Passenger 4x4s converted to light commercials are rare; since Kia’s withdrawal when the old Sportage ended production, only Land Rover, Mitsubishi and Nissan offer products.
The Discovery is the plushest of commercial vehicles, while the LWB Shogun 4Work matches it in size and pricing terms. Which leaves the cheaper Outlander with only the Nissan Pathfinder for company.
Based on the seven-seat 4x4 Outlander, which has passenger car, though not light commercial, siblings from Peugeot and Citroen, the LCV is converted in the UK. That means it’s exactly the same in the cabin as the passenger version, offering a level of car comfort and material fit and finish not familiar to most LCV drivers.
Keeping it simple, there’s only one model, the 4Work, which is well kitted courtesy of standard climate control, passenger airbag, heated door mirrors and cruise control.
Power comes from an all-new 175hp 2.2 diesel that, even for a car engine, is refined, smooth, powerful and generally impressive. The figures stack up well too, with power up 21hp over the old engine, yet major efficiency gains. The fuel economy figure is 44.8mpg and CO2 emissions are down 12% to 165g/km.
A half-height standard bulkhead with mesh upper separates the two front seats from the carpeted load area, which is accessed from either one of the rear doors, or via the split tailgate that offers a handy drop-down element to ease loading. But practical loading isn’t an Outlander selling point. It’s handy being able to open what used to be the rear passenger doors, but the decent heave up to lift loads into the back, combined with the inability to easily clamber in to extract or secure whatever’s in the rear, mean only certain specific application will make sense. Though a reasonable 1.7 cubic metres of space is offered, anyone aiming to carry heavy loads should look elsewhere, with the Outlander’s payload a lightweight 525kg.
Though the Pathfinder suffers from similar loading issues, it has a 740kg payload and 2.2 cubic metre loadspace. But it’s also over £3500 more expensive than the Mitsubishi. The Outlander is also significantly more economical at 44.8mpg against the Nissan’s 33.2, despite only giving away 13hp of power, and it’s also more refined and better to drive.
At this price point, there’s nothing that can match the Outlander’s car-like driving experience and interior quality, plus the 4x4 system and ground clearance give a go-anywhere ability few LCVs can rival. Just don’t expect to carry huge heavy loads.
Up with the most refined and well-equipped LCVs thanks to its car roots, just don’t expect huge load-carrying ability.