2015 Mitsubishi Outlander VS 2015 Nissan X-Trail
Introduction & Summary
The Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-Trail are no newcomers to the region. Hailing from Japan, the compact crossovers have been around since the year 2001, and over the past fourteen years, the similarities between the two have grown significantly stronger.
With both in their third generation of production, powered by similar sized engines, and wearing similar price tags, lining them up for a head-to-head comparison seemed like the right thing to do. A combination of city traffic, off-road jaunts, and daily driving over five days, however, revealed that one clearly has the edge over the other.
Styling & Design
A narrow chrome grille and headlights which slice their way into the fenders to create a contour that runs the length of the vehicle, is about the only thing that helps the 2015 Mitsubishi Outalnder attract some attention. Complemented with 16 inch twin-spoke alloys and a chrome strip adjoining the tail lamps, design influences from the previous generation models are clearly evident.
Inside, the Outlander welcomes piano black trim to the centre console and faux carbon fiber to the dashboard and door panels. Adding to its rather dated feel, is a simplistic radio system, three varying hues of plastic, and a monochromatic digital display nestled into the instrument cluster.
At the other end of the spectrum, is the 2015 Nissan X-Trail. With its arrow-headed LED’s integrated into the headlamp clusters and generous use of chrome along the door handles and window lining, the X-Trail has gone through more of a design revolution, as opposed to a mere evolution of previous models.
Swathed in leather, the cabin of the X-Trail is significantly nicer on all the senses. Following a flowing horizontal layout, the dashboard gives the impression of a much roomier cabin and unlike its rival, the X-Trail will actually have you believe you’re seated in a vehicle that belongs to the 21st century.
Brining a fully automatic A/C system, a USB port, and a CD player as standard equipment to the table, the basic variant of the Mitsubishi Outlander may seem like good value at first, but be wary, for it isn’t what it seems.
Hop into a similarly priced Nissan X-Trail and you’re sure to be caught off-guard. Bluetooth connectivity, a rear view camera, automatic headlights, an auto dimming rear view mirror, cooled cup holders, and a panoramic roof that stretches past the second row of occupants, are just a few features which even the top of the line Outlander lacks.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Pumping out 165 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 222 Nm of torque from its 2.4 litre 4-cylinder engine, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander carries its 2,210 kilogram weight to touch the 100 km/h marker in a reasonable 11.2 seconds. Mated to a CVT transmission that offers a Sport mode, the Outlander holds revs at a higher point, creating an extremely prominent drone in exchange for acceleration with a certain sense of urgency.
Fitted with an electronically controlled Four Wheel Drive system which offers an Eco and Lock mode, the Outlander is capable of tackling some off-road action, albeit, not as comfortably as the X-Trail. Feeling lethargic and making its dissatisfaction known, the Outlander isn’t as willing as its name connotes, to indulge in the soft stuff.
Also offering a CVT transmission, is Nissan’s X-trail. However, with seven makeshift points mimicking a seven speed transmission, it’s a tad bit more engaging to drive. Pushing out 170 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 233 Nm of torque at 4,000 RPM from its marginally larger 2.5 litre 4-cylinder engine, the X-Trail offers more power and manages to be more efficient too – sipping the better half of 11 litres for every 100 kilometres, as opposed to the Outlander’s 13 litres for every 100 kilometres fuel rating.
Encircled by a ring of chrome, is the X-Trail’s All Mode Intelligent 4×4 knob which sits along the centre console. A simple twist to the right, and it swaps into Auto mode, distributing power to the front and rear wheels as it deems appropriate. A tap of the traction control switch, however, and there’s the option to lock power delivery, too. Sending fifty percent to the front and the remaining fifty to the rear wheels, it’s accompanied by a Hill Descent Option as well.
Keeping in mind that owners’ of the X-Trail are unlikely to venture off-road very often, the boffins at Nissan have targeted their efforts into making the compact SUV a more capable on-road vehicle, than one suited for the rough stuff. Evidence of this is found in technologies such as the Active Ride Control and Active Trace Control systems.
Monitoring the road surface to detect undulations and minimize the vibrations to the body and thus within the cabin, the benefits of the Active Ride Control system are felt either when taking speed breakers a little too quickly, or simply driving over a patch of gravel. Abating the ripple motions felt through the cabin, the X-Trail offers a ride that is undoubtedly more stable than that of the Outlander at lower speeds.
The Active Trace Contol system on the other hand, drastically reduces understeer, as it aids in maintaining a line when taking turns with the help of onboard sensors to monitor speed, steering angle, throttle opening and braking effort, to individually brake wheels and deliver better traction. It’s quite similar to torque vectoring, really.
Though both, the Outlander and the X-Trail offer steering that falls on the lighter side of the spectrum and cruise control to aid when driving over long distances, stability at highway speeds is definitely something the Outlander bags points for. Unlike the fluttering hood and waltz into the next lane that the X-Trail performs whenever it is caught in the crosswind of a moving vehicle, the Outlander’s feet remain planted to the road more sturdily.
Comfort & Practicality
Neither the Outlander nor the X-Trail are very large vehicles, and while that makes them easy to navigate around the city, they aren’t exactly what you’d want to squeeze seven seats in, let alone seven people. I guess, it makes sense then that Nissan refers to the X-Trail as a 5+2 seater, while a similarly priced Outlander brings just 5 seats with it.
With no issues for the driver or front seat passenger as far as space is concerned in either of the two crossovers, hopping into the rear seats reveals a slightly different picture. While the Outlander is reasonably spacious and offers reclining seats for the second row of occupants, it doesn’t offer the option to slide the seats for more leg space, or even rear A/C vents for that matter.
On the other hand, the X-Trail’s 7 seats may seem like an afterthought at first, since the last two seats almost guarantee adults will have to sit with their knees against their ears, but a look around and there’s cup holders, storage compartments, and a 12V socket to make the trip a little more pleasurable.
Offering seven seats, the 2015 Nissan X-Trail obviously takes a hit on boot space. With only a little more than the length of an average human palm available with all seven seats in an upright position, the X-Trail’s boot is barely capable of carrying 135 litres of cargo. Knock the last row seats down, however, and there’s 550 litres on offer, significantly more than the Outlander’s 477 litres.
Price & Verdict
The Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-Trail may indeed wear similar price tags, be powered by similar engines, and even have similar transmissions directing power to their respective wheels. And while on paper pitching one against the other seems like a fair thing to do, in the real world, there is one clear winner.
Compared to the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander, the Nissan X-Trail almost feels like it is offering a sneak-peek into the future. Sure, it can argued that while the X-Trail has just been released this year, the Outlander received its most recent update in 2013 and thus the difference, but there’s a more pressing issue at hand.
Wearing a price tag of AED 89,000 and offering a 3 year warranty, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander feels extremely overpriced, simply because at AED 94,000 the X-Trail brings with it a boatload more of features, refinement, and a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty. You could say it’s a case of rival annihilation…