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Mitsubishi Outlander vs Kia Sorento review

Tough new diesel Mitsubishi Outlander aims to build on success of the hybrid model. We head off-road to test it against Kia’s Sorento

Mitsubishi created a lucrative niche with its Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid SUV, but what if a petrol plug-in doesn’t fit the bill? The off-roader range has just been updated, so we tested the top-spec GX4 diesel model to see what it offers over its electrically assisted sibling – as well as what it’s like compared to one of its toughest rivals. 

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If you cover plenty of miles or want a more robust vehicle to tackle some rough terrain, the diesel model will likely suit you better. This market is crowded, though. The Kia Sorento, which received a commendation at our 2015 New Car Awards, is a rugged off-roader that retains the brand’s dependable roots yet continues Kia’s charge upmarket.

Best 4x4s and SUVs to buy right now

As a result, prices have risen, so the KX-3 model tested here is a considerable £4,346 more than the Mitsubishi. But does this translate into a more practical, indulgent seven-seater, or are you better off buying the cheaper model?

Head to head

Usability

The Kia is the more versatile seven-seater in almost every measurable form here. On top of the details we’ve already mentioned, it features clever sill protectors that open with the doors, so you don’t get muddy trousers when climbing into the car after going off-road. It’s touches like this that edge the Sorento ahead of the Outlander.

Quality

While the Mitsubishi is now more tempting thanks to its refreshed looks, it can’t match the Kia for quality. Both cars will appeal to families, but you can fit adults in the rearmost seats in the Sorento, while the Outlander will only take children – and the Kia feels more expensive inside.

Design

The Outlander’s visual updates work well, especially the big chrome inserts. These cars feature big graphics and bold grilles, with clever light treatment to make them more recognisable. Both are also available with lots of personalisation accessories. 

Verdict

1st place: Kia Sorento

It’s more expensive, but the Sorento will be much cheaper to run than the Outlander. There’s more to this victory than that, though, as the elegant design, practical and premium-feeling interior and strong refinement all add to the Kia’s considerable appeal. Performance is strong as well, while the ride comfort ensures it’ll cope effortlessly with family road trips.

2nd place: Mitsubishi Outlander

The updated Outlander is clearly an improved package – not least the design. It’s more comfortable as well, but the engine and transmission are still more agricultural than the Kia’s and not as frugal. However, with a cabin packed full of equipment and attractive pricing, the Mitsubishi ticks all the right boxes if you’re after a big SUV on a budget.

Other options in this category...

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium (7 seat)

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Price: £32,445 Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 197bhp

Kia’s sister company Hyundai also offers a seven-seat SUV. The Santa Fe looks smart and has plenty of kit; and as it uses the same powertrain as the Kia, it’s good to drive. Premium trim gets lots of features, but is still attractively priced.

Land Rover Discovery Sport SE TD4

Price: £32,395 Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 178bhp

Land Rover Discovery Sport - front cornering

The entry-level Discovery Sport SE falls into the Sorento and Outlander’s price bracket, and with the new Ingenium diesel, the ‘5+2’ seat model is a great buy. It’s our favourite compact SUV, blending quality and off-road ability in a stylish body.

Figures

 Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDI KX-3Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2DI-D GX4
On the road price/total as tested£35,845/£38,175£31,499/£31,499
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£17,374/48.5%£12,899/41.0%
Depreciation£18,471£18,600
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£2,137/£4,273£1,575/£3,150
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,290/£2,150£1,880/£3,134
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost26/£731/G/£18027/£591/E/£130
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£349 (3 years)£700 (3 years)
   
Length/wheelbase4,780/2,780mm4,695/2,670mm
Height/width1,685/1,890mm1,680/1,810mm
Engine4cyl in-line/2,199cc4cyl in-line/2,268cc
Peak power/revs197/3,800 bhp/rpm147/3,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs422/1,800 Nm/rpm380/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/4wd6-spd man/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel71 litres/full-size60 litres/space saver
Boot capacity (7/5/2 seats)142/605/1,662 litres128/591/1,608 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,932/658/2,500kg1,600/660/2,00kg
Turning circle11.1 metres10.6 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery7yrs (100,000)/1yr5yrs (62,500)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20,000 miles (1yr)/17012,500 miles (1yr)/113
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.19th/14th27th/18th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars90/83/67/71/594/83/64/100/5
   
0-60/30-70mph9.0/9.5 secs9.8/10.1 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.7/7.0 secs3.7/5.5 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th7.5/9.7 secs7.5/11.0 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph124mph/2,000rpm124mph/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.4/34.8/8.9m49.0/35.8/9.1m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph67/45/62/70dB74/52/65/73dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range46.5/10.2/726 miles31.9/7.0/421 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined37.2/53.3/46.3mpg45.6/58.9/53.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined8.2/11.7/10.2mpl10.0/13.0/11.7mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket163/161g/km/30%234/164g/km/30%
   
Airbag/Isofix/park sens/surround camSix/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/£148/yes
Auto box/stability ctrl/adaptive cruise£1,755/yes/yes£1,400/yes/yes
Climate control/heated leather/HUDYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Met paint/adaptive LEDs/keyless go£575/yes/no£500/LED/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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