWD system. Yaw Control and all.
The interiors. Again, although they are a few years behind the latest designs, it certainly doesn’t look old. It is a simple design and logically laid out. Being a Mitsubishi, the quality of materials used should be beyond question, but even then, technologically, all that we have come to accept in modern cars, is there. There is the large touchscreen infotainment system in the middle, which is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system; there is dual zone climate control and eight-way power adjustable seats. Remember the old Outlander’s Rockford Fosgate branded audio system? Well the higher variant’s of this one also gets one those too. Considering that was the one thing previous owners loved to talk about their Outlanders, they must have been pretty good sound systems.
There is a lot of space inside too. The Outlander is a seven seater, and even with the last row in use, there is 291 litres of luggage space behind it. Of course, the last row and the second row of seats can lay flat down to create lots more space.
Where the Outlander can stand against anyone in this segment is its list of safety equipment. It gets blind spot warning, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and headlights which automatically switch between high and low beam. Inclusion of other features like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning are a bit iffy to Indian variants, because they involve the use of a radar, which even though who’s ban has been lifted by Indian authorities, are not expected to make its way here because of cost.
So, should the prospect of a new Outlander pique your interest? It should. While everything else in this segment looks like has overdosed on steroids, the Outlander looks a bit restrained. Attractive, even. The interiors are spacious, are made of good quality materials and lacks not much (if any) it terms of features. The engine is reliable, proven and with the MIVEC valve timing tech giving it some sporty credentials. And of course, you can always boast about your ‘Rockford Fosgate’ sound system, if everything else fails to impress. While the world rushing (or rather, is going to rush) to buy Fortuners, why not buy an Outlander, instead? Price? Service centres? SHOWROOMS? Mitsubishi, are you listening?