Guilt-free SUV driving? Not so Outlandish now

Philip Hedderman

TO most 'Green' is associated with Envy.

For me it's always's been guilt - or how some sections of society made the rest feel about certain cars.

Thankfully, like the now extinct political animal, that ethos has also been consigned to the history books. Why? ... because being eco-manic means money and lots of it.

How ironic then that we are testing a proper 4WD, 7-seat off-roader with the price tag and CO2 emissions of an ordinary family saloon.

Ok, so it has been toned down a little from the previous beast with not so in-your-face alloys. Gone are the overly flared wheel arches, giant bonnet air vent and the knobbly tyres with white branded logos on the walls.

The chisled snout and waist high front bumper replaced with a Georgia Salpa-type trout pout. But don't let the makeover fool you because under the skin the Outlander is a true thoroughbred worthy of the Mitsubishi badge.


To put it to the test we not only brought it off road but up a mountain - Slieve Martin in the Mournes. Its secret weapon is the All Wheel Control drive system which enables the pilot to switch from 2WD motorway cruising to a 4WD climb at the flick of a switch and while the car is in motion.

Couple that with a 2.2 litre, 177bhp diesel powerplant with paddle shift, six speed gearbox with sport mode and you're just about ready for anything.

Entering the forest park we kicked off the assent in 4WD which was a God send considering some genius decided to install speed ramps on the way UP a bloody mountain.

As we climbed the gradient got steeper and the road went from two to one way traffic as the tarmac began to slowly disappear.

We were on gravel now and the Mitsubishi did just what MMC have been doing best for almost 80 years and we were at the summit quicker than a ravenous mountain goat.

Not once did she falter, skid, slide or ever lose traction, in fact it was more akin to a Sunday saunter up the hill of Howth.

The only disappointment here is that the weather conditions weren't a little more inclement and a bout of torrential rain or a mud slide could have really put her to the test.

The lack of treacherous conditions are hardly going to bother the vast majority of SUV customers who will rarely be off road.

Most will be busy families seeking safety and the versatility of a comfy, roomy 7 seater.

It's also one of the the most guilt -free of all SUVs with emissions of 162g/km which in turn means annual road tax of €447 (€630 for Auto) while returning around 40mpg.

Prices for the Outlander start at €35,950.