Outlander gets a new exterior 'look' that features a narrow front grille, wrap-around headlights and a body shell that is more aerodynamic. Outlander's exterior is less chunky than the outgoing model; you can clearly see a simple design that demonstrates Mitsubishi's new corporate styling language. Of late, the Japanese firm has to a certain extent fallen off the radar for many - let's hope this fresher design will reinvigorate the brand.

The SUV features (on all but the entry model) a clever four-wheel drive system that, combined with the large cargo area, is the real appeal of Outlander. Stop/Start technology features, too, and helps Outlander deliver excellent fuel economy for its class. Another reason to take a serious look at Mitsubishi is the new, industry-leading, eight-year/150,000km warranty that is now standard on all its passenger cars.

Inside, as you would expect from Mitsubishi, the cabin features a lot of black. The seats, dash and trim materials – all black. The standard tinted privacy glass also reduces ambient light inside. The build quality and overall interior feel is not quite up there with the premium players in the class from BMW and Audi but decent all the same.

The additional two rearmost seats pop up from the floor with the pull of a strap. These seats are improved and although access to them is best attempted by kids, small adults who have done a few stretches will be able to manage it, too. When the seats are folded flat the boot area is impressive. Mitsubishi Ireland is offering just one well-specified trim level with Outlander. Some of the goodies you get include: cruise/limiter control, air-con, Bluetooth via the stereo, USB connectivity, multi-function steering wheel, fog lights, a host of driver aids and safety features. And the list goes on.

Outlander in Ireland is powered by just one engine: a 2.2-litre, DI-D direct injection diesel that pushes out 150bhp and 380nm of torque. The 'Clean Diesel' engine, as Mitsubishi calls it, is as the name suggests and very economical, too.

On the road Outlander feels and performs like an SUV. The added ride height and suspension travel mean you will feel a certain amount of roll when cornering. The Mitsubishi-built engine is eager and delivers power in a smooth manner. The driving position is commanding and all round visibility is good.

Prices start at €34,950 for the two-wheel drive only, five-seat, tax band 'B' version. That will be the big seller, but for those of us who still believe an SUV should have at the very least modest off-road capabilities, €36,950 gets you a four-wheel drive and seven-seats version with a manual six-speed gearbox. If you want an automatic, the asking price is €39,950. The auto sits in tax band 'C' and is available in seven-seat form only, or as we really should say, five-plus-two seats.

Fifteen-hundred Outlanders have found homes in Ireland since its launch over five years ago. It has always been an honest and appealing one-stop-shop machine. Outlander's four-wheel drive capability, plus its compact design, makes a lot of sense when you need a car for all seasons.

Michael Sheridan