First impression are always a make-or-break moment; and that includes the first time you buy a car. I remember telling a car dealer once that “if you’re going to sell me something, my first reaction better be ‘Wow’.”
More than 50 percent of our minds are made up from that first impression, and if it’s a good impression then it just has to not mess it up; but if it’s a bad one, it’s pretty much an uphill climb from there.
In this case, the Mitsubishi Outlander not only makes a good impression, but also quite literally, easily manages an uphill climb.
Mitsubishi has cultivated a reputation for building reliable SUVs and pick-ups. In fact – as my mind flashes back to the Lancer Evo, I realise the Japanese carmaker builds reliable and powerful cars all round. In its SUV range, the compact ASX and full-size Pajero Sport have carried the flag quite proudly over the last few years, giving Mitsubishi space to focus on the middle ground with the all-new 7-seater Outlander.
On a recent test drive to Johor, I got to put the pedal to the metal and burn rubber to the road as I put the Outlander to test.
Available in Metallic Red, Pearl White and Metallic Grey, the Outlander is a beautiful car - sleek and yet imposing, finished off with just the right amount of chrome and stylish LED headlamps. Just as shoes maketh the man, the exterior is completed with 18-inch dual-toned alloy wheels.
The interior is also just as sleek and simple with leather seats and all the toys we’ve come to expect: touch screen centre console, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, voice activation and sunroof. Sitting in any of its 7 seats, I was never short of comfort.
On the road
“The fast lane is clear,” are five words that are music to the ears of a speed demon. Flooring the gas pedal receives a smooth response from the 2.4-litre 4WD. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) doesn’t kick the car back like an automatic but rather roars it to life and sends the speedometer on a fairly quick climb. The Outlander hit 160km/h with ease and, on a straight, got up to 180km/h with no signs of being pushed too hard.
It also helps that steering is very responsive and feels light as a feather with an excellent turn radius for an SUV of its size. We exited the highway for a narrow and windy stretch along the old interstate roads where I tried my hardest to get the Outlander to slip or slide but it refused to. The 4WD system comes in three modes – Eco, Auto and Lock – but I stuck with Eco and it never disappointed.
Apart from the stability and traction control that kept it firm on the road and easy to drive, the Outlander also comes with 7 Airbags, strategically distributed throughout the vehicle to maximize safety. For parents, it also has child seat anchors.
One of the biggest draws of an SUV has to be the amount of space you can eek out of it and the Outlander has plenty of space to boot. The second and third row fold away to give 1,608 litres of cargo, the best currently available in the crossover SUV market. To put that in perspective – a single-bed mattress can comfortably fit in for anyone particular to glamping.
Even with only the third row folded over, the Outlander had plenty of room to fit in four mid-sized luggage. You could easily load up for the family vacation, hit a button on the tailgate and watch it close on its own.
On the face of it, the only possible downside to the Outlander is the lack of rear air-cond vents; however, on our testing, even through the mid-day sun, the front vents did a wonderful job of cooling the car down and keeping it cool throughout.
As I turned the car in after a thrilling drive back, I could safely conclude that from the city to the highways, to the windy roads and up the hills; from first impressions to the last - the Outlander certainly wows.
The Mitsubishi Outlander will hit the roads at the introductory price of RM166,720 in Peninsular Malaysia and RM168,488.40 in East Malaysia for cars booked and registered before 31 May 2016.
For more information or if you’re interested in getting one yourself, visit Mitubishi Malaysia’s official website or call the Mitsubishi Motors Customer Careline at 1800-18-6611.
Scroll through the gallery below for full exterior and interior photos: