Thursday, January 17, 2013

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Outlander (2003-2007)

Finding a cheap crossover SUV is a daunting task, but in this case Myk Belmonte finds you one especially if you need that ground clearance and extra cargo space.

2003-2007 Mitsubishi Outlander

It was the period of 2002-2003 that compact SUV's are the "it" vehicles especially they offer the needed high ground clearance which sedans cannot provide. Floods? Potholes? Road imperfections? They do the job. And not to forget the cargo area which offers to place your suitcases, your newly purchased coffee table, and a weeks worth of groceries in an ease. No need to go out of the vehicle to get them on a rainy day.

The Mitsubishi Outlander, which was introduced in 2003, followed the trend by offering a unsedan like ground clearance and decent cargo space. But what's important is that underpinnings are based from the Lancer sedan, so you get a Lancer SUV without the chance of getting stuck in the middle of a flooded street.  During that time, engine options include a normally aspirated, a gasoline direct injection, and a turbo. Sales ceased in 2006 with the second generation Outlander being introduced to the market a year before.

This vehicle had its local introduction in 2003 and the second SUV in Mitsubishi's line-up. It didn't have any front wheel drive option while the Outlander's competitors had. Available in Mitsubishi dealerships until 2007 with the second generation model being launched in the same year.

Value and Costs
What used to be a seven digit priced vehicle when it was brand new is now obtainable for just below P400 grand. If you need a affordable crossover SUV for your daily city commute, then the first generation Outlander merits consideration especially that units are priced between P350,000-P500,000. There are other competitors that are in the same price range so do your study first.

Browsing at automobile and Mitsubishi dedicated forums reveals that serious problems for this mini SUV are none as reported. Just a reminder if you own an all wheel drive vehicle to change all four tires together. Parts can be obtained inside and outside of the dealership parts section.

Exterior and Interior
Exterior-wise, the design can elicit responses that are either positive or negative. It depends on what angle you are looking, especially that some cues would resemble anime robot characters. The robot like front would lead the driver or the looker to a sleek profile exhibited on the sides. For the rear part, a spoiler and situated on the third brake lamp, washer nozzles that one can mistake as a screw.

Inside the Outlander reveals a somewhat spartan but neatly laid out dashboard, that you might say "saang tong control na ito??!!". A silver lining is present in the dashboard which goes well with the rest of the interior. Passengers have adequate room and the rear seats split 70/30 to have a huge cargo area.

A downer for this vehicle is that, despite offering a 4G69 2,378cc gasoline that has 136hp at 5,000rpm and 201Nm at 2,500rpm, it does not accomplish its task when it comes to highway acceleration and overtaking situations. No MIVEC technology standard, but this engine does well in city driving and at low speeds. This problem was resolved in the 2007-2009 Outlander in which the same engine displacement had more power and the important MIVEC.

Driving Impressions
Driving the Outlander is a mixed bag, especially that it shows the strengths and limitations while on the road. Cornering and steering is direct and precise, but handling can give you some body lean, typical of tall cars. If you are driving in the city in low speeds, you may enjoy the experience afforded by this SUV, just don't tempt yourself to speed up or you'll get disappointed.

If you're prioritizing comfort, a high ground clearance, and a car like driving behavior especially if your driving needs are limited inside the city, the Outlander is one good choice. Don't drive fast especially that the engine would exhibit meager power. 

The Good: 
  • Great driving dynamics
  • Excellent all wheel drive system
  • Futuristic styling, love it or hate it
The Bad:
  • Breathless engine
  • Some delay in manual shifting function
  • Futuristic styling, hate it or love it
The Pick: Just go for a well maintained unit

Engine: 2,378cc 4G69 I4 gasoline
Power: 136hp @ 5,000rpm
Torque: 201Nm @ 2,500rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P1,270,000-P1,280,000 (range from 2003-2007)
Price (Now): P350,000-P500,000
Rivals: Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda Tribute, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota RAV4
On Sale: 2003-2007

Citimotors Makati - (02) 892-0331
Diamond Motors Valle Verde - (02) 671-9590
Union Motors Paco - (02) 563-8481

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