Review: Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial (2013)

Rating:

Good to drive, tight turning circle for a 4x4, positive gearchange, strong yet refined 2.2-litre diesel engine, PHEV version offer decent economy.

Limited appeal for tough work, carpeted load area will wear easily, has lost the split tailgate of its predecessor.

Recently Added To This Review

6 February 2013 Mitsubishi launched the new Outlander 4Work

The all-new Outlander will be available with a redeveloped version of the established Mitsubishi 2.2-litre 16v DOHC diesel engine, which now produces improved low-end torque, superior fuel economy and... Read more

Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial (2013): At A Glance

While the market for 4x4 based vans may not be a big one, that's not to say there aren't some very capable and strong models available. They're ideal if you want a commercial vehicle with four-wheel drive that can handle genuinely tough terrain but don't require full sized van. It's no surprise to see them proving popular with utility companies and rural police forces.

Mitsubishi has its fair share of 4x4s with commercial versions of the Shogun and ASX along with the Outlander. This latest version moves more upmarket with better refinement and improved comfort. It's powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine with 149PS which gives impressive performance, even when fully laden. Yet it's still quiet and rarely has to be worked hard. That's down to the 380Nm of torque available while economy is good at a claimed 53.3mpg.

PHEV versions return CO2 emissions of just 41g/km, while advertised fuel consumption of 166mpg and an all-electric range of 33 miles promises low running costs. 

As it's based on the latest Outlander passenger car, the commercial version comes with a good cabin. It's far better than many rivals with a solid and well-built feel. It gets all the basics right with comfortable seats, good sound insulation and a forgiving ride. It comes with plenty of kit as standard too including climate control, electric windows plus automatic lights and wipers. It's impressively safe too with seven airbags and a five star Euro NCAP rating.

Sadly it has lost the split tailgate of its predecessor, replacing it with a standard tailgate. That means no handy shelf for loading or working on. The load area is carpeted too which seems wrong in a car designed for outdoor work. It won't suffer much abuse before it starts to wear. A rubber floor would have made more sense. On the plus side there is a steel mesh bulkhead between the cabin and the load area, although it does rattle a lot on the move.

Where the Outlander shines is on the road. It's comfortable on the move while a small turning circle makes tight manouevres much easier than in many pick-ups. On the motorway it's quiet with a forgiving ride making it ideal for long distance work. The four-wheel drive system is on-demand but there is a 4WD Lock setting for extra traction if you're venturing properly off road.

What does a Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial (2013) cost?

List Price from £23,891 +VAT
Buy new from £31,995 +VAT
Contract hire from £257.00 +VAT pm
Lease from £261.00 +VAT pm

Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial (2013): What's It Like Inside?

Surprisingly Mitsubishi has dropped the split tailgate of the old Outlander. It was one of its real strengths, making it easier to load and unload and providing a useful little area for working on. Instead the Outlander has a conventional tailgate which does at least have a very wide large opening although there is a pronounced load lip.

The wheelarches intrude into the load area too but the most baffling thing is the carpeted load area. For a commercial vehicle this seems very odd and won't last long with even mild abuse. Payloads are generally respectable, with the diesels offering up to 685kg. Hybrid versions offer roughly 500kg, with the weight reduced due to the heavy battery pack.

The conversion from passenger car to commercial vehicle isn't the slickest though. The rear windows are fixed in place and boarded from the inside, while the rear door cards are the same as the car version, rather than smoothed over for easier loading. The steel mesh bulkhead comes as standard but it rattles and doesn't feel particularly well integrated either.

What's the Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial (2013) like to drive?

Thanks to its refined 2.2-litre engine the Outlander doesn't feel like your everyday commercial vehicle on the move. The engine is quiet yet strong thanks to 380Nm of torque that peaks from just 1750rpm. It pulls strongly in gear too, even with a full load on board and has a surprising turn of pace for a commercial vehicle. Official economy of 53.3mpg is decent enough while a 60-litre tank means you won't need to keep refuelling it.

The Outlander Commercial is also available as a plug-in hybrid, which provides exemption from many congestion and pollution charging zones. It also qualifies for the Government plug-in grant, which contributes 20 per cent towards the list price, up to a maximum of £8000.

The PHEV has revised suspension compared to the diesel Outlander, mainly to cope with the weight of the half a tonne battery pack. While the ride quality is largely soft and comfy, in the spirit of most SUVs, it cannot fully alleviate the basic tendency crash down heavily on unpredictable road surfaces and potholes.

The biggest problem with the PHEV is that it’s extremely difficult to keep it using its battery alone. On paper it makes a compelling case. It will do 25 miles of electric driving at speeds up to 70mph if the battery is full – a battery that’s 80 per cent replenished within half an hour if plugged into a fast charger. However, spirited driving sees the battery go flat way before the 25-mile mark.

In comparison, the diesel rides very well too with a forgiving suspension set-up that thankfully doesn't wallow. So you can happily take country roads at a decent pace and with confidence in the cornering ability. The steering is another highlight with good response - not always the case with many pick-ups. Overall it feels a solid and well-screwed together 4x4.

It's also surprisingly manoeuverable for a 4x4 with a tight turning circle and has a robust six-speed gearbox in which fourth, fifth and sixth gears have been optimised for better fuel economy. It has a nicely positive shift with a suitably rugged feel. In fact refinement is only let down by the rattle of the mesh bulkhead.

While it doesn't have a dedicated low range transfer box like a Land Rover Defender, the Outlander is still pretty handy when you take it off road. And for more than just the odd gravel track or wet field - even on steep inclines in heavy mud it copes admirably. It has an on demand four-wheel drive system. which runs in front-wheel drive mode -  or 4WD Eco as Mitsubishi calls it - the majority of the time, saving fuel.

When it detects a loss of traction the system directs power to the rear wheels. Of course there is also a 4WD Lock mode for more serious terrain. Rather than a dial, the system is simply controlled through a big 4WD button just behind the gear lever.

Real MPG average for a Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial (2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

76%

Real MPG

38–43 mpg

MPGs submitted

3

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.