Always very capable, the Mitsubishi Triton has had a loyal following in New Zealand, even with its slightly off target looks.
The panels seem less angular by flowing into one another and the jagged edges seem to have been removed.
The 2016 spec carries over the same 4-cylinder, 2.4L engine pushing out 126kW, connected to a CVT transmission to push the unit along.
As with many CVT transmissions the old model had a hint of revs but no go, but for this latest version the Mitsubishi engineers have had the laptops and spanners out and changed that characteristic. Re-calibration has resulted in a much quicker response when you press the 'loud' pedal and everything seems a smoother. MMC says re-working the transmission has reduced torque losses by about 25% and fuel consumption by around 4%.
Out on the road the engine appears quite lively and noticeably quieter than the old model; helped by lessons learned from the Hybrid project, hence the use of better sound deadening materials, thicker glass and thicker door seals.
The ride is also tauter, especially on winding or undulating roads, which we are told is the result of extra body strengthening upgrades to the rear dampers and a revised electric power steering system.
The interior is a nice place to be, given the use of high grade leather on this top-of-the-range version and seats firm, but not uncomfortably so.
Some might find the interior a little bland, but it appears practical and easy to look after, so it should be durable; tweaking of the detail includes the use of soft touch surfaces.
As part of the VRX package front seats get power adjust and memory, and heat for cold mornings; dual zone climate control is standard and a powered rear tailgate is a godsend when arriving at the car with lots of shopping.
With seven seats spread over three rows it's certainly a family mover, and though the third row would suit only occasional use by very small people, it folds down to give a flat floor load area.
The second row splits 60:40, useful for odd shaped cargo; if this and the third row are folded flat, the resultant load space is vast – good for same-day take home if you buy, say, a wardrobe during weekend shopping, or if you decide on an impromptu camping trip to the wop wops.
Technology wise Outlander is up there with the best: it has electronic 4WD offering eco mode (2WD augmented by 4WD when required), 4WD auto that adapts to drive on-the-go, and 4WD lock that deals with tough off-roading.
Hill start assist, active traction control and active stability control take charge of changing conditions, and multi-mode ABS and electronic brake-force distribution bring things decisively to a stop.
Keyless entry makes access a breeze, and push button start/stop brings the motor to life.
On the open road adaptive cruise control and forward facing collision avoidance add to safety, as do rain sensing wipers.
The central display shows information on the trip and 4WD settings, a 7 inch centre console touchscreen controls audio and communications – and it has a SATNAV system, and a rear view camera aids parking and trailer hitching.
The Outlander warrants a close inspection: it ticks a lot of boxes if you're looking for a mid-sized SUV.