Tuesday – Comfort Rather Than Speed

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Jeremy The first test car anybody tried to steal from outside my house in Bristol was a Mitsubishi Evo. It was the early 1990s and the Evo was the ultimate chav-mobile but it went rather fast.

Sadly, I don’t think Mitsubishi will be offering an engine quite as potent in the Outlander. The 2.2 diesel is perfectly adequate for the job and will shunt you and your family around in a respectable 0-60mph time of 11.2 seconds. We’re currently averaging 39.2mpg for everyday driving but the official mpg figure is more like 49mpg.

I can’t really say the Outlander will blow you away with its driving dynamics but you do get a comfortable seat and low noise levels in the cabin. The ride is softer than most other mid-size SUVs but you should expect some body roll going into a corner.

The six-speed automatic gearbox is smooth but still prefers high-speed work to stop-start city traffic, where it feels less refined. Our GX5 is also fitted with a sunroof which left open, is very noisy indeed above 40mph.

Oh and the only test car that was ever stolen from my driveway was a Ford Sierra Cosworth. The police knew where it was but simply couldn’t catch it…

Monday – Pretty On The Outside

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Jeremy If I had to choose a small SUV on style alone, then the Kia Sportage would be top choice. The Honda CR-V now has the blandest backside in motoring history and I wasn’t too sure about the Outlander when it arrived either.

Then something happened. I took ten paces backwards and suddenly the Mitsubishi became a vehicle transformed. It’s as dull as a block of butter close up but this is a vehicle that needs a little space to be appreciated.

The slippery shape isn’t that different to many an SUV on the market but the new Outlander nose gives it something extra. It looks especially good with privacy glass too.

So it’s a shame the interior is less impressive. The centre console housing the automatic gearstick looks like it could have come from a Mitsubishi utility vehicle and is totally out of place in a £34k family car.

Mitsubishi need to look at a Land Rover Freelander. Fixtures and fittings are important and the Outlander lacks the finish to put it in this price bracket.

 

 

Sunday – The Dearly Departed

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Jeremy I was taught that using the indicator was unnecessary unless another motorist was likely to benefit. Why distract yourself if no other vehicles is around? Our Outlander has a ‘lane departure warning systems‘ (or LDW in this case) which sounds an alert every time you cross or clip a white line.

It’s a safety device that has been around for years on some premium brand models. For example, my 2008 BMW 635d used an even more dramatic warning – it would make the steering wheel vibrate, which I found pretty unsettling at times!

Mitsubishi has fitted a bell chime and it’s infuriating, unless you know where to find the button to switch it off (it’s above your right knee). I’ll hold my hand up and admit that on duel carriageways and motorways, I don’t always indicate to change lanes because nobody is behind or in front of me. And yes, on some open corners I might even  clip the white line. That said, I am fully aware that I’m doing it and don’t need an alarm to put me back on the straight and narrow.

We took the Outlander to the hell that is Ikea yesterday. Now that is a place where LDW would come in very handy, especially if you are trying to walk back through the store to buy something you missed at the start.

Ikea use a system similar to kettling to funnel people through the aisles – once you are in the stream, it’s hard to get out again. Deviating off the path can cause all kinds of trouble, at the very least a shoulder barge from somebody coming the other way. If Ikea could fit customers with the Outlander’s LDW I’d definitely shop there more often…

Saturday – A Swiss Army Knife Of A Car

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Jeremy My biggest fear about having kids and growing up? Obviously, the thought of driving a people-carrier. Who wants to open the door in the morning and be confronted by a Ford Galaxy or something with seven seats, shaped like a wet sponge and built by Nissan? Me neither.

So the rise of the SUV has been a blessing for us forty somethings. Sorry, fifty somethings, I keep forgetting my recent significant birthday. And judging by the huge number of SUVs on driveways up and down the country, the rest of the car-buying British public feel the same too.

One of the more popular models around these parts is the Mitsubishi Outlander, probably because the company has its UK operations based in Cirencester. Quite frankly, there are loads of them. Waitrose is like a forecourt for the company, so expect a Waitrose special edition Outlander any day soon…

I’m just back from the shops and I can see why. Our GX5 test car is at the top of the range. It’s loaded with equipment, including sat nav, leather seats, adaptive cruise control and the rather neat ECO driving mode. Now I thought this was a bit of a gimmick but it actually works!

Today I have managed 46.1mpg in everyday driving. That’s in a four-wheel drive with the air conditioning on and three people on board. Considerably better than expected – and obviously rather more than the sadly departed Jaguar XKR-S. More tomorrow….