Monday 26 September 2016

Outlander heralds fresh outlook at Mitsubishi

Martin Brennan

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi has a new president and a new head of design, who has come over from Nissan, and they have big plans to revamp the brand with fresh design and technology. So expect to see new models, new engineering ideas and design improvements in forthcoming vehicles - 20pc of which will be hybrid or EV by 2020.

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The drive to improve quality and design has already started and "stylish", "cool" and "connected" are now the buzz words as the company opens a new design studio in Frankfurt with an eye to growing European markets where sales have already shown a dramatic increase this year.

In the Irish market, sales are also up as Frank Keane celebrates the 30th anniversary of holding the Mitsubishi import franchise. They are in excess of the big market growth generally so far this year - a 48pc improvement in car sales and a 57pc improvement in LCV sales.

New to the scene here is a fifth generation L200, an improved version of the Outlander and a new, more economical, 1.6-litre diesel engine for the ASX.

The new, more streamlined, version of the Outlander, Mitsubishi's mid-sized SUV is now on sale.

This is the third generation of the Nissan Qashqai rival and it is slightly lower and slimmer. But it has got more than a mid-life refresh. There are important differences in body parts, chassis tuning and better steering feedback.

Sound-proofing is also improved, gears are slick and it is now a practical people carrier and off-roader in 4x4 version, and for its size, is reasonably cheap to run.

This is a vehicle that will mean different things to different people and its usefulness makes it desirable. It is a big people/load carrier with seven seats, the two rear ones for extra youngsters, but it has great space when the second and third rows are folded down.

A commercial version two-seater will be here for the 2016 sales.

A new grille, LED daytime running lights , new bumpers, 18in two-tone alloy wheels give a more upmarket, if not exciting, look. The interior looks a bit dated, but it has a more quality feel with black wood decoration panels and extra cushioning in the seats, a welcome addition for long-distance drives. Noise levels have also been reduced. The infortainment system is easy-to-use and a reversing camera is a big bonus in a very spacious vehicle that is 4.7m long.

The 2.2-litre DI-D diesel engine, with 150bhp on tap and 380NM of torque between 1,725-2,500rpm, is more than adequate, has good acceleration and is quiet on the move.

In the 2WD version with 6-speed manual transmission, C02 figures run at 126g/km rising to 139g/km for the 4x4 and 155g/km for the 4x4 automatic version.

The company claims a 0-100kms sprint in just over 10 seconds for the 2WD in mixed driving. The claimed fuel consumption is 4.8L/100km (64mpg) with the 2WD set-up and 5.4L/100km (52mpg) with 4x4 drive. Prices range between €33,950 and €39,500 and there is an eight-year warranty.

The all-new L200, also launched last week, is a big improvement in terms of more comfort in the twin-cab space that can carry five adults with rear-seat recline adjustment.

It has a more muscular stance and the boxy look is gone. To give it an upmarket feel, it gets privacy class, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and lots of chrome.

Aimed at small business users and farmers who want a weekday workhorse and a weekend leisure vehicle, it boasts a class-leading turning circle and better stability due to improved aerodynamics.

A lightweight new 2.4-litre diesel engine provides the power, putting out 181bhp for the 4x4 drive. It has C02 emissions of 173g/km in manual drive, which attracts €333 road tax.

The manual version is priced at €33,250, including VAT, and the automatic transmission version is €36,450, including VAT.

There are now 25 Mitsubishi dealers, 12 of whom have been recruited in the past two years, and the company is planning to add to the list in the future.

Sunday Independent

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