Sprint Review: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.5 Aspire

Many moons ago, the first (local) Mitsubishi Outlander left a lasting impression on me; mostly due to its rubbery gearbox and thunderous Rockford-Fosgate sound system. Has any of that changed with this new one?

You should know: Like its notable ancestor, this 2023 Outlander is a medium-sized SUV with unique looks, decent tech and a slightly out-dated drive-train. Unlike its forebear though, this one has to somehow make its mark in a runaway avalanche of new SUV’s. And, to a degree, it manages to do that.

More info: First and foremost, it pains me to tell you that there is no more branded subwoofer to be found. Is that a bad thing? Perhaps for an audiophile like me, but you probably shouldn’t buy a car just because its speakers can humble a taxi. And to be honest, most new vehicles have pretty impressive audio systems these days.

Why you shouldn’t: If you buy a vehicle because you enjoy driving, or like carving up curvy roads in a spirited manner, stay far away from the new Outlander. That’s because – insert horror violin noises here – it still has the rubbery CVT with essentially one gear, although the manufacturer claims that it has six. Step ratios, probably.

On top of that, the stretchy box of gears is linked to a – sharp intake of breath – naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder petrol engine. And now that the boy racers have left our chat, I can tell you that it’s actually not a bad drive train combination. Old fashioned, yes, but extremely smooth and fairly responsive near sea level.

What else? Mitsubishi’s specs allege around 183hp but no performance figures. Fear not, we were happy to test them and got a best 0-100km/h time of 9.9 seconds. Not too shabby, in our books. Braking from 100km/h took 3.22 seconds (and 42.48m), average fuel use is 8.1L/100km (we got a decent 9.8) and the tank holds 55L.

Although the body is fairly long to accommodate those two extra seats, ground clearance is acceptable and the trick 4WD system offers amazing options for a bit of soft-roading, kerb crawling or winter weather safety.

And like all Japanese premium products, the space-age toys are included in the price of about R790,000.

Why you should: I’m not going to champion the Outlander’s modern gadgets, great safety features, seven seats or amazing all-wheel drive system because, umm, you can find that elsewhere. However, it’s not exactly a dominant combination, or comes with bulky bakkie-based bodies, so this Mitsubishi could be the clever 7-seater you’re looking for.

Each new Outlander is sold with a 3-year/100,000km warranty and 5-year/90,000km service plan.

FULL SPECLIST

Engine:2.5L i-4 petrol
Transmission:8-speed CVT, AWD
Max. Power:135kW @ 6,000rpm
Max. Torque:245Nm @ 3,600rpm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 8.1L/100km
0-100km/h:9.87 seconds
Top Speed:No claim  
List Price:R789,995

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