The Outlander holds its value very well.
The Outlander holds its value very well.

Is this SUV a bargain or overpriced?

THE Mitsubishi Outlander's appeal is fairly obvious: a lot of SUV from a mainstream brand for relatively little money.

That applies to new and used alike - one from the showroom can be as low as $28,990 drive-away, while for half that price you can have a 2015 preloved version.

For those on a budget needing the space and seating capacity (five or seven seats), this mid-size SUV is a solid choice for growing families and active-lifestylers preferring a higher driving position.

Most owners are satisfied and reliability issues are quite isolated, thanks mainly to Mitsubishi's five-year warranty still covering examples of this vintage, the ZK series, as long as they've travelled under 100,000km.

Seven seats in most Outlanders is a great selling point, even if the rearmost are really for kids only. The cabin's roomy, there's good boot space (477L) with five seats up, ride comfort is generally impressive and the exterior styling still looks fresh.

Most Outlanders will still be covered by the brand’s five-year/100,000km warranty.
Most Outlanders will still be covered by the brand’s five-year/100,000km warranty.

On the downside, the quite gutless petrol 2.0-litre can drink the fuel and there are a whiny continuously variable transmission, dated infotainment and cheap plasticky feel to the cabin, even in higher spec models.

There's plenty of choice: 2WD or 4WD; petrol, diesel or PHEV plug-in hybrid. There are even a few manual examples out there.

Standard on the entry-level LS were 18-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights and rear lights, colour touchscreen, rear camera and sensors, cruise control, seven airbags and leather steering wheel.

Mid-range XLS grade added a seven-inch screen with satnav, dual zone climate control, auto headlights and wipers and colour LCD display.

Range-topping Exceeds brought heated leather seating (power for driver), autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, smart key and start, auto tailgate, sunroof and chrome door handles.

The 2WDs came with the 2.0-litre, the LS with five-speed manual gearbox or CVT, the latter standard on XLS grade.

The 4WD versions had gutsier 2.4-litre petrol engine with CVT, while XLS and Exceed grades had a 2.2-litre diesel option with conventional six-speed auto. The diesel's got good pulling power, highest towing capacity at 2000kg, and best real-world fuel economy.

Owners report the petrol engines typically drink a lot more than Mitsubishi's quoted 6.7L-7.2L.

Keeping track of the seating options can be confusing. LS grade, by far the biggest seller, came with five or seven - best lift the tailgate and check.

This Safety Pack version is a good family choice with active safety such as AEB, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

The cabin feels a bit cheap.
The cabin feels a bit cheap.

The 2017 versions got revised suspension, dual zone aircon and smartphone connectivity, while Exceeds upped safety kit even further.

In April that year came updated the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid with pure electric driving range of 54km, which is reasonable, and it's not a bad way to dip the toe in electric car life.

What to look for

For peace of mind, target Outlanders with less than 100,000km to maintain the warranty coverage. If you have a family, the seven-seaters help future-proof your life somewhat, and prioritise those with the Safety Pack.

Smartphone connectivity on post-September 2016 versions is excellent and should be your preference; owners of earlier vehicles grumble about infotainment and Bluetooth.

The 4WDs are quite versatile but for city dwellers, 2WDs are cheaper. Diesel versions are the pick for regular long trips or towing.

Ensure you can tolerate the 2.0's lack of power if that's your choice. The CVT takes some getting used to but reject any Outlander with dodgy whirry noises, or clunky, ticking sounds from the engine.

Check the touchscreen for functionality - some owners have problems here - and ensure all seat belt buckles click in correctly, another noted issue. The cheap plastic cabins can mark easily.

Check the front bumper's metal parts as some have rusted.

If the PHEV appeals, check if it's suitable for your driving life. Short school runs and city commutes are where it makes most sense.

There have been numerous recalls - view productsafety.gov.au to ensure all have been carried out. A recent service at a Mitsubishi dealer is a good sign all will have been completed.

Iain says 3.5/5

It's good value for a mid-size SUV, especially in seven-seat layout, and is proving reliable. Favour MY17 versions for better kit and plenty of factory warranty remaining. Entry LS grades look best value but don't pay too much: you can get a new one for less than $30K drive-away.

Owners says

John Filmer: We bought our 2016 Exceed Diesel second hand for towing a camper trailer. It has good power, returns 7.5L/100km on country trips and even with the camper in tow still does less than 10L. it easily takes on 4WD tracks and creeks. Access is good for our 96-year-old mother. It's a bit like the Tardis. The extra rear seats are a hit with grandkids and we can even fit a load of groceries. I would have loved a 12V socket in the back, some rear passenger aircon vents and a bit more leg support on the front seats - which, being leather are also a bit hard on the rear end for long trips.

Terry Owen: My 2016 Exceed is very reliable and well equipped and suits my needs. The styling's a vast improvement over the previous model. A minor grizzle is with the digital radio - some channels are in mono. I will stay with Mitsubishi brand when we need a tow vehicle.

Allan Roberts: My LS, bought new last year, hasn't done many kilometres but I'm happy with performance and fuel economy generally - 9.0L-12.5L/100km. Ride is good, as is the technology, trim is all plastic and harsh and the external bodywork fit is fair. It has most of the bells and whistles I want and was the cheapest in this range. It has a full-size spare and good boot space with five seats up - but almost nothing in seven-seat layout.

The experts say

Mitsubishi sold more than 36,000 examples of this series Outlander. The base-grade LS comprises three-quarters of used listings, the flagship Exceed accounts for just 5 per cent and the most affordable plug-in, the PHEV LS, represents just 1 per cent.

The manual front-drive LS from 2015 ($28,490 new) is valued at $16,650. The Exceed diesel auto 4WD ($46,490 new) is still worth $28,500.

For 2018, the LS ($28,750 new) fetches $21,000 and the PHEV Exceed ($55,490 new) is selling for $39,900.

Against such rivals as the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan
X-Trail, the Outlander has lost most in depreciation, which does not necessarily reflect its standing among owners.

Values may have been dragged down by the plug-ins, which depreciate faster than conventional counterparts - meaning either version represents good-value buying, at the right price

2016-2018 Mitsubishi Outlander

Price new: $28,490-$55,490

Safety: 5 stars

Engines: 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 110kW/190Nm; 2.4-litre 4-cyl, 124kW/220Nm;
2.2-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 110kW/360Nm; 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 87kW/186Nm plus electric motors (120kW/332Nm combined)

Transmission: 5-speed man, CVT,
6-speed auto; FWD/4WD

Thirst: 1.7L-6.2L-7.2L/100km

Towing: 1500kg (PHEV), 1600kg (petrol), 2000kg (diesel)


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