Mitsubishi’s Outlander offers a practical and reliable vehicle

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The Mitsubishi Outlander makes an interesting left field choice if you’re looking for a reliable, well-equipped seven-seater that’s keenly priced and decently screwed together.

There’s just the one engine on offer, and it’s a decent 150PS 2.2-litre diesel, mated to an all-wheel drive chassis.

There’s not a great deal of choice when it comes to the mechanicals.

Although other markets get a petrol engine and a choice of front or four wheel drive, Mitsubishi UK has decided to keep things simple and instead just offer one diesel engine with a four-wheel drive chassis.

Although it’s 105kg lighter than its predecessor, this is still quite a big chunk for a 150PS engine to shovel along, even if the engine has been tweaked for a bit more low end boost.

Peak torque arrives between 1,700 and 2,500rpm, so you’ll need to work the six-speed gearbox quite diligently to stay on top of things.

If that’s too much like hard work, choose the six-speed auto option with its steering wheel paddles for manual override.

The auto does add 1.5 seconds to the manual car’s sprint to 100km/h, stretching it out to 11.2 seconds.

Both cars register an identical 124mph top speed.

A good deal of development budget has been spent on improving the Outlander’s refinement and more sophisticated engine mounts, thicker glass and improved sound insulation materials have all been fitted.

Electric power steering with passive rear steer also feature although the Outlander is not the sort of vehicle you’ll throw around on the long way home.

Initial reports have agreed that the ride quality can be a little unsettled on surface imperfections and we await a full appraisal of the vehicle on UK roads.

Is this Outlander a better looking car than its predecessor?

That’s a subjective call.

The second generation Outlander’s front end was always reminiscent of the Lancer Evo which can only be a good thing.

The Evo’s dead and buried now, so Mitsubishi has to move on.

I’m still not certain that what it’s moved on to in the case of this MK3 Outlander will work for British buyers, but the Mazda CX-5 is no great looker and that’s shifting units quite quickly in this same segment.

This Mitsubishi’s slab sides, long overhangs and lugubrious face don’t lend it much in the way of visual athleticism, but much of that will be forgiven when you get inside.

If you’re hankering after something spacious, relatively affordable, super-reliable and which can seat seven, the Mitsubishi Outlander muscles its way into contention.

It’s not the best looking car we’ve ever seen, but if you’re not too concerned about winning beauty contests and prefer more practical considerations, it’ deserves a place on your shortlist. Here’s a very capable family contender with more space than a Freelander-style compact 4x4 and more all-round capability than a Qashqai-like Crossover.

In other words, if the obvious contenders don’t appeal, here’s one that just might.