ROAD TEST TEST DRIVE by gyvwpsjkko


									 x                 TEST TEST
                   ROAD DRIVE
  xplore 2 2007


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                  The new face of
         compact suvs
                            Mitsubishi’s new Outlander is
                            busy redefining the
                            compact SUV market with its
                            blend of unpretentious crea-
                            ture comforts,
                            rock- solid road holding
                            and heart-thumping
                            performance. Cameron
                            Ewart-Smith puts it to the test.

                                t’s been said people buy SUVs because they
                                can, there’s no rationale behind the purchase
                                nor concern for the environment. It’ indulgence,
                            pure and simple. Until recently I’d been half
                            convinced by these arguments. That is until
                            Mitsubishi Motors South Africa launched its new,
                            third-generation Outlander.
                                  Now here’s the challenge this vehicle presents
                            to the sceptics. The Outlander offers spectacular
                            versatility, increased occupant safety, more space
                            and mighty sprightly performance – as well as
                            some indulgence when it comes to comfort. But,
                            importantly, its features don’t come at a dire cost
                            either on the pocket or the environment. The new
                            Outlander has been awarded a four-star grading
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                            for emissions and qualifies for a Green Vehicle
                            Tax Exemption in the Japanese market by return-
                            ing fuel consumption that is five percent lower
                            than 2010 efficiency requirements.


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                        A dedicated remote card
                        allows you to manually
                        lock and unlock doors.
                        Alternatively, simply having
                        the remote on your person
                        allows you to open the
                        locked car by tugging on
                        the chromed door handle
                        twice in succession.

                       The exterior
                       I think the European-inspired design is striking
                       and whereas certain reviewers have been
                       lukewarm about the vehicle’s look, most of
                       the ‘regular’ folk I’ve chatted to have raved
                       about the sleek lines, aggressive front end
                       and distinctive interior styling.
                             The most obvious departure from previous
                       models is the size. The overall length is 4.64
                       metres, which makes it slightly longer than
                       most of its rivals, while the width has been
                       stretched to 1.8 metres. This makes the vehicle
                       a roomy five-seater.
                             While the vehicle has grown in size it
                       has maintained a low-slung attitude, with an
                       overall height of 1.68 metres at its highest
                       point. Combined with its generous track and
                       a general weight redistribution inspired by the
                       Dakar-winning Pajeros, this gives the vehicle a
                       low centre of gravity, making it particularly agile
                       in cornering and offering fantastic road holding.
                             The front of the vehicle is distinctive with
                       its raked upper grille and prominent diamond
                       logo. An integrated headlight cluster, which
                       wraps around onto the fender, adds to the
                       stylish good looks while allowing the indicators
                       to be visible from both the front and sides.
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                       The lamps themselves are protected by poly-
                       carbonate lenses. A sculptured bumper flows
                       around the nose to meet the wheel arches,
                       while below this a skid plate cleans the airflow


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                             Mitsubishi’s new Outlander features sleek
                             lines that are sure to turn heads. But, impor-
                             tantly, these good looks don’t compromise
                             the off-road abilities of this class-leading
                             compact SUV and there is more than
                             enough grunt under the bonnet to tackle
                             moderate off-road conditions such as
                             launching your boat (previous page centre).
                             Outlander is as happy in the sticks as it is
                             in the office parking lot (above).

                         under the body and protects the nose when
                         approaching obstacles. Five-spoke alloy wheels
                         are standard, supporting 215/70/18 tyres.
                              One feature I’ve particularly grown to like
                         is the keyless entry and ignition. A dedicated
                         remote card allows you to manually lock and
                         unlock doors. Alternatively, simply having the
                         remote on your person allows you to open the
                         locked car by tugging on the chromed door
                         handle twice in succession.
                              “I’d never use that,” I hear you say. Well,
                         ordinarily, I’d have agreed, except that I’ve been
                         doing all the shopping in our household recently
                         and not digging for keys when you’re loaded
                         with shopping bags has distinct advantages in
                         a wet Cape winter.
                              While we’re on the subject of loading and
                         unloading … another well thought through
                         feature is the split tailgate. The split is a little
                         way under the glass, so opening just the
                         upper level is practical for 90% of loading and
                         unloading. If you have a heavy box, however,
                         lowering the tailgate is a boon as Mitsubishi
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                         have incorporated a set of plastic ‘runners’,
                         which fit seamlessly with the interior, making it
                         easy to slide your load in and out.


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                       The interior
                       Many people consider the sound system a triviality,
                       but when you test drive the new Outlander you
                       too will be blown away by the 650 Watt Rockford
                       Fosgate entertainment centre. This features a
                       built-in, six-CD changer that also accommodates
                       MP3s on CD-R discs. Now I have to admit I’m no
                       boom-box flunky, but every now and again I love
                       to let it rip while I’m driving. You know, middle of
                       the Karoo, middle of the night type stuff when you
                       crank it up and let the jackals draai…
                            At the launch of the new Outlander (at the
                       swanky Tinga private lodge in the Kruger National
                       Park) one of the engineers from Rockford Fosgate
                       explained how this system has been specifically
                       engineered to ensure optimum listening quality
                       inside the Outlander. It’s apparently the first such
                       system to be tailor made for a vehicle and is sure
                       to get the competition thinking.
                            But I digress. When Mitsubishi began thinking
                       about the new generation Outlander, one of its
                       goals was to design a vehicle that was not only
                       best in its class in terms of space and versatility,
                       but which would have a distinct upmarket feel. A
                       boxer above his weight, so to speak. On the whole
                       they’ve achieved their goal.
                            The interior is well appointed and thought
                       through. The dash features analogue speed and
                       rev counter dials with a sophisticated digital display
                       between them. This gives you two trip counters,
                       distance to next refuelling, current average fuel
                       consumption and average speed, instantaneous
                       consumption, distance to next service and more.
                       Unfortunately, the clock is situated on the audio
                       display in the centre of the dash and isn’t that
                       easy to see, which some may find irksome.
                            The electronic driver’s seat can accommodate
                       almost any driving position imaginable and the
                       seat warmers (fitted standard) on both front seats
                       are cosy on chilly mornings. The air conditioner is
                       controlled through dials which do take some get-
                       ting used to, but once you have it, it’s a breeze.
                            The rear seats are split 60:40 and can recline
                       for maximum passenger comfort. If not in use,
                       they can be folded away with ease if you’re loaded.
                       The larger side of the split contains a built-in arm
                       rest with integral cup holders, while there is plenty
                       of stowage space in the doors and in the pouches
                       behind the front seats.
                            Even with all seats in use and the rear seats
                       reclined there is ample packing space – roughly
                       774 litres (882 litres if the rear seats are upright).
                       With the rear seats folded away you have an
                       impressive 1 691 litres of utility space available
                            Nice touches that give you that more-car-
                       for-the-price feel are the electric sunroof, two-tier
                       glove compartment with a cooling/heating slot
                       for drinks, a tilting steering wheel, sunglass case
                       in roof and extra stowage in the dash. As you’d
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                       expect on a luxury vehicle, all windows are elec-
                       tric and the wing mirrors are adjusted from the
                       driver’s door handle.


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                                                                                                    Previous page top left: Bold wheel
                                                                                                  arches house handsome five-spoke
                                                                                                             alloy wheels (215/70/18).
                                                                                                       Previous top centre: Built-in roof
                                                                                                 racks and an electric sunroof is fitted
                                                                                                    standard. on all SA-bound models.
                                                                                                   Top right: A spacious boot incorpo-
                                                                                                rates the dedicated Rockford Fosgate
                                                                                                    sound system sub-woofer and still
                                                                                                   has loads of stowage space for all
                                                                                                    your clobber (previous middle left).
                                                                                                      Previous middle right: Rear seat
                                                                                                 comfort is ensured with reclining rear
                                                                                                  seats, a centre arm rest with built in
                                                                                                                           cup holders.
                                                                                                Below: The option of 4x4 increases
                                                                                                road holding and safety on slippery
                                                                                                              roads in wet conditions.
                                                                                                     Previous bottom left: ThThe new
                                                                                                    Outlander features moulded bum-
                                                                                                pers and an intelligent split rear door
                                                                                                                  making loading easy.
                                                                                                     Previous bottom right: The new
                                                                                                outlander has a stylish interior with an
                                                                                                             intuitive dashboard layout.

           The engine and transmission
           The new Outlander is powered by an all aluminium 2,4-litre 16-valve MIVEC
           petrol engine. This is paired with a six-speed automatic constantly variable
           transmission (CVT), which has a manual override for control freaks.
                This is my first real experience with a CVT on a long test (for a full expla-
           nation of CVT turn to page 25). Initially, I was sceptical and voiced concerns
           about the fuel efficiency and general wear and tear of a high revving engine,
           but the folks in Mitsubishi engineering and technical departments assure me
           this technology really is the future and that my concerns were unfounded.
           Indeed, the engine delivers fantastic fuel efficiency and is clean burning,
           receiving an impressive Four-Star emission grading, as I mentioned earlier.
                Driving a CVT does take some getting used to as there’s no gear shock
           as the gears change – in fact this engine’s revs climb to 6 000 rpm and stay
           there until your foot comes off the accelerator at the required speed. This
           makes for incredibly smooth take offs, so much so that CVT technology has
           been banned by Formula 1 as it made vehicles too quick.
                Mitsubishi’s All-Wheel-Control-System forged in the deserts of the
           Dakar Rally makes this a very capable ‘soft roader’; while on-road safety is
           increased on dirt and in wet conditions. Unlike many of its competitors, a
           two-wheel drive option is possible with all its added benefits in terms of fuel
           consumption etc. When road conditions get tricky, the driver has a choice of
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           automatic four-wheel drive or four-wheel drive lock – changed using the dial
           located next to the gear shift. In auto the vehicle changes the power ratio
           to front and back wheels as traction changes and conditions dictate, while
           in four-wheel drive lock the power is apportioned in a constant 50:50 ratio
           between front and rear wheels.


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                       The safety
                                                                            Model                                                     OUTLANDER 2.4L GLS MIVEC AWD
                                                                            Maximum output                                            125 kW @ 6000 rpm
                                                                            Maximum torque                                            226 N.m-1 @ 4 100 rpm
                       Although tacked on last in this review, ultimately   Economy                                                   10.16 (City Cycle) 10.48@120km, 8.75@100km
                       this is one of the vehicle’s biggest attractions     Fuel tank capacity                                        60 litres
                       for me, being a new father. Where previously I       Overall height                                            1 680mm
                       hared around the place in anything on wheels,        Overall length                                            4 640mm
                                                                            Overall width                                             1800mm
                       I have become quite circumspect since the            Ground clearance                                          210mm
                       arrival of my son. This makes Mitsubishi’s           Wheelbase                                                 2 670mm
                       continued efforts to increase both passive and       Gross vehicle weight                                      2 060kg
                       active safety features on its vehicles attractive.   Seating capacity                                          5 persons
                                                                            Power steering
                            What is not easily noticeable on this           Tilt steering
                       new Outlander is the strategically placed            Minimum turning radius                                    5.3 metres
                       high-tensile steel reinforcements that have          Door mirror, colour-key: electronic folding function
                       dramatically strengthened the cabin, helping         Colour-key bumper
                                                                            2nd row forward flat folding function
                       ensure occupant safety during collisions. Front      Height adjustable driver’s seat
                       and side curtain airbags are standard, helping       60:40 split seat back
                       prevent injury during the unthinkable. ISOFIX        Day-and-night rearview mirror
                       attachment points are fitted for compatible          Automatic air conditioner
                                                                            Front and rear power windows with anti-trapping feature
                       child car seats, enabling you to hard-wire your      (One touch up/down controlled from driver side)
                       infant to the structure of the car.                  Keyless entry with independent start switch
                            But there is more to safety than making         Glove box cooling & warming storage function
                       a safe cabin. Mitsubishi is ensuring continual       Accessory 12V socket
                                                                            Illuminated ignition switch
                       engineering refinements in terms of active           Central power locks (5 doors)
                       stability control, ABS brakes with electronic        Alarm/immobiliser
                       brake distribution help prevent collisions, while    ABS with EBD/brake assist
                       the ability to use all-wheel-drive when the road     Driver and passanger SRS dual-stage airbags
                                                                            Active stability control
                       conditions deteriorate is a distinct advantage.      Traction control
                                                                            Rockford Fosgate CD/MP3 player, 9-speaker-sound
                                                                            Warranty - standard                                       2 year / 100 000 km
                                                                            Maintenaace                                               3 years / 60 000 km
                                                                            Service intervals                                         15 000 km

                       The conclusion
                       This vehicle will suit families or couples with a
                       penchant for the outdoors as it has loads of
                       space for your kids and your clobber. And the
                       price won’t starve your child’s university fund
                       (or get in the way of your well-earned over-
                       seas holiday plans for that matter).
                            In creating the new Outlander, Mitsubishi
                       set out to completely rethink the Outlander
                       brand. Their intention was to combine an
                       exciting drive and undeniably stylish look with
                       pleasure-rendering utility. To this end they’ve
                       got it spot on. The only real problem I had with
                       the vehicle was handing in the keys when the
                       test was over. x
  xplore 2 2007


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