Mitsubishi Outlander driven
If you don't get excited by driving, perfectly acceptable. But there should be something more to it than that, no?
Despite TopGear's most arduous protestations, there won't be a 360bhp Evo-esque version of the brand-new Outlander.
This is because, apparently, the Brains of the World have decreed that climate change has endangered the African leaf-eating monkey, and it must be saved at all costs. Clearly, it is this that has forced Mitsubishi's hand in designing the new Outlander.
Although it sits on the same platform as before - the so-called GS (Global Sharing) platform - it's been significantly redesigned to allow the fitment of a plug-in hybrid system in the near future. So most of the components underneath are new.
This means that when that model arrives in the third quarter of 2013, we'll see an Outlander capable of 53.45kpl and targeted emissions of 50g/km. Fifty.
For the time being, we'll have to make do with the 2.2-litre diesel and 4WD. While 2.0-litre petrol and 2WD variants exist, UK demand is geared towards this diesel 4WD set-up. And it's a fine unit - cleaned up from before, it offers 148bhp and enough torques to chunter along from school to supermarket with haste. Although some horses seem to have escaped from the current model - a consequence of making it cleaner for our monkey friends - it's still a tenth quicker to 100kph than before.
And, like before, it's still a competent machine. The steering is acceptable - if a touch slow for the ably wristed amongst you - and there's plenty of grip. The 6spd manual is fine and precise, but to us, the 6spd auto is better suited to this car. You won't be downshifting like a helmeted pro, but it's smooth, quick when you want it and docile when you're pottering. And that's the real strength of this chassis - refinement.
The rattlesnake locked up in the cylinders of that four-pot appears to have had its snout zipped shut, because inside, the diesel noise only becomes apparent when you explore the enthusiastic reaches of the rev range. And the suspension, at least on lightly rutted German roads, filters out the rubbish to leave you feeling serene. One could argue, though, that this comes at the cost of a somewhat forgettable drive...
So then, can this Outlander platform be used for other, more memorable applications (i.e. the next Evo)? Mitsubishi didn't rule it out, merely suggesting: "We'll have to see." That's not a denial. We're still holding out hope for that 360bhp 4WD Outlander, mind.
2268cc, 4cyl, 4WD, 148bhp, 380Nm, 16.67kpl, 146g/km CO2, 0-100 in 11.2secs, 190kph, 1610kg
If you don't get excited by driving, a perfectly acceptable way to ferry kids and clobber around. Lacks something more, though.