Mitsubishi Outlander: A suitable family SUV

What you need to know:

Not to be confused with the smaller Outlander Sport, the Outlander is a midsize SUV that seats up to seven people in three rows, making it the perfect family vehicle.

When you look at the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander, you will notice that some, if not all motor vehicle manufacturers have started making small sized sport utility vehicles (SUVs) that come with relatively smaller engine sizes yet still serve the same purpose as bigger SUVs. The Mitsubishi Outlander is one such car.

Engineered with a 2400cc in-line petrol engine, the spacious interior of the Mitsubishi Outlander is fitted with seven seats, making it a suitable family SUV. Besides the five traditional front and passenger seats, the other two seats are in the trunk. These can be folded to create space for luggage.

On top of having speakers on each door, to equitably distribute sound throughout the car, there is also an additional well amplified subwoofer in the trunk for maximum music output. There is, therefore, no need of supplementing the manufacturer’s inbuilt speakers with an external one.  

The seven-year old car comes with Bluetooth as a standard infotainment feature, steering wheel controls and a hard plastic dashboard with a leather coating, making it easy to clean. Like most SUVs, the Outlander comes with a four-wheel drive (4WD) system whose on and off button is positioned between the driver and co-driver’s seat. It can be engaged and disengaged as and when needed, depending on the road terrain.

My test drive of the Outlander on a Saturday afternoon started at Cadam Car Bond in Lugogo, Kampala. From the start, I realised that it has only covered 40,255km, which by Ugandan standards, is still a fairly new car. Apart from passing off as a slick car, the Outlander has full time daytime running lights (DRL).


Its dashboard features include a medium-sized smart screen and steering wheel controls that allow you to operate your phone without physically holding it to destruct you from paying attention on the road. When you pair your phone to the car Bluetooth system, it allows you to make phone calls hands-free.

It is fitted with all-round cameras that give you a clearer view and surrounding of the exterior of the car through the smart screen when driving or parking. When driving, the Outlander’s paddle shifters allow you to drive the car in manual or automatic transmission. To select the driving gear from one to six, you push down the right paddle located behind the right hand side of the steering wheel to the gear you want. And to drive in a lower gear, you lift the left paddle positioned on the left hand side, also behind the steering wheel.

The Outlander can be driven in two modes; standard and eco. I noticed that the eco-mode is better since it allows you save fuel.

“It (Eco-mode) makes the car more efficient without compromising performance. It turns off the engine when driving in traffic jam but the car air conditioning system remains operational. This mode has the automatic start and stop function. When you accelerate, the engine starts automatically and this allows you save fuel,” says Mujib Tusuubira, a car dealer at Cadam.


On the other hand, the Outlander is a perfect off-roader, and this is where the standard mode comes in. For instance, as I drove through the Kira to Kasangati Road, which is under construction, when I engaged the standard mode, the ability of the vehicle to gain and pick up more performance power through the engine was evident.

You feel the engine rev without dragging while also increasing speed with a gentle step on the accelerator. This does not in any way impact its fuel consumption since from Lugogo to Ntinda via Najjeera, Kira, Kasangati, Gayaza Road to Kyanja, Kisaasi, Bukoto and eventually back to Lugogo, I used approximately three litres of fuel.   

A brand that is not so common among private motorists, except government agencies, the Mitsubishi Outlander 2016 model rivals the Toyota Harrier, the Mercedes Benz ML, the Land Rover Freelander, Volkswagen Touareg and Tiguan, the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail and the KIA Sorento and Sportage, among other compact sport utility vehicles.   


According to Tusuubira, when you acquire this car, you should not worry about maintenance costs since its upkeep is no different from any other car.

“Respect its service schedule. There are reasons why second hand or used cars can still be driven for some time before they eventually develop mechanical faults. Those that survive are well maintained in their countries of origin. To serve you well, you also have to service it on time,” Tusuubira advises.

Do not expect to drive this car and go beyond the mileage at which you were recommended to do service and expect it to perform as a well maintained car. One damaged part may cause damage to another. For example, old engine oil may damage the oil filter and can lead to an engine knock. The earlier you service the car, the better the condition it will be in. 

On average, the Mitsubishi Outlander costs between Shs70m to Shs80m. However, the cost may vary, depending on the year of manufacture, car specifications and mileage it covered before being imported into the country.