Mitsubishi's Outlander and L200 are big and beautiful
ANOTHER year has passed and my car wish list has failed to materialise. I’ll just have to put up with my son’s remote control Porsche instead of the 911 Turbo I asked for!
Even though the man in the red suit failed to deliver my dream motor, I treated myself this past Christmas, even if I’m still paying for it. A pre-pudding trip to Vegas took years off my life and now I understand why it’s called Sin City.
There is much to love and hate about America. In the hate column is their take on soccerball, Donald Trump and, the fact that everyone has a relative in Ireland. In the love column are the breakfasts, Hooters and the ridiculous amount of high-powered SUVs and pick-ups.
Every second car sounded like rolling thunder and it was a case of mine is bigger than yours on the famous Vegas strip.
It’s a sight we rarely see in Ireland any more, as the years of the yummy mummies clogging up the school run in big 4x4 SUVs and builders driving pick-ups like they were a fashion item have gone.
I have a soft spot for the big SUV/pick-up and it’s a shame they lost their appeal when Ireland went into financial meltdown. With the green shoots of recovery flowering, manufacturers are offering some really interesting models for sale.
One of the tried-and-trusted marques of the off-road vehicle is Mitsubishi. For years they have been producing SUVs and pick-ups that have rock-solid build quality and serious off-road credentials.
In a new age of SUVs and pick-ups, buyers are looking for a little more than a mud-plugger. They want car-like handling and refinement you expect from a German-made motor. I tested the new Outlander and L200 and, hats off to Mitsubishi, they have improved their big off-roaders, adding a softer side to them.
The improved Outlander is now more family orientated with the choice of either two or four-wheel drive and five or seven seats. It doesn’t have the industrial feel of old and refinement levels have been vastly improved.
Even the big 2.2 diesel lump under the bonnet has been tinkered with and it now delivers excellent fuel economy as well as not sounding like a tractor. Interior refinement has been improved also and, on a motorway cruise, you’d think you were in something smaller and almost German.
The older Outlander was a good SUV, and it’s what Mitsubishi is good at. It had a go-anywhere feel and the robust nature of it meant it suited those who needed the off-road ability and build quality to take a few knocks here and there.
This latest version has been re-designed and re-engineered with a different buyer in mind, with families being the new target. It definitely feels like a step up in quality and the tweaked engine has plenty of power, while returning decent numbers on the fuel economy front. The four-wheel drive model claims to return 5.3 litres per 100kms on a combined cycle, but in reality you’re looking at mid sixes, which isn’t that bad considering the size of the engine.
It drives really well for an SUV, and I wasn’t in fear of my life taking a corner with a little vigour. The bodyroll is minimal and even though it doesn’t feel like an Evo, it certainly doesn’t feel like a big off-roader.
For many, the two-wheel drive five-seater will be the best option, given that the all bells and whistles 4WD seven seater is €7,000 more. You do get a different car, with extra seats, serious off-road ability and full leather interior.
Both models get a decent amount of equipment with a touchscreen infotainment system with rear parking camera, rear privacy glass, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and hill assist. The seven-seater gets bigger 18-inch alloys and full leather with the front seats being heated.
The Outlander has improved, and it needed to, as rivals like the Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento upped their game.
But what if you wanted the Yorkie of the motoring world – the pick-up. Mitsubishi has long been at the front of the queue with their impressive L200.
The rugged five-seater can go anywhere and carry anything, but in recent times, theses beasts have needed more beauty as times change. Mitsubuishi has tweaked the design and freshened up the appearance making it more appealing to various buyers.
It’s still robust and capable of lugging all sorts in the load bed at the rear. My test model had the sleek full box, which gives it a sporty look, while keeping prying eyes away from the contents – it felt a little flimsy for my liking and wouldn’t take much to prise open.
The L200 has a more modern feel inside and has a commanding driving position which makes you feel invincible.
With the new look inside and out, Mitsubishi’s L200 continues to be in the Premier League of pick-ups. With a new-found appreciation for rugged off-roaders,
Mitsubishi are one of the leading lights in 4x4 models and the new Outlander and L200 prove they can do big – and beautiful.
Model: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D 4WD
Price: from €31,450 (test car €38,450)
Road tax: Band B2 €280
Max speed: 200kph
Fuel economy: 5.3l/100kms (claimed)
Boot space: 128-litres (7 seats) 47-litres (third row folded) 918-litres (all seats folded)
Model: Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab 2.4 DI-D 4WD
Price: from €33,250
Road tax: Band E €750
Max speed: 179kph
Fuel economy: 6.6 litres per 100km (claimed)