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Mitsubishi Outlander

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2004 - July: Mitsubishi Releases Significant Changes to its Outlander SUV. Mitsubishi’s Outlander AWD wagon gets a heart transplant, with 20% more power gained through the introduction of a 2.4 litre SOHC four-cylinder MPI engine with MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve lift and timing Electronic Control).

2003 - Mitsibushi Motors has just released the AWD Outlander wagon, which was designed and built right here in Australia.

Launched at the start of this month, the Outlander is offered with two price-lines - the entry level LS, and the sporty XLS.

Glossing over some of the first pictures, Mitsubishi's new AWD looks very much like the Subaru Outback - just with a more pronounced nose - despite Mitsubishi stating that their new vehicle is "distinctive" in "a market where most small AWD's more or less look the same".

Up close and on the road the Outlander may be a different story, and while it may not amaze in the design department, it certainly comes loaded with safety features and added extras.

The entry level LS gets power steering, windows and mirrors, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM radio with CD and four-speaker audio unit, illuminated glove-box and a rear roof spoiler with high-mounted stop lamp.

The sporty XLS models gets all the above features and adds five-spoke 16-inch alloys, front fog lamps, roof rails, side airbags, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift lever, six-disc CD stacker, electric sunroof, anti-lock brakes and a large rear spoiler.

Like every good AWD, Outlander boasts a host of integrated safety features: RISE (Realised Impact Safety Evolution) monocoque body construction, driver and passenger front air bags and ELP lap-sash seatbelts.

The body has undergone considerable stiffening for added strength, as well as to reduce noise and vibration transmitted from the suspension. Standard on the XLS and optional on the LS model are side SRS airbags - integrated into the front seats.

Compared to the 3.0-litre engine in the Subaru Outback, the Outlander is powered by a 2.4-litre SOHC 'Balance Shaft' 16-valve four-cylinder engine. Maximum power of 100kW is developed at 5000 rpm, while maximum torque of 205Nm is developed at 2500 rpm.

Ther Outlander is available in a selection of colours - Diamond White, Blade Silver, Cyclone Grey, Offshore Blue, Rose Red and Amethyst Black - and is priced at $31,990 for the LS model, and $37,490 for the XLS.

For $2,500, an optional Safety Pack, incorporating ABS, side airbags, in-dash 6-CD stacker and white instrumentation, is available for the entry level LS.

Photos courtesy of Mitsubishi Australia.

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