Long termer: Mitsubishi Outlander - First Report
Within minutes of the delivery driver handing over the keys to me, I was planning the first task for the Mitsubishi Outlander – our new long term test car.
And what a task I had for it – transporting all of my worldly possessions from one side of the country to the other as I relocate nearer to the office.
And how did it fare? Rather admirably, actually – getting me from Hampshire to Kent and back in speed and comfort; slightly unsupportive seats notwithstanding. With both sets of rear seats folded away, nearly everything I've ever owned slotted happily into the boot – and I don't travel light.
Even the traditional new-flat IKEA trip wasn't a problem. I didn't fancy negotiating an unwieldy double mattress into the load bay, but it did swallow 1.8 metres of sofa without too much difficulty.
"I wasn't sure if that would fit!" I said to the employee who helped me lift it in. "Well, it's a big old motor!" he replied. High praise indeed from a man that works in a store the size of Texas.
It doesn't handle too badly either, I reckon. A seven-seat, 2.5 tonne SUV was never going to out-corner a Mazda MX-5, but the Outlander isn't half bad. The automatic gearbox and 2.2-litre diesel engine make for more of a relaxed drive than a spirited one, but it's not a bad pairing.
First gear though – as Mr Baggott warned me – is a little on the inflexible side, but certainly nothing to write home about. As a closet boy racer, I even liked the ridiculously bass-heavy Rockford Fosgate stereo – if not the traffic jam stares I received as its rear subwoofer shook nearby windows.
There's one thing I couldn't get on with, though: the sat nav. It directed me to and from places reasonably enough, but it's no TomTom competition in the interface department. Everything looks a bit Windows 95, and it's voiced by a terrifying female prison guard-like character – barking orders out of the speakers a little too firmly for my liking. I couldn't work out how to input postcodes either.
It had a bit of a fit when I tried to plug in my iPod, too – co-operating with it once, but sadly never again. Happily Bluetooth streaming worked just fine, but it's a shame that these niggles are still present.
I'm rather pleased to see something with four-wheel drive appear on the fleet. In fact I'm so pleased that I'm even hoping for cold weather. Bring on the snow, I say.
Model: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D GX4 4WD Automated Manual
Engine: 2.2-litre, four-cylinder
Power: 154bhp, 380Nm
Max speed: 123mph
MPG: (comb'd): 39.4
Total mileage: 3,270
Costs this month: £0
This month's highlight
My move to Hampshire went very smoothly thanks to this 'big old motor'.