By Bill McCarthy
It’s an old saying, but remains true. If it ain’t broke, don’t mend it. Having said that, there is always room for improvement.
First launched in the UK in 2014 to stunning sales success, the plug-in hybrid version (PHEV) of the Outlander remains the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the UK.
While the costs of the hybrid or plug-in may be prohibitive to some, there is now an alternative. The new two litre petrol version, which still has plenty to offer.
Updated this year, the range looks sleeker than ever, for a 4×4, with new grille, spoiler, bumpers, LED headlights and front and rear bumper.
There are two versions, the Design, driven here and the Exceed. Both offer seven seats and the ever-reliable switchable four wheel drive mode while there is a host of standard kit on this model, including auto lights and wipers, cruise control, eight-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, keyless entry and start, a rear-view camera and rear privacy glass.
It looks the part with its latest ‘Dynamic Shield’ front styling and sleek and stylish profile with LED headlamps, daytime running lights flanking a sleek radiator grille and front bumper and new 18-inch alloy wheels.
The interior too has a classy new look with a simple but easy to use dashboard and better quality fit and finish throughout.
The dash is dominated by the touchscreen which controls functions like infotainment and connectivity. As there is no sat nav, there is also the option of plugging in your smartphone to display Google maps on the screen.
You can also use Siri or the touch screen to get directions optimised for traffic conditions, make and receive calls, access text messages and listen to music.
An electronic handbrake is positioned on the centre console along with the 4WD mode selector and switches for the heated front seats.
The interior is light and spacious with plenty of space for five with slightly less room for the rearmost two seats and a large boot area of 781 litres with those seats folded away. This opens up to a cavernous 1,608 litres, with the middle row folded and there are plenty of other pockets, cubbyholes and throughout
Also new for the 2020 model is the addition of a Red Diamond paint option, a semi-transparent coating incorporating mica flakes, to give an even more upmarket finish.
On the road the 150ps petrol engine has to work hard to pull the big seven seater. Mated to a CVT transmission it hits the 60mph mark in fairly pedestrian 13.3 seconds.
But that should be plenty for most people who drive this kind of car and while it cannot match the electric power of its siblings for economy, mpg is pretty respectable, although CO2 emissions remain high.
The system comprises three driving modes, ‘4WD Eco’, ‘4WD Auto’ and ‘4WD Lock’.
Most of the time ‘4WD Eco’ mode powers the car through the two front wheels, but when road conditions demand it, the system intelligently transmits the driving force to the rear wheels as well for better economy. Go off road and select 4WDAuto, for better traction and for more serious off-roading, the 4WD Lock high traction mode can be locked in for tougher terrains.
On the road, the ride and handling are more than acceptable for the size of car, will little evidence of wallowing on corners. It is a quiet cruiser and while the 150PS engine may struggle with a full complement of occupants, cruising on the motorway is not problematic and a quiet and comfortable experience.
As you would expect with a near £30k vehicle, it is packed with safety kit including larger front brake discs, seven airbags, including driver’s side knee airbag, traction and stability control, hill start, brake assist and emergency stop signal, to earn a five-star NCAP safety rating.
Not as super efficient as the PHEV, it is substantially cheaper, offers the same practicality and looks better than ever.
Mitsubishi Outlander Design 2.0 litre
Mechanical: 150PS, 1998cc, four cylinder petrol engine and electric motors driving all wheels via CVT auto gearbox
Max speed: 118mph
0-60mph: 13.3 seconds
Combined mpg: 32.5 (WLTP)
Insurance group: 21E
CO2 emissions: 196 g/km
Warranty: 5yrs/62,000 miles