DAVE MOORE: Buying a used Mitsubishi Outlander II (2007-2013)

15/03/2017
USED MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER II (2007 - 2013)

For much of its six-year reign, the Outlander II has been New Zealand's biggest-selling mid-sized SUV. DAVE MOORE takes a look.

Mitsubishi's first Outlander was called the Airtrek in New Zealand and was a moderately successful SUV, replaced in 2006 by the Outlander II we're looking at here, a handsome chiselled design with a good turn of performance in its larger-engined versions and surprisingly good to drive. We remarked when we tested it in several versions that it had well-weighted, precise steering and was particularly refined in its CVT 2.4-litre form, though it was the flagship V6 derivative that was the performance leader - probably the quickest SUV out there in its day.

The Outlander offers more engine choices than any other SUV in its segment, with a base two-litre engine for the entry-point two-wheel-driven models with a CVT automatic, a 2.4-litre power unit again with a CVT for mid-rangers and that creamy-smooth Quad-Cam 3.0-litre V6 with a six-speed conventional automatic for the top-end cars.

The Mitsubishi offered a diesel in Europe, but not in New Zealand. That job was left to spin-off Peugeot and Citroen products based on the Outlander, using PSA 2.2-litre turbodiesel. We'll be dealing with those vehicles in a separate story.
Early Outlanders' cabin plastics were a bit brittle and rattly, but this improved steadily during its relatively long career until the final models had stitched faux-leather on the dash and around the cabin, which made for much nicer feel inside the car.

Strengths:

Good crisp steering and decent handling for its type, with good ride quality on the higher-profile wheels. The CVT 2.4s offer high refinement levels and go well, but the 3.0-litre V6 is the performance king with a surprising turn of speed and a sports car like engine note. The Outlander offers a spacious cabin as long as you don't want to put larger occupants in the foldaway third row, though its the seat of choice for most youngsters, as they like to 'own' their place in the car, well away from the grown-ups! With the rearmost seats folded away - not the easiest of operations - the resulting five-seat configuration allows a boot space of 541 litres with the middle row of seats in place. When they're folded as well, the Outlander delivers a huge load area of 1691 litres.

Over the years the second generation Outlander has had three grille treatments, a slim full-width unit, a two-slot design and the deep chrome-rimmed design pictured. The later you get, the better-looking the version. The Outlander II has a great driving position and the dash is well-designed and neatly put together, and everything from cloth to leather is available and five to seven seats.

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Best to buy:


It may not be the quickest, but the 2.4-litre four with CVT transmission is our pick, with high refinement levels, fairly decent economy and plenty of kit, especially in top grade models, when you get the extra seats, velour or leather and all the gear and a sun-roof. Ex Japan models are most likely to offer the most equipment, but make sure you don't buy a car with fancy electronics that don't operate in New Zealand. If you're on a tighter budget, there's nothing wrong with the 2.0-litre 2WD models though you have to eschew third-row seating and a bit of performance.

Weak points:

Lovely though the V6 is, it does use a lot of gas, though if you're 'downsizing' from an Aussie six, it's less of a problem. We note that there have been some recalls overseas linked with leaking fuel pipes, stalling engines, and failing brakes along with faulty brake lights. Fortunately most of these were reported in the US.
On some of the low-profiled wheel and tyre combinations, Outlanders can make some road noise on coarse-chip surfaces and the ride can get a tad jiggly, so try different tyre set-ups if you can, to check which suits you best.

You'll have to live with:

Few negatives, as it happens. The 2.0-litre 2WD is a little plain and plasticky, while there's that fuel penalty on the quick and seductive V6, also the new model has been out now for about four years and the first used ones might distract you, though they don't have the looks of the last of this second generation.

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What to pay


It's worth knowing that the Outlander which came with one of the best new car service packages on the market, does hold its price rather well when looking. For instance, even a six or seven year-old low-spec car with 2.4L and CVT with 150,000km on its clock can demand $10,000, though older 2.0L cars with 2WD can ask as little as $7000 - if you can find them.

We like the look of a 2007 seven-seater 2.4 CVT with just over 50,000km driven for $12,000, while another with 40,000km more on the clock from the same year was stickered at $10,990.

Among the V6s we saw, there was a real honey from 2008 with leather trim and cruise control on 110,000km for $14,000
and it is possible to find other sixes for under $15,000, though we'd still stick to the 2.4L CVT car on a budget of $8,000 to $12,000 and get the best we can find.

What do they cost to run?

If you source your used Outlander from a franchise holder, you might be surprised at the service and support packages available. The combined rating for the most popular 2.4-litre four cylinder CVT model is 9.5 L/100km.

But wait:

We'd also look at a seven-seater Nissan Qashqai, and if you only need five seats, the Honda CR-V and RAV-4 but only the Qashqai and its X-Trail sibling really come close to the Mitsubishi for refinement.