Only weeks away from local launch, the Mitsubishi Outlander makeover makes an unexpected Aussie appearance
MITSUBISHI’S bold new face for the future is only weeks away from making its Australian debut, as witnessed by the significantly updated Mitsubishi Outlander sprung whizzing through Wollongong’s streets by on-the-ball reader Michael Maida Birdaini. The facelift will give the Mitsbuishi Outlander a much needed boost against the Honda CR-V and Hyundai SantaFe and Kia Sorento twins.
Brandishing a redesigned nose that will also make its way on the next-generation Mitsubishi ASX, Pajero and – it is rumoured – long-overdue replacement for the eight-year-old Lancer small car, the Outlander (designated ‘ZK’) also sports a subtly yet effective rear-end tuck. Differences include fresh tail-lights, an altered tailgate pressing and more prominent rear diffuser.
The once-dour interior, too, undergoes a transformation, scoring higher-quality materials, better instrumentation, improved audio, and the de rigueur multimedia screen update with improved connectivity, to help address one of the outgoing model’s biggest criticisms.
Underneath, the engineers have beefed up body and chassis rigidity and fettled with the suspension and steering tune to improve the existing Outlander’s mediocre steering, ride and handling characteristics. Cutting noise/vibration/harshness pathways has also been a priority, as promised by the fitment of more sound deadening material throughout the crossover.
Last but not least, the Outlander facelift gains a broader selection of driver-assist technology, such as lane-departure warning, collision avoidance and radar-guided active cruise control on higher-end versions.
Along with restyled alloy wheels, all are part of what Mitsubishi Motors claims are over 100 engineering and design improvements for the third-generation series, which was released in Australia in December 2012. After a disappointing eighth spot in Wheels’ 10-strong Medium SUV AWD Megatest last year, the changes cannot come soon enough, and are vital in boosting the brand’s image after a slew of less-than-stellar offerings such as the feeble Mirage.
Prices are unlikely to stray too far from the current Outlander’s, which sees the base ES 2.0-litre manual petrol front-driver kick off from $27,740, rising up to nearly $52,500 for the Aspire PHEV plug-in electric/petrol twin-motor AWD flagship. Carryover 2.4 petrol and 2.2 turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines will also be available once again, matched to CVT and six-speed automatic transmissions respectively.
Unveiled earlier this month at the New York International Auto Show, the Outlander facelift rollout is only just beginning, with Australia likely to be one of the first markets in the world to see the important brand-boosting newcomer.
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