The Mitsubishi Outlander is a mid-sized four-wheel drive estate car that can fit seven people in – at a pinch. Its road manners are pretty good and it’s got enough off-road ability for most owners too.

Motoring journalists tend to love it or hate it, so it’s definitely worth driving the Mitsubishi Outlander before you buy one, just to make sure that you’re a fan!

The interior of the Mitsubishi Outlander is generally neat and ergonomic, although one tester did say that it was a “bit bland and low rent” – “durable rather than inspirational” might be the best way to think about it.

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It comes with seating for seven although the third-row of seats are a thin, flat bench with limited legroom, so they are probably best considered suitable for emergency use only. The boot is huge and the split tailgate (a la Range Rover) is much more useful than you’d imagine.

The Mitsubishi Outlander can be driven in either front-wheel drive or 4WD – assuming, of course, that you’ve paid the extra for the all-wheel drive transmission. Front-wheel drive is for road use and can be switched into 4WD on the move, with the power being adjusted and split up to 70:30 either way depending on which wheels have the most grip. There is also a full off-road mode that locks the torque split at 50:50 between the front and rear axle and is designed for use off road when traction is severely compromised.

On road the Mitsubishi Outlander drives well and is more like a car than its lofty stance would suggest. It’s not a fast car but most owners will find that the available performance is more than enough for their needs.

The off-road performance of the Mitsubishi Outlander  is more than enough for most drivers, although you shouldn’t go picking on Land Rover Discovery drivers, as they’ll win in the rough every time!

Mitsubishi only offer the Mitsubishi Outlander with diesel options, but that’s OK as they’re great engines that the reviewers were very positive about. They suit the car well and are refined and fairly fuel-efficient.

There are currently two engine on sale for the 2012 Outlander, both 2.2 Diesels. The 156bhp SST which is an automatic and the 174bhp which is a manual.

The best gearbox is the SST (first used in the epic Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X), which can be used as a fully automatic gearbox – although it is far more efficient than a ‘standard’ auto – or as a flappy paddle manual gearbox. It’s a great gearbox that road testers loved.

Value for money
Mitsubishi make a two-wheel drive version of the Mitsubishi Outlander, but you really are better off paying the extra to get the full four-wheel drive transmission.

Otherwise the Outlander is good value, with great diesel engines and a lovely SST gearbox. Mitsubishi make reliable, durable and functional cars, so it’s unlikely that you’ll break one easily. Depreciation will be fairly high though, due to the relatively high running costs and lack of strong badge appeal.

Worth noting
The second row of seats is flipped flat electronically at the touch of a button – and it only takes three seconds!

Reports on the Mitsubishi Outlander ’s desirability vary. Some road testers love it, with one saying that it is “Mitsubishi’s finest offering, managing the blend between off-roader and family car very well indeed.” Others aren’t so sure and think that other cars do the same job better, including the Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Qashqai+2; one journalist said, “the Outlander is unjustifiable next to the similarly priced rivals.”

The Mitsubishi Outlander is an appealing car, but be aware that many rivals do the same thing better.