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Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-DC

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The original Mitsubishi Outlander had no chance with petrol power but the latest model looks much more like it with a choice of diesels of which the 2.2 DI-DC is the range topper. adi reports

Scratch the surface of the world automotive industry and youll uncover a tangled web. Car manufacturers that you thought were battling tooth and nail for your business often turn out to be different arms of the same global conglomerate. Even rival marques that lack these kinds of hard and fast links are regularly found to be cosying-up together in some kind of technology sharing partnership. With so many similar products on similar platforms, using similar technology, success or failure can hinge on who manoeuvres most effectively in the market place, forming the right alliances at the right times.

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Mitsubishi is never one to duck out of the wheeler-dealing and some astute brokering looks to have put its Outlander 4x4 in a strong position.

Mitsubishi originally brought the Outlander to market with 2.4-litre MIVEC petrol engine developed in conjunction with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai. A reasonably modern unit, it did a decent job of getting the Outlander around but for European 4x4 buyers, it had one major drawback. It wasnt a diesel.

Launching a 4x4 without an oil-burning engine in Europe is like launching a collection of fur-lined balaclavas in Jamaica. Its not really what the local market demands. Lacking a diesel engine suitable for its compact 4x4, Mitsubishi did what any sensible car manufacturer would do and set about trying to borrow one. The results were promising.

Todays second generation Outlander has two competitive diesel engines but the deal that secured the 2.2-litre DI-DC for Mitsubishi saw Peugeot and Citroen get their own versions of the Outlander. The question is was it a fair swap? When the second generation Outlander emerged, it was powered exclusively by a strong 2.0-litre DI-D diesel powerplant sourced from Volkswagen.

That engine was quickly followed by the unit we feature here, the 2.2-litre DI-DC common-rail diesel that was developed by Peugeot. The VW lump uses direct injection technology to generate 138bhp but the larger capacity Peugeot engine uses common-rail architecture and puts out 154bhp. Torque is also superior in the DI-DC unit with 380Nm available at 2,000rpm compared to 310Nm at 1,750rpm in the DI-D but the biggest difference comes in terms of refinement.

The 2.0-litre engine is far from agricultural but the 2.2 is noticeably smoother and less noisy. It piles on its power in a more progressive fashion too.

The 0-62mph time is 9.9s, nearly a second quicker than the other diesel, and the top speed is 124mph.

"The Outlander puts in a polished performance on the road"

The Outlander drives extremely well for a compact 4x4. The steering has a nice weight to it and theres a firm, mechanical quality to the gearchange. The dreaded body roll that afflicts many of the lesser efforts in this sector is well suppressed by the firm suspension and ride comfort on long distance jaunts is also out of the top draw. If you had to pick fault, it would be with the ability of the springs and dampers to soak up the imperfections that litter our minor roads but most would happily take this slight firmness in exchange for the cornering poise it helps to produce.

The Outlander is a 4x4 vehicle and its All Wheel Control (AWC) transmission is controlled by a chunky dial behind the gear lever. The technology forges a close link between the four-wheel drive system and the Active Stability Control program, so that it can switch smoothly from two wheel drive (for better fuel economy on road) to a locked four-wheel drive mode when it gets really slippery underfoot. You can also lock it into 2WD or 4WD mode as required using the rotary dial. Its the Outlanders 7-seater capacity is perhaps the main factor that sets it apart from many of the other compact 4x4 products on the market.

The Hide and Seat third row of seating is big enough for smaller children but definitely a no go area for adults. The middle row is a different story with excellent amounts of legroom even for taller passengers. The seats are mounted higher than those in the front so that children can get a good view out but this does restrict headroom a little and may be a problem if youre over six feet tall. The boot is very large too so there should be plenty of space for all the paraphernalia of family life.

The Outlanders styling is typical 4x4 stuff and Mitsubishi has plenty of experience in this line having been producing 4x4 products since well before it was fashionable to do so. The interior holds to smart minimalist themes with clean surfaces and large controls that couldnt really be easier to operate. The plastics quality isnt great. The heating and ventilation dials feel cheap and the flip-top lid on storage bin built into the dash is on the flimsy side.

Mitsubishi certainly hasnt kept the Outlander to itself. The platform has gone to Peugeot and Citroen in exchange for their 2.2-litre DI-DC engine but it was developed in partnership with Daimler Chrysler so it also forms the foundations of models like the Dodge Caliber and the Jeep Patriot. Even Mitsubishis own high performance Evo X model shares its basic underpinnings with the Outlander.

The 2.2-litre DI-DC unit is only available in plush Diamond trim at ?26,995. This places the Mitsubishi in rarefied company at the mid to upper end of the compact 4x4 sector. Although its equipment levels are extremely generous, the likes of Land Rovers Freelander and Hondas CR-V do have the edge in terms of quality.

The Outlanders 7-seater capacity may prove crucial in persuading buyers. The Diamond trim level really does pile on the equipment. Theres a roof-mounted DVD player and a stonking stereo system by Rockford Acoustic Design. Full leather upholstery is included on all bar the third row of seating, theres a sunroof when its hot, heated front seats when its cold and climate controlled air-conditioning when you cant quite make your mind up.

The exterior gets various touches of chrome to liven things up and safety provision includes front and side airbags plus curtain airbags for rows one and two. Electronic stability control is standard on all Outlanders. The 2.2 DI-DC engine manages 38.

7mpg economy on the combined cycle which is close to the 41mpg of the 2.0-litre DI-D alternative. The Outlander is a weighty vehicle so top line fuel economy was never going to be on the agenda and the 194g/km CO2 emissions put the vehicle in a high tax bracket. On the plus side, Mitsubishis reputation for producing sturdy 4x4 products is well established and this should give the outlander an edge over other the brands that are comparative newcomers to the sector when it comes to residual values.

The compact 4x4 sector is looking increasingly crowded these days. It seems every manufacturer and its dog has rushed to get in on the act but with a finite number of buyers to go round it looks like being a serious scrap over the next few years. Mitsubishis Outlander is in a strong position to ensure it isnt one of the casualties. By forging alliances with DaimlerChrysler and PSA Peugeot Citroen, Mitsubishi has ensured its product it technologically competitive and the brands longstanding reputation as a 4x4 manufacturer of note should give it a head start.

The Outlander puts in a polished performance on the road with its 2.2-litre DI-DC engine proving a smooth operator and the chassis exceeding expectations. The interior is spacious so long as you keep out of the third row but its that extra seating capacity that will give the Outlander an important advantage. Build quality seems robust but there are question marks over some of the plastics and the 2.

2-litre DI-DC unit doesnt come cheap. The engine pushes the Outlander up onto the same plain as some handy rivals but there is whole bundle of equipment included to sweeten the deal.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-DC
PRICES: ?26,999 on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 16
CO2 EMISSIONS: 194g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 9.9s / Max Speed 124mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 38.6mpg [combined]
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front, side and curtain airbags, ABS with EBD, AWC
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/With/Height [exc roof rails] 4640/1800/1680mm

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not excatly pajero is priced 18.81 lacs ex-showroom delhi...... well if you see at it's 2.8ltr turocharged diesel engine.... and it's 4x4 drive..... well if you are not into looks and want a true SUV for real off-road experience than pajero is the best SUV..... (I own one too....smiley4.gif)

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