For a car with all-wheel drive and an ability to seat 7, the Outlander impressed with its performance behind the wheel.
Although only having 167PS and 222Nm, the 2.4-litre engine is pleasantly smooth and energetic. It won’t see off pesky turbo diesel taxis, but if you are not in a hurry it does not feel like a sluggard. Only when you want to pick up pace hurriedly do you notice the heft of the car and inefficiency of the AWD drivetrain. You will also feel its weight upon braking, with the car requiring more anticipation than expected to come to a stop.
There are three modes to its AWD system – Auto, Lock and Eco. I stayed on Auto most of the time and to be honest, in traffic driving you can hardly feel the AWD system working at all (especially with such a modest power output). You might as well put it to Eco mode, which then puts power down to only two wheels instead of four, saving you precious fuel and contributing to the impressive 12.8km/l consumption figure.
The CVT gearbox is also remarkably good. It’s smooth, very responsive and when on manual override with the paddle shifters, feels convincingly close to a conventional automatic.
Overall, the Outlander is a delight to drive, tackling highway speeds with refinement and small roads with well-judged damping and body control.