2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Launch Review

Tony O'Kane | 47 Comments

What’s hot: Improved interior, ultra-quiet diesel, seven-seat availability
What’s not: Tyre noise, reduced cargo capacity, jittery ride, higher boot lip
X-Factor: Those seven seats will be a plus for families, as will be the refined new diesel

Vehicle style: Medium SUV

Variants Reviewed
Engine Power/Torque Fuel (claimed)
2.0 litre petrol - CVT 110kW/190Nm 6.6 l/100km
2.4 litre petrol - CVT 124kW/220Nm 7.5 l/100km
2.2 litre turbo diesel - 6A 110kW/360Nm 5.8 l/100km

Although a reasonably strong seller for Mitsubishi, the previous Outlander mid-size SUV was not without its flaws.

In a brutally honest presentation to the media, Mitsubishi acknowledged that the last-generation model suffered from below-par interior quality, excessive noise, vibration and harshness, and a third-row seat that was cramped, uncomfortable and difficult to operate.

With the 2013 Outlander, Mitsubishi has addressed those flaws - but at the same time introduced a few new weaknesses.

For one, it looks rather plain-Jane: the new Outlander is almost anonymous. Somehow, the wow-factor of its inspiration, the PX-MiEV concept car, has been lost on the journey down the production line.

But there’s finally a diesel in the range. And while Mitsubishi expects the diesel to account for just 15 percent of Outlander sales, in our opinion it’s the one to get. Quiet, tractable and smooth, this is precisely the kind of engine for a modern SUV.

It’s a familiar story around the rest of the car. In some areas Mitsubishi giveth, but in other areas taketh. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cabin.

THE INTERIOR

While the old Outlander’s dash looked like it was ripped from the Triton, the new Outlander’s interior has far more panache.

There’s a vast improvement in quality and visual appeal. The dashboard now sports a modern design, with a large gloss-black fascia tying the centre stack and instrument panel together.

The upper dash is trimmed in soft-touch plastics, and soft surfacing is more prominent in areas like the door trims.

However, the fake woodgrain accents in the high-grade Aspire look cheap and nasty. The faux aluminium trim in the lesser grades is actually far more appealing.

The front seats are very, very firmly cushioned, and the front passenger seat has no height adjustment. However, we didn’t actually find them uncomfortable after a long day behind the wheel - it appears the padding, though firm, is in the right place.

The sliding second row is spacious and boasts plenty of head, shoulder and knee room. A near-flat floor also increases the usability of the centre seat.

But like the front seats, the second-row cushions are very firm, and the squab is rather flat and lacking in under-thigh support. Not so much of an issue for short-legged children, but not quite so comfortable for adults.

One of the biggest improvements in the new Outlander is the complete re-jigging of the third row seats.

Standard on all 4WD models bar the entry-level ES, the third row is now easier to deploy (you simply lift up the backrest and lock it into position) and far more comfortable than before.

In the previous Outlander, you’d send your kids to the third row as punishment. In the new car, it’s actually a reasonably comfortable place to be - provided you’re no taller than 5’4.

Fold down the second and third row and you get a flat floor that’s perfect for hauling flat-pack furniture.

2013 mitsubishi outlander launch review gallery 04

Unfortunately, the total load area is reduced, measuring in at 477 litres with the rear seats up - a whopping 112 litres smaller than the last model.

Fold the seats down and the size difference is less dramatic, with 1608 litres available.

While the outgoing Outlander had a split tailgate, its replacement has a single-piece tailgate and the boot lip-height has consequently been raised.

Having a low loading height was one of the old Outlander’s best attributes, and we think it’s a shame that the split gate has been deleted.

ON THE ROAD

At the bottom of the range, the 2013 Outlander is powered by a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated petrol four, with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard or an optional CVT automatic. All 2.0 litre Outlanders are front-wheel-drive.

Surprisingly, the 110kW/190Nm 2.0 litre engine didn’t feel as underwhelming as we expected. Married to the CVT it wasn’t exactly quick, but it wasn’t breathless either.

It’s also relatively smooth and quiet - unless near its 6000rpm redline. The 2.0 can struggle when faced with a serious incline, or with weight in the back, and you’ll need the revs up to push along.

The 2.4 litre petrol is a more relaxed device although it produces only 124kW and 220Nm - just 14kW and 30Nm more than the 2.0 litre.

It’s got decent torque around 4000rpm, but the throttle mapping is too sensitive: half-throttle sees the CVT pegging revs at a high 6000rpm (where peak power is made).

Generally speaking, the Outlander’s CVT isn’t one of the best around. Kickdown performance is slow and it’s indecisive under acceleration, constantly shifting rpm as it determines what ratio is best.

It should also be mentioned that two 2.4 litre Outlanders experienced CVT overheating issues and went into ‘limp-mode’ during the drive. With the CVT being the only transmission for the 2.4 litre petrol, there’s no way around these issues.

The situation is more rosy with the diesel. A 2.2 litre turbodiesel four, the diesel replaces the previous petrol V6 as the most muscular motor in the range, with 110kW and a substantial 360Nm of torque.

Diesel clatter is barely perceptible at idle; for general refinement, this is certainly one of the best diesels in this segment.

It’s so smooth and quiet throughout its rev range, we kept glancing at the tachometer to double-check that yes, were were in fact driving the oiler.

Backed up by a six-speed conventional automatic, the diesel’s drivetrain is also a winner. It’s got the right ratios to make the most of the 2.2 turbodiesel’s strong midrange torque, and it shifts early to keep fuel consumption down.

In terms of dynamics, the Outlander - in both 2WD and 4WD variants - is predictable, grippy and reasonably agile. There’s good resistance to body roll too, but the steering is too light for our liking.

On the Aspire’s 18-inch wheels, there’s abundant tyre roar on coarse chip asphalt, and the ride can be jittery on roads that are less than glass-smooth.

The base model 2WD Outlander ES actually handles and rides the best, with less weight to shift and taller sidewalls to help soak up smaller bumps and reduce road noise.

FIRST DRIVE VERDICT

Finally available with a diesel, with this engine the new Outlander is at its absolute best.

The vast improvements in interior quality, space and comfort also merit a tick for Mitsubishi, but not so good is the compromised load-carrying ability.

The CVT in the petrol models is also a very ordinary transmission, and pricing is on the high side of the mid-size SUV segment.

But some traditional Outlander strengths remain, like quite good grip and the availability of seven seats - a rarity in this vehicle class.

However, on size and price, the Outlander is more like a large SUV. As such, it competes with seven-seaters like the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento - both of which are compelling offerings.

Certainly, the new Outlander is better than before, but there’s still room for improvement.

Pricing

  • Outlander ES 2.0 litre petrol manual 2WD - $28,990
  • Outlander ES 2.0 litre petrol CVT 2WD - $31,240
  • Outlander ES 2.4 litre petrol CVT 4WD
  • Outlander LS 2.0 litre petrol CVT 2WD - $34,990
  • Outlander LS 2.4 litre petrol CVT 4WD - $38,990
  • Outlander LS 2.2 litre diesel automatic 4WD - $40,990
  • Outlander Aspire 2.4 litre petrol CVT 4WD - $43,490
  • Outlander Aspire 2.2 litre diesel automatic 4WD - $45,490

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Filed under: Featured, review, wagon, petrol, diesel, awd, suv, outlander, mitsubishi outlander, automatic, Manual, fwd, CVT, family, medium, Advice, special-featured, 4cyl, 5door, 6a, 5m, 7seat, 2013 mitsubishi outlander, 2013 outlander, 5seat, available, 40-45k, 25-30k, 30-35k, 45-50k, 2013my

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  • Nobody says,
    2 years ago
    Hi Tony

    How is this in comparison with Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2litre diesel?

    Cheers.
    • WarrenY says,
      2 years ago
      What are the service intervals & warranty Tony?

      Is it a normal AWD or 4WD? Did you get to try off road?

      Do we know what it's tow rating/down ball weight is?

      There was also little mentioned of what each trim grade entails.
    • Ward Paterson says,
      2 years ago
      2 likes
      Santafe looks better and with more power.

      What is going on with styling these days. The CX-9 looks butt ugly, and so does this!
  • Paza says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    smile Extremely pleased with the new company car. Having driven it about 6,000k now. I have driven many cars over the years and all i can say is Mitsubishi goodonya. Very well engineered engine to gearbox marriage for smooth effortless power delivery. Economy that beggars belief.

    sad Just a little sound deadening wouldnt go astray and some more nooks and crannies to hold some more stuff would be nice also.
    • Craig says,
      1 year ago
      2 likes
      I agree Paza. I went from a 2011 X-Trail to the Outlander and overall a much better car. The only thing I miss is all the storage the X-Trail has.
  • jj says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    yey!! i got the copper LS auto demo yesterday with only $27,000 driveaway and only 2500kms on the clock (it's 29,990 driveaway at the moment way down from 34,990 not d/a just a few weeks back), 5 year warranty, 4 years capped price servicing and 5 years roadside (only got floormats and cargo tray as free though), really cheap
  • vin says,
    2 years ago
    3 likes
    I am thinking to buy LS 4WD 7 Seat @ $32,989. Is it worth at this price?

    What extra can i grab from dealer?

  • Phil says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    Our company updated with Outlanders a month ago. Pleased overall but my car has an annoying rattle/ vibration coming from the behind the front interior light fixture on co*** roads at 100k's. As most of my driving is country this is really annoying. Mentioned it at the 1500k inspection but was not corrected
    • Craig says,
      1 year ago
      Hey Phil, Got my LS 4WD about 2 months ago, exact same noise - dome light on roof, kicks in as I get around 90-100km/h. When I got it serviced the bloke told me that they had another one with the same problem. They put a whole new dome light in, but it only went quiet for a few days. I'm waiting on new roof racks and when they arrive they're gonna have another go at fixing it. If they find a fix for yours please post for me.
      • karen says,
        1 year ago
        Hello Phil

        I am about to buy an LS, Was wondering are you happy with the product.
        • Craig says,
          1 year ago
          Hi Karen,

          Apart from the dome light noise detailed above, its a great car, I love it. Fuel economy is amazing, its comfortable, rides well and tows my boat brilliantly. I think it was great value. The dome light noise is being addressed next week when they put my new roof racks on.
    • Craig says,
      1 year ago
      Hey Phil, my 4WD LS petrol auto is 2 months old, and has had the exact same problem since I got it - rattle behind the dome light, kicks in at around 90-100km/h. Local Mitsubishi dealer has had 2 goes at fixing it, including replacing the dome light but it still rattles. Bloke told me that they've had another car in with exact same problem. I'm waiting on new roof racks, and when they arrive I'm going to get them to have another go at fixing it.
    • Ken says,
      1 year ago
      Hi Craig,
      How did you go with dome light vibration? My LS is doing the same thing mad
      • Craig says,
        1 year ago
        Hi Ken,

        Seems to be an issue with them, I've heard of a few cars now. I guess I'll find out Wednesday (21/08/13). My roof racks are being installed that day and they said they're going to fix the rattle then. See how we go.....
        • Ken says,
          1 year ago
          Thanks Craig, please keep us postedsmile
          I will book an inspection with the dealer to get it looked at.

          Other than that - very happy with the outie.
          • Craig says,
            1 year ago
            1 like
            Me too Ken, I love my car, fuel economy is amazing. Let you know how I go on Wednesday
            • Craig says,
              1 year ago
              Hi Ken,

              Got the roof racks today and they fixed the rattle. The bloke was telling me that their foreman was recently on a course in Sydney and Mitsubishi were aware of the problem and taught them a fix for it. I'm really happy with the result.
              • Ken says,
                1 year ago
                Thanks so much Craig.
                I am booked in for Monday at the dealer smile
                And yes love the economy for its size.
                • Craig says,
                  1 year ago
                  No worries Ken. It's not actually the light that's rattling but some part in the roof.
                  • Ken says,
                    1 year ago
                    Took it to the dealer today but looks like they couldn't fix it. On the way back home same annoying rattle above dome light on Country type roads. On normal roads its quiet as.
                    • Craig says,
                      1 year ago
                      Hey Ken,

                      Can't believe it. My rattle only stayed away for a few days, then slowly came back. Only rattles at certain speeds on certain roads, and never seems to rattle in the morning (I guess when cold), and some days it won't do it at all. Took it back to the dealers and the service guy took it home overnight, he lives about 40km from work - so he got a taste of what I'd been copping. They had it for 2 days, and now they reckon they've licked it. Something about bolts in the roof, over tightening makes it as bad as too loose, they've got it at the right tension (they believe) now. Fingers crossed. Don't think they were game enough to give it back until they were satisfied. Take yours back, make them do the same.
                      • Ken says,
                        1 year ago
                        Hi Craig,
                        Hope it stays fixed for you and yes on some days it never happens.
                        Are you by any chance in WA?

                        Regards
                        • Craig says,
                          1 year ago
                          1 like
                          Na Ken,

                          other side of the country!!!
                          • f says,
                            1 year ago
                            1 like
                            Hi Craig, I am from Europe, owner of the same type of car for 8 months. Same issue with the headliner appeared for a while. If it seems to be fixed by the dealer, could you ask them for the technical details?
                            • Ken says,
                              1 year ago
                              Any luck with this issue?
                              My car has a similar issue and dealer hasn't been able to fix bleh
                              • Ken says,
                                1 year ago
                                Any luck with this issue?
                                My car has a similar issue and dealer hasn't been able to fix
                                • Craig says,
                                  1 year ago
                                  1 like
                                  Hi Ken, its been a couple of months now, but the last time they had it they seemed to fix it. They tightened some bolts in the roof to the correct torque and all sorted. I just did a 800km round trip and not a peep. The service guy took mine home for the night so he got a feel for it. My dealer is John Oxley Motors in Port Macquarie. Get your guy to contact them.
                                  • Ken says,
                                    1 year ago
                                    Thanks again Craig!
                                    Hope they fix it this time biggrin

                                    Thanks
                                    • Craig says,
                                      1 year ago
                                      Good luck Ken. It's so annoying that such a little thing can really ruin the whole new car feel. Particularly when otherwise the car is brilliant!
                                      • Ken says,
                                        1 year ago
                                        Exactly, I love the outlander and this annoying rattle ruins it.
                                        I live outside Perth and most roads here are your typical country roads.
                                        Of course the dealer is in city so they probably can't reproduce the issue.

                                        I am booked in this Friday again fingers crossed

                                        Will update how it goes.
                                        • Craig says,
                                          1 year ago
                                          Good luck on Friday Ken.

                                          I had my 15,000km service today and I asked the bloke whether they'd had more cars with the rattle. He said that they had a new fix for the problem and they're all good. Make sure your dealer looks into it properly.

                                          I reckon you're right about the city dealership. Mine would only do it on those co*** bitumen roads when you were doing at least 90km/h.
                                          • Ken says,
                                            1 year ago
                                            Hi Craig,
                                            Took it last friday to a different dealer, they seem to have fixed the issue as no rattle since then (touchwood).


                                            This dealer seems more friendly and was forthcoming about the issue.

                                            Does your ls has mmc with sat nav?

                                            Regards
                                            • Craig says,
                                              1 year ago
                                              1 like
                                              mine has mmc but no sat nav. Mine is a 2013, they brought the sat nav in for the latest spec in ls (along with 18" rims and roof rails). A friend ordered her car about week after I got mine, and she was spewing as hers was about $2000 more from the same dealer. It was only when she got the car she realised it was different. To me no big issue, don't need sat nav, and 18" rims only make the ride harder, and the car less stable off road. The roof rails are a nice touch but no deal breaker.
                                              • Ken says,
                                                1 year ago
                                                1 like
                                                Yes i was wondering how come the newer model has sat nav too but then higher price too dry
                                                Mine also is same, no satnav and plain mmc touch screen system.
  • FrugalOne says,
    1 year ago
    5 likes
    You can currently buy a MY13 ES Outlander, auto/2wd for $23,000 DRIVEAWAY

    Cheaper than a ASX and also a genius "smart mivac" has improved the economy amazingly

    A WINNER at the coin
  • Rob says,
    1 year ago
    Bought my LS Diesel a few months ago. Very disappointed with the road noise. My 2000 Challenger is more quiet even with chunky tyres.
    The Outlander economy is good, could do with more storage pockets though.
  • Dennis says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    I brought my Outlander LS in May. July receive a recall. Electronic Power Steering Computer may fail. Part not available and do not know when. Last week the Audio System broke down. No audio, no mobile phone, no rear view camera. Again not available. When I brought this Outlander payed for Roof Racks and Dash Mat still awaiting. Again told none in Australia and do not know when be delivered. Not happy with this lemon.
  • John Smith says,
    1 year ago
    Hi everyone. Can any owners please comment on the space in the 3rd row?
    Also there are many comments on the fuel efficiency. Could you please tell me what sort of figures you are getting and what model engines, transmissions and 2wd/4wd you have?

    Thanks!
    • robert says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      smile I was a Subaru fan. I made a big decision bought a Outlander Aspire Diesel 4WD in August 2013. I took six adults up to snow mountain two weeks ago that the average is 6.3l/100kms.
      I drove on M7 M5 in NSW visited client even better 5.8l/100kms.
      I would like to suggest anyone who are think of buying outlander get 6 speed Auto
      • robert says,
        1 year ago
        mad
        smile I was a Subaru fan. I made a big decision bought a Outlander Aspire Diesel 4WD in August 2013. I took six adults up to snow mountain two weeks ago that the average is 6.3l/100kms.
        I drove on M7 M5 in NSW visited client even better 5.8l/100kms.
        I would like to suggest anyone who are think of buying outlander get 6 speed Auto


        I have to inform every one don't buy any 2013 Outlander Aspire DID engine.
        My Outlander 2013 Aspire had a faulty transmission assembly due to faulty seal between transfer case and transmission assembly. I was impress the fuel consumption after done 1500kms but got a faulty transmission box at 4400kms still waiting for the new part. DON'T buy Outlander.
        • Auntpjk says,
          1 year ago
          Hi We have a 2013 Outlander diesel, first registered May 2013. The faulty seal also went between the transfer case and transmission assembly at 9000klm. Has yours been fixed to your satisfaction? Have you had any further problems with the car. Have waited 5 weeks, got car back on Monday only to return it on Tuesday because we could hear a wirring sound, think also the front differential or gearbox. Anyone else with similar problems, and what was dealers/Mitsubishi's attitude.
          • JMC says,
            10 months ago
            We have a 2013 LS auto , (reg July 2013) noticed a problem with auto before 500kms- included an oil / transmission leak on garage floor, flat spot when driving, made you uncomfortable when driving - at 1st service was told that no problems were found. Not happy brought service manager home to view the oil on garage floor. Car back for further checking, still no help. Waited for Mitsubishi Service dudes to be in town, more time, not driving car much, too worried. MIT men decided we are to get a brand new transmission just have to wait another 7 seven weeks coming from Japan! Great- brand new car & we go nowhere over the hols! Finally new transmission arrives, car gone 3 days- loan car given- car returned. Thought all ok but noticed a shuddering when driving& today the car died twice for my husband- both times at intersections! Alarm light on dashboard says ASC service required? WTF? This car had only done 5000kms & it shut down he was braking at intersections- bitumen road in the city!! This is a short version of our conversations with the dealer- about to start very loud complaining now "I Bought A Lemon!" Very sad, we've had MIT Utes for 8 years......
    • Craig says,
      1 year ago
      Hi Simon,

      3rd row is pretty good. I've actually sat in it a couple of times, but only on short trips. Because you can adjust the second row it is really versatile. I used to have Prados, and they're a big car but I reckon the Outlander 3rd row is better. I reckon fuel economy is great. Mine's a 4WD LS petrol with CVT. I genuinely get around the 7.5-8L/100Km in normal driving around. That's a mix of town and short highway trips. A good easy run and it'll average around 7.2 on a good day. I've worked out that eco mode helps by making you drive smoother (seems to make the throttle a bit slower to respond), but you can get the same fuel economy with eco switched off if you drive carefully. Having said that, I leave it on pretty much all the time.
  • Karen says,
    1 year ago
    We've had our LS Diesel for 4 1/2 months - couldn't ask for a better all rounder. It handled blizzard conditions going up to Charlotte's Pass, didn't have any problems handling the slippery surface, sat itself solidly on the road & we felt safe the entire time. Fuel economy is brilliant & it proved reliable & stable again on a recent very wet run up & down Macquarie Pass. Only issue is a slight rattle that happens on rough roads, but hey, turn the music up a little & you can't hear it. Anyone know why we can't fold 2nd row of seats flat? Thought we could but either we missed a bit in the instruction manual or it just can't be done.biggrin
    • Craig says,
      1 year ago
      Hi Karen,

      yeah you can fold them flat. You have to pull the seat (the flat bit) up first. Just grab the front and pull. It then folds vertical against the front seat. Then you'll see a lever under the seat. Flick that and the back of the seat folds flat. Pretty good room then.

      Read above about that rattle. Everyone's had it, but there is a fix.

      I've got the LS petrol which I love. But I think if I went again I'd go diesel (and maybe an Aspirebiggrin )
      • Aidan says,
        5 months ago
        I've got the rattle near the inside light. Took me a while to locate it as I'm totally deaf in one ear! But I bought a cheap stethoscope on ebay and tracked it down. My Mitsubishi Service people (not the dealer I bought it from) have had one go at fixing it by putting some padding around the bracket. This was a bit odd as the person I spoke to when I booked it in knew what the problem was and how to fix it. But he was not there when I took it in. Obviously not all the Mitsubishi mechanics know about this. So I'll have to take it in again. Bit of a nuisance as I live out of town. Other than that I'm very happy with the Outlander after 23000km. It was recalled for the transmission issue, but mine wasn't one of the defective ones (I hope!).
        • David says,
          4 months ago
          I had the rattle too. My dealer couldn't fix it so after a lot of messing about and a year later I found the problem and fixed it. If you take the light fitting out, you can see an small thin sheet of metal at the rear of the opening attached to the frame of the fitting. In my case the fitting, when installed, was close to this sheet of metal so that on a rough road the light fitting and the sheet of metal vibrated against each other making the rattle. I fixed it by bending up the sheet of metal so that it would not contact the light fitting when it was re-installed.
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