Mitsubishi Outlander (2006): first official pictures

Published: 29 September 2006

Mitsubishi Outlander: the lowdown

Mitsubishi has finally unveiled the European Outlander, 11 months after the seven-seat crossover hit Japanese showrooms. But you’ll still have to wait until 1 March 2007 to get your hands on the mid-size SUV. The Outlander is certainly a crossover, combining car-based underpinnings and primarily two-wheel drive with lockable four-wheel drive for when you hit the muddy stuff. Power comes from 2.0- and 2.2-litre turbodiesels, and 2.4-litre and V6 petrols; prices should start around £18,000.

How it looks

Mitsubishi has spruced up the Outlander for Europe, with a new Mount Fuji grille which adds drama to the Japanese model. Officially this car is a concept, but who are they trying to kid? It could win an award for the least conceptual show car in history. Only the 20inch wheels, funky lower grille, brightwork and paintjob will go AWOL on the production car.

Under the skin

The Outlander rides on Mitsubishi’s new platform, co-developed with DaimlerChrysler, which will also underpin next year’s Lancer replacement. The Outlander gets independent suspension all round and an aluminium roof panel, to try and lower the centre of gravity. Drive is sent mostly to the front wheels, though grunt can be shifted across the axles in the event of slip. The drivetrain can also be locked in four-wheel drive mode. As with the Grandis MPV, Volkswagen will supply its 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel, combined with a six-speed manual transmission. In 2008, a Peugeot-Citroen 2.2-litre HDi will also come on stream, though this high-spec version is not guaranteed for the UK. Two petrols are planned: the 168bhp 2.4-litre petrol shared with DC and Hyundai, and an all-new 217bhp V6, although this is not currently planned for the UK.

The inside story

The Outlander is a little bigger than a BMW X3, but manages to accommodate a 5+2 seating arrangement. The second and third rows fold flat to offer van-like load-lugging when necessary. The tailgate is split, Volvo XC90-style. The Outlander arrives in the UK next spring. But if you’re a Francophile, you can wait until 2008 for a Peugeot or Citroen version. Mitsubishi has struck a deal to build a badge-engineered version for the Frenchies. That’s why the 2.2-litre diesel is in the product plan. Just don’t go waiting for a VW version…

By Phil McNamara

Group editor-in-chief of CAR magazine