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Off the Beaten Path


The Mitsubishi Outlander, earlier known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek, first came into production in Japan in 2001. This SUV was unveiled for the first time at the North American International Auto Show 2001 as a concept named Mitsubishi ASX.

The second-generation Airtrek launched worldwide in 2005 was re-badged the ‘Outlander’.  The Outlander made its way into India in October 2008 after Mitsubishi had displayed the SUV at the 2008 Auto Expo in New Delhi. The Mitsubishi Outlander is based on the GS platform (Global platform) which is a  design developed jointly by Mitsubishi Motors and Daimler-Chrysler.


The Mitsubishi Outlander’s design is aggressive and appealing. The second-generation Airtrek was renamed ‘Outlander’ so that the vehicle had a common global name; however, the styling remains Japanese with a sleek front end and a very typical Japanese rear.

The front fascia of the Outlander looks bold with the dual-barrel clear lens HID headlights and the chrome-plated grille with the Mitsubishi monogram. The lower end of the front has circular fog lamps deep inside their slots and the meshed intake grille goes well with the honeycomb front grille above it.The high beltline and shallow greenhouse gives the Outlander a sturdy look. The swage line connects the front and rear fenders giving it the impression of body-coloured cladding. The thin shoulder line widens at the rear to mate with the thick C-pillar. From the side, the inclination of the greenhouse at the C-pillar which is identical to the inclination of the A-pillar and gives the Outlander its stance which cannot be seen in most of its competitors. The rear end of the Outlander looks aggressive with its integrated spoiler, the joint line coupled with the sharp undercut for the license plate and the blacked-out taillights. The Outlander sports Mitsubishi’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body structure, which scored a 6-star rating in the Japanese NCAP, which is the highest possible rating. To cut weight further, the Outlander gets an aluminum roof, which was earlier used in the UK-exclusive Mitsubishi LANCER EVOLUTION VIII MR (also known as the “Evo”).


Step into an Outlander and the black and silver instrument panel will catch your eye. The Outlander has ergonomically designed interiors, with plush black or beige leather seats, depending on the body colour. Our test car had black leather seats, which were soft and very comfortable.

The fit and finish of the instrument panel exudes quality and the chrome-finished Mitsubishi logo on the black steering wheel cannot be missed. The instrument cluster consists of an orange backlit digital display sandwiched between the two dials which displaces trip, odometer, ambient temperature, fuel gauge and the engaged gear. The Outlander’s centre console comes equipped with an integrated 9-speaker 6-CD changer Rockford-Fosgate audio system with additional controls mounted on the steering wheel, along with a 10-inch subwoofer and it produces high-quality sound. The entire edit team fell in love with this music system, which plays so loud and clear.

The Outlander has a climate-control system which can be operated by three knobs placed below the audio system. The high-speed blower and the powerful air-conditioning unit of the Outlander kept us insulated from temperatures above 35deg Celsius.

The Outlander has passive entry and passive start as a feature, and the driver doesn’t need to remove the key from his pocket or bag to open or turn the engine on. The driver has a motorized adjustable seat, telescopic steering and good front visibility with slim A-pillars and large side-view mirrors that help. However, the thick C-pillar and small rear glass reduce visibility at the rear, and the spread and reach of the HID headlamps was a little disappointing.

Climb into the back seats and you will find ample head and legroom. The Outlander can seat five occupants comfortably and there is abundant space in the boot for your luggage. With the 60:40 split rear seats, more luggage can be carried in the Outlander if required.Talking about safety, the Outlander being a CBU import, it gets all the safety features it possesses in other markets, which include two dual-stage front airbags, ABS with EBD, the RISE body and anti-pinch power windows.

Powertrain and Fuel Efficiency


The Mitsubishi Outlander is powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine (project name 4B12) which was a part of the World Engine project incorporated by Mitsubishi, Daimler Chrysler and Hyundai in 2005. The engine block and basic engine spares were developed jointly by the trio, however the valves and manifolds was designed by Mitsubishi. The 4B12 is a 16-valve, DOHC engine with MIVEC (Mitsubishi’s name for variable valve timing) producing 170bhp and a maximum torque of 226Nm@4100rpm. This powerplant has a die-cast aluminum block, plastic cylinder head cover and intake manifolds and stainless steel exhaust manifolds, which make the engine lighter by 16kg, improving performance and efficiency.

The Outlander’s engine is highly responsive, this can be felt if you the tap the throttle at any engine speed. The engine torque stays above 160Nm throughout the rev range. The engine is inherently quiet; the silent chain drive and compact balancer module add to the low vibrations. During low load conditions, the valve overlap (when both the intake and exhaust valves both are open) is eliminated to increase the efficiency and at high speeds, the intake valve timing is advanced (opens earlier) and the exhaust valve timing retarded (delayed) for better performance. At cruising speeds, the valve overlap duration is increased to reduce pumping losses and better fuel efficiency. During our test, the Outlander clocked 0-100kph in 11.5 seconds and the quarter-mile run took 18.3 seconds.

(The car wasn’t tested on our regular test patch, hence the performance figures could vary)


The Outlander’s engine powers the wheels through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), (project name: INVESC III). The INVESC III is a programmed transmission which shifts depending on the road conditions and driving style to achieve maximum fuel efficiency and performance. Prod the throttle and the CVT shifts at higher engine speeds; be gentle with the throttle, and it will shift up quicker. This CVT is unique in the sense that it has fake ratios engineered into it for normal use – in conjunction with the fixed paddles behind the steering wheel, it makes shifting gears a joy. However, plant your right foot, and it reverts to typical CVT behaviour – the engine will rev to peak power and stay there while the gearbox lengthens the gearing gradually. This can make overtaking manouevres a slower-than-expected affair – this is the only thing we did not like about this transmission.

In our 30-50kph test, the Outlander took 3.0 seconds and in the 50-70kph run, the Outlander took 3.8 seconds. The Outlander's four wheel drive can be engaged with the knob placed ahead of the gear lever. Turning it further right activates the differential locks.


Fuel efficiency

The Outlander's fuel economy is adequate considering it is a four-wheel drive SUV with an automatic transmission. We achieved 8kpl during the day that we had the car, but we'd love to spend some more time with it to put it through our regular cycle.

Ride & Handling, Steering

Ride & Handling, Steering

The Outlander sports struts at the front and a trailing arm and multiple links at the rear. The front stabilizers are attached to the struts and the long arms reduce roll angles, with the low profile 16” tyres that keep the car well planted and give the occupants a smooth ride at both low and high speeds.

The softly sprung design of the Outlander has monotube rear shocks which has relatively larger application area for the damper piston which doesn’t affect the handling of the car at higher speeds (which is normally a disadvantage of softer springs). The height of the Outlander contributes to some amount of body roll, however the roll can be easily tamed. The brakes on the Outlander further contribute to the confidence of the driver. During our braking test, the Outlander covered 34.3metres from 80kph before coming to a complete standstill.

The steering of the Outlander is light at low speeds, making parking convenient. The Outlander’s steering felt slack around the centre, however it was responsive around the corners. To our dismay, the accurate steering feels light at higher speeds which isn’t something that a driving enthusiast would want. The paddle shifts are handy but placing the paddles on the steering column isn’t a great idea, they'd have been more useful if attached to the steering wheel. The Outlander has a ground clearance of 215mm, but the approach angle, long wheelbase and low profile tyres make it more a soft-roader than a tough off-roader.


The Outlander is a CBU import, and as such it gets all the safety features it possesses in other markets, which include two dual-stage front airbags, ABS with EBD, the RISE body and anti-pinch power windows. The inner sides of the pillars have rib structures that absorb impact, to cushion occupants' heads in case of a collision. The Outlander's highest variants in Europe scored a 6-star rating in the J-NCAP ratings, which are ratings measured to Japanese specifications.

Overall Evaluation

The Outlander is the perfect car for India – it has enough ground clearance to go over speedbreakers with ease, enough power to satisfy the driver, and handles like a car, not an SUV. The four-wheel drive means that monsoons and gravel paths can be dealt with, as can city traffic with the automatic transmission. That most important of accessories, the audio system, surpasses all expectations, and there is nothing wrong with the Outlander, except the fact that it is a petrol-powered SUV. Honda has had no problems selling its CR-V, but Mitsubishi is a niche player, and to get bigger numbers, they will have to resort to lowering either the sticker price of 21.5 lakh or providing a diesel engine as an option. At the price, there are better products to choose from, so this is for the Mitsubishi enthusiast, or for the person who wants to stand out.


Test Data

Engine Specifications

2360cc, four cylinders in line petrol. 168bhp@6000rpm and 226Nm@4100rpm. View specifications

Speedo Error

Speedo Reading (kph) Actual Speed (kph)
40  39.1
60  59.0
80  78.7
100  98.2
120  --
140  --

Max in Gear*

Gear Speed (kph)
1st  --
2nd  --
3rd  --
4th  --
5th  --
6th  --

Performance Test Data

Top Speed** --
0-60kph  5.7sec
0-100kph  11.5sec
Quarter Mile (402m)  18.3sec@129.2kph
Braking 80-0kph  3.0m@34.3m
30-50kph in 3rd*  3.0sec
30-50kph in 4th*  --
50-70kph in 5th*  3.8sec

Fuel Efficiency

  City Highway Overall Worst
Mileage (kpl)  --  --
 8  --


*CVT transmission has no true ratios

**Test conditions did not allow for a top speed attempt


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