Pleasant enough overall, though its body can lean a fair bit on bends
Smart enough but hardly inspiring, and the sat-nav controls are too fiddly
Some impressive safety kit and good crash test results
Solid interior, and a decent record overall from Mitsubishi
One of the most practical cars of its type
All versions come with plenty of kit
The Mitsubishi Outlander feels a little dated to drive compared to rivals: the lolloping suspension succeeds in taking the sting out of lumps and bumps in the road but it also tends to make the car lean on bends, which won't help those with motion sickness. However, its 2.2 diesel engine (which is all that's offered) has enough oomph to make easy work of everyday driving, the cabin is pretty quiet and the steering is quite responsive, although it is rather light at higher speeds, which can undermine your confidence. Still, at lower speeds there's always lots of grip and traction, even when the car is in two-wheel-drive (it automatically defers to four-wheel-drive only when it detects that it's needed). Bear in mind that the manual gearshift feels a bit clunky.
There are plenty of smart materials in the Outlander's cabin, although the design itself is a bit artless. Most of the dashboard controls are easy enough to find and use, but some of the lesser-used buttons are tucked out of sight and the touch-screen sat-nav system has complex menus and small icons that are hard to hit accurately. All but the cheapest trim get two extra seats in the very back, which are handy for kids; adults will probably want to sit in them only for short journeys, though. The front five occupants get plenty of space and the middle seats fold flat if you need to use the Outlander as a van. These seats also split 60:40 and each section slides and reclines individually. With just the rearmost seats folded down, the boot is very generous, and there's even enough space for a slim-folding pushchair and a couple of bags when there are seven on board.
Even entry-level GX2 cars are well equipped, including alloys, automatic lights and four electric windows, plus cruise- and climate controls. GX3 adds Bluetooth, automatic wipers, front foglights and bigger alloys, GX4 has keyless start, an electric sunroof, sat nav and a rear-view camera with parking sensors, while top-spec GX5 includes DAB radio and an electric rear tailgate.
The Outlander feels solidly built, and Mitsubishi's reliability record is generally very good. You can feel confident about it in an accident, too - all models come with stability control and seven airbags, although there are no curtain 'bags for the rear pair of seats you get in GX3-trim cars and above. More sophisticated safety measures include a system which applies the brakes automatically if the car senses an impending crash and a lane-departure warning. The Outlander has received the maximum five stars in crash tests by Euro NCAP, including an impressive 94% for adult safety and 83% for children.
The Outlander is a spacious, practical SUV with good reliability and safety credentials. It's not quite as good to drive as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-5, but while the entry-level model is more expensive than the equivalent Mazda, the seven-seat Outlander is good value compared to the seven-seat Santa Fe, and it's more efficient, too.