Review and road test of the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 Petrol (2018 - 2021)
OUT AND OUT SENSE
By Jonathan Crouch
Think of a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV and you tend to think of Plug-in Hybrid power. The brand also though, offered a conventional 2.0-litre 150PS petrol version in the 2018-2021 period, which is much more affordable and will be a better bet if you regularly tow or drive off road. Plus it gives you the third seating row that PHEV variant buyers can't have. And it undercuts most of its 'D'-segment SUV rivals on price. For sure, you get old-school virtues here, but there's certainly still a place for this Mitsubishi in this form.
5dr SUV (2.0 petrol)
The third generation Outlander SUV rejuvenated Mitsubishi's sales in this country, but only in PHEV guise. Few people wanted this design in its more conventional 2.0-litre petrol un-electrified form, even though that variant was better off-road and included the 3rd seating row that Plug-in models couldn't have.
We first saw this third generation Outlander design back in 2013, when it was launched with a 2.2-litre DI-D diesel engine. The PHEV version followed in 2014 and instantly transformed the Plug-in hybrid market segment across Europe, racking up over 115,000 sales in the following four years. By 2018 though, the Outlander was facing greater challenges: not only the age of its design but also the abolition of the UK government Plug-in Car Grant that had previously done much to promote sales of the PHEV version.
Mitsubishi's response was delivered in two parts. Firstly, the brand introduced significant changes to the Outlander PHEV, including a fresh 2.4-litre petrol engine mated to improved electrical technology, plus there was a classier cabin. The idea was to reassure buyers that this variant really could justify premium pricing. For those unable to stretch to the required asking figures but still wanting an Outlander, the brand changed its approach with regard to its range of conventionally-engined models, deleting the 2.2-litre diesel option and offering instead a more affordable 150PS 2.0-litre petrol powerplant. But sales were slow and the Outlander range finally left the British market when the Mitsubishi brand pulled out at the end of 2021.
What You Get
This isn't an SUV you'd buy to make a driveway statement but in its own way, it's a smartly functional bit of automotive technology. As for the changes made as part of the 2018 model year update to this third generation Outlander design, well they were relatively minor. Mitsubishi did, after all, make far-reaching aesthetic improvements to this car in 2016. Nevertheless, the company wasn't able to resist further tinkering with what it called its 'Dynamic Shield' design direction, though you'd probably have to be either a previous owner or a brand enthusiast to notice the changes.
And behind the wheel? Well Mitsubishi upgraded the cabin of this car quite a bit as part of changes made to this car back in 2016, which didn't leave much scope for many further changes that could be made to this 2019 model year car without a complete cabin re-design. This improved model did get a restyled instrument cluster. And the front seats were re-contoured to give more lateral cornering support.
There's comfortable room for a couple of adults on the back seat. The PHEV version's bulky battery pack prevents it from offering something you can have on this conventional petrol model - a third seating row. The extra chairs are really only intended for children, but they are separate, properly-sprung seats with integral head restraints and reclining backrests. Out back, there's a 781-litre boot when that third row bench is flat, 50-litres more than the PHEV version.
What to Look For
Many Outlander PHEV owners in our survey were very happy with their cars, but inevitably, there were a few issues. Minor complaints related to rattling front head rests and an alarm prone to go off for no reason. It's extremely unlikely that this Outlander will have been seriously used on rougher surfaces (particularly if it has a higher-spec trim level), but just in case, check the underside of the car for dents and scrapes. It's more likely that you'll find scratches on the alloy wheels caused through ham-fisted parking. Check out the rear seats for scratches caused by unruly children. And of course, insist on a fully stamped-up service history.
(approx based on a 2019 Outlander 2.0 petrol ex VAT) An oil filter is in the £4 bracket. A pollen filter is in the £7-£23 bracket. A wiper blade will cost you from about £4-£13. Front brake pads sit in the £15-£27 bracket; rears will sit in the £18 bracket. Front brake discs sit in the £40-£100 bracket; rear brake discs sit in the £41 bracket. An air filter is around £27.
On the Road
If you're of the opinion that many family SUVs have just become estate cars with a little more ground clearance and a largely redundant all-wheel drive system, you might well like the conventional 2.0-litre 150PS petrol-powered version of this Outlander. Despite its modern styling, there's something quite old school in the way that it drives, and we mean that as a compliment. Set off down the road and the feeling you get is that of being in a 'proper' SUV, rather than some sort of ineffectual crossover vehicle. You sense the meatiness of the steering and the gutsiness of the 2.0-litre petrol engine and realise that this is a vehicle you'll be able to rely on, a car that'll work with you, even in a tight spot. 62mph from rest in this entry-level Outlander model occupies 13.3s en route to a maximum of 118mph. And there's 195Nm of torque, enough pulling power to facilitate a 2.0-tonned braked towing capacity that's half a tonne more than the alternative hybrid derivative can manage.
Like the PHEV, this 2.0-litre petrol variant can only be had with an automatic gearbox, but it's a very different one, a more conventional INVECS-II transmission that's tuned to help with towing and off roading. There are three driving modes provided: '4WD ECO' is the setting you'll need to get anywhere near the quoted fuel returns - 37.7mpg on the combined cycle and 171g/km of CO2 (both NEDC figures). Here, the car is powered through the front wheels nearly all the time, only sending drive to the rear when a loss of traction is sensed. There might not be too many occasions when you'd bother to switch to the second 4x4 setting, '4WD Auto', a mode which duplicates much the same functionality but operates the car less economically. Finally, there's a '4WD LOCK' mode that you'll only need if your Outlander ends up somewhere you really shouldn't have ventured with it in the first place.
Sales of this third generation Outlander design were primarily been focused on this car in its PHEV guise, but if your priorities lie beyond mere efficiency, this more conventional petrol version is a better bet. It offers seven seats, decent 4x4 off road ability and plenty of equipment for the kind of money you could easily pay for well specified model in this era from the smaller 'Qashqai'-class SUV 'C'-segment - one featuring only five seats and 2WD.
With earlier Outlander designs, pricier rivals could in compensation, point to slightly better cabin finishing and drive dynamics. But the 2019 model year update package improved this Mitsubishi in both these areas. In this 2018-2021-era form, this Outlander made a slightly smarter driveway statement. And it was no longer any kind of dynamic duffer. Other family SUV rivals from this era may be able to offer more power, sharper handling and fancier cabins, but they struggle to match many aspects of this Mitsubishi's all-round ownership proposition. It's a thoughtful buyer's choice. And we can see why you might make it.
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 Petrol (2018 - 2021) review by Jonathan Crouch