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 Leisure

The Outlander

20170116_132629
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4

17th March, 2017

By ERIC BAGANG

Four-wheel-drive vehicles are synonymous with Sabah and judging from the number of such vehicles on Sabah roads, it is not going to change in a very long time.

But as the road conditions in certain areas are improving, so are the four-wheel-drive vehicles where they diversify in terms of shapes, sizes, equipment, and even names.

The young adults nowadays are more familiar with the terms SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) Softroader and Crossover, than 4X4 or even 4WD.

While we are at it, let us look at Mitsubishi Motor Malaysia’s latest offering, the Mitsubishi Outlander, a medium sized or C segment all-wheel drive, seven-seater wagon.

I had the opportunity to drive the Outlander for a good five days in Penang recently, an experience that I consider very pleasant based on its price bracket and the equipment offered in this compact SUV.

Having lived and driven in Penang more than a decade ago, I recalled that driving through its notoriously known narrow multilane roads was a breeze and sometime fun. But that was a sedan, while this one is a seven-seater four wheel drive wagon.

As I was handed the key and shown around the vehicle, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not as big as the SUVs I am familiar with back in Sabah.

But still, driving it out of the showroom for the first time and entering the narrow multilane road during peak hours was quite unnerving as the Outlander’s high seating position was giving an impression of a bigger vehicle.

After a couple of kilometres and a few turns later, I became familiar with the vehicle’s actual size and dimensions, so driving it on narrow roads shared by all types of vehicles including motorbikes, became more comfortable and pleasant.

The ride was comfortable for a four-wheel-drive yet it felt solid, and the cabin was noticeably quiet with muffled engine sound and minimum tyre and wind noise.

The Outlander is packed with modern features normally found on higher end vehicles such as keyless entry and push start system, automatic headlights and wipers, electric tailgate with anti-pinch, dual zone climate control, heated front seats, sunroof, and adaptive cruise control, among others.

In the safety department, the vehicle is equipped with seven airbags, Active Stability Control, Hill-start assist, ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Parking sensors, as well as reverse camera.

Powered by a 2.4 litre DOHC MIVEC engine churning 166 horse power to all wheels via a CVT transmission, the Outlander felt nimble enough in the stop and go traffic but felt a little heavy when all the seats are occupied. Nevertheless, it is still powerful enough for everyday driving and is capable of reaching high speed without losing its composure.

A dash on the old Penang Bridge proved that the SUV was capable of reaching 180 kph and beyond. Most of the five days I spent with the vehicle, it would be full of passengers, and it was proven to be a very practical for daily family commute.

With the third row seats down, the boot space was large enough to carry several medium-sized luggage bags and some shopping bags.

When it comes to fuel economy, the Outlander’s fuel consumption is quite reasonable where its 60-litre tank of petrol delivered some 400km mileage although 70 percent of the drive was in city stop-and-go traffic.

As the saying goes ‘have wheels will travel’, I had the opportunity to tour the whole Penang Island and even the mainland covering all types of road and traffic condition including traversing through hills in Balik Pulau.

Relating the experience to the road condition and terrains in Sabah, I am very confident that the Outlander is a capable and suitable vehicle for a small family in the state.

Its multi-select four wheel drive system, coupled with its 19-cm ground clearance is making the vehicle more than capable in tackling the rough rural roads in the state while its fresh good looks and its comfortable and refined ride make it fits nicely in the city.

As the Mitsubishi Outlander is fully imported from Japan, its price tag is higher than most of its competitors that are assembled in the country.

For those who are looking for a new ride, it is worthwhile to consider the Outlander.

   
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