18 May 2021

Used Car Review: Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)

Last year, lots of Kiwi families looking for a practical used family-friendly SUV turned to the Mitsubishi Outlander.

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Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)
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Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)
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Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)
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Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)
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Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)
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Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)

In fact, it had the largest share in the used SUV segment at two-and-a-half per cent (2,877 units sold). This was a strong win over its closest rival - the Nissan X-trail - by over 500 units.

So this got us wondering – why are so many Kiwi motorists attracted to the Mitsubishi Outlander? We tracked down a used imported Outlander from 2012 (which, according to Waka Kotahi NZTA’s data, sold 922 units in 2012 when new).

Let’s see what all the fuss is about…

Well Proportioned

The 2012 Outlander is relatively compact for a seven seater – it’s just 4,640mm long and 1,800mm wide, so it won’t dominate your driveway. For reference, the current-gen Mitsubishi Outlander is 55mm longer and 10mm wider.

The exterior of our test model had a few stand out features, such as aftermarket matt black wheels wrapped in performance tyres, and a stylish blackout side skirt. For enhanced visibility, a mirror is mounted on the left front quarter panel, which could come in handy for navigating tricky terrain.

Another neat feature is the rear bumper that incorporates a foldout tailgate, which is sturdy enough to sit on and can accommodate up to 180kg. This is a feature that is sometimes seen on American cars, and we can imagine it would be handy after a sports game to pull off wet or muddy shoes.

Comfy interior with a surprise tailgate

It’s quite simplistic on the inside of the 2012 Outlander. Our model did, however, feature a more premium trim, with a more luxurious feel like the leather detailing and stitching on the dashboard and door panels.

The front and middle row seats were also finished in leather and were comfortable even for longer journeys. The front seats have the bonus of being heated via an inconspicuous button on the seats themselves between the center console.

The seats on the third row have a more industrial feel to them, and seemed a bit like a troop carrier from the Sixties with very large but thin headrests and finished in plain fabric. These seats are accessible by flipping the center seats forward. They’re definitely designed for children and they certainly wouldn’t be the most comfortable for larger occupants, particularly on longer journeys.

The center console had three sizable cup holders along with a bottle holder in each door panel, so there’s plenty of storage on offer. There was even the bonus of a petite cutesy foldaway cup holder to the right of the steering wheel.

There’s the nice addition of an upper and lower glovebox, making it easy to find a convenient place to put all of your items. You won’t find any dedicated USB ports on the 2012 Outlander, but there are two conventional 12V cigarette lighter sockets housed in the center console which can be utilised to charge your devices.

As with many other models of this year, the heating and cooling controls are quite simplistic and have a robust appearance, without the use of any flashy display screens.

The built-in Japanese infotainment system included Bluetooth so you could stream your favorite songs through the stereo. The sound system sounded clear and appeared to be a good quality aftermarket unit.

Confident Ride

The steering of the 2012 Outlander was fairly weighty and not as light as we expected. The ride was very smooth with its continuously variable six-speed gearbox (complete with the Invecs-III manual shift mode).

The noise from inside the cabin surprised us by not being too noisy, especially considering the aftermarket wheels that were fitted to our test model.

The 2.4-litre engine delivers 125kW and 226Nm of torque and doesn’t feel overly strained on the motorway. It’s not as economical as the models seen today though, with fuel efficiency of 9.3L/100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 212g/km.

The power is divvied by a 4X4 on-demand system, which can engage automatically when front wheel slipping is detected to deliver power to the rear wheels.

There is also multi-select AWC (All Wheel Control) mode, which is electronically controlled by the drive mode selector and 4WD lock.


The Mitsubishi Outlander is a well-priced family friendly recreational vehicle that is well suited for Kiwi tastes - load up the family and cruise smoothly to your holiday destination.

And, if the going gets tough the AWD system can get you out of sticky situations.

At a glance

Model and year

Mitsubishi Outlander (2012)



Date Tested



$19,985 (+ORC)


2.4-litre, 125kW, 226Nm


Six-speed CVT

Fuel economy, CO2

9.3L/100km, 212g/km

Towing capacity




Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

541-litres (third row folded)

Safety features include:

  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Airbags
  • ESC
  • Cruise Control
  • All Wheel Control (AWC)
  • Central Locking - Key Proximity

For more information on safety ratings visit rightcar.govt.nz

Choosing your next used car?

An AA Preferred Dealer is a Motor Vehicle Trader that has been certified to meet our standards of quality. We recommend that anyone looking to buy a used car visits an AA Preferred Dealer. Our series of checks on used cars gives drivers peace of mind that the used car they’re interested in buying isn’t hiding any secrets.

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If you don’t have an AA Preferred Dealer near you, find a used vehicle that has had an AA Appraisal. Cars that have had an AA Appraisal have received a 43-point mechanical check by the AA, which focuses on the mechanical and safety aspects of the car and gives an overall evaluation of the vehicle.

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Thank you to AA Preferred Dealer City Motor Group for supplying us with the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander for review. For similar listings, click here.


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