In contrast to Japan, the US and Australia, where 2.4-litre I4 and three-litre V6 petrol engines dominate, Mitsubishi's new Outlander is starting out in Europe with a Volkswagen-supplied 138bhp two-litre turbo diesel engine (similar to the unit in the Grandis minivan).

A 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel (which just-auto expects to be PSA-sourced due to the model-sharing agreement which will see Peugeot and Citroen versions of the Outlander on sale in Europe in summer 2007) and the new 168bhp 2.4-litre petrol engine arrive in Europe at the end of the year.

UK importer the Colt Car Company will offer its now-familiar Equippe, Warrior and Elegance trim levels priced from GBP19,449 to GBP24,749  and expects 5,600 sales in the model's first 12 months starting 1 March.

European Outlanders, like those already launched in other markets, have new chassis architecture but add Euro IV-compliant turbo diesel power with  electronically controlled all-wheel drive, and offer seven seats as standard with the two higher trim levels, along with detail changes to styling, and safety and equipment specifications.

The VW diesel is combined with a six-speed manual transmission, with ratios optimised for the engine's torque curve, and accelerates the Outlander to 62mph (100km/h) in 10.8seconds with a maximum speed of 116mph. This diesel model has 294mm ventilated disc brakes up front and 302mm disc brakes at the rear, backed up by ABS anti-lock and EBD electronic brakeforce distribution systems.

In the Equippe model, the engine returns 42.8mpg on the EU combined cycle (40.9mpg in the Warrior and Elegance models) and posts a tax-effective CO2 figure of 174g/km (183g/km for the Warrior and Elegance models).

Towards the end of the year, the powertrain line-up will be supplemented by the more powerful 154bhp 2.2 turbo diesel four-cylinder engine as well as the first European Mitsubishi version of the jointly-developed 'world engine', a new 168bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol unit developed in collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor Company. It will come with a six-speed CVT constantly variable transmission as standard.

European models keep the split tailgate seen in other markets, capable of supporting 200kg,  and have electrically-folding second row seats standard on all derivatives. Warrior and Elegance models add a 'Hide&Seat' third row of seats, which lies beneath the floor of the boot. When two further seats are needed, they fold out from the boot floor to create a third row of seats, complete with integrated head rests, turning the five-seater Outlander into an 'occasional' seven-seater when needed.

UK standard specification includes twin front airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry, six-speaker CD/MP3 player, ASTC active stability and traction control safety system, electric windows and mirrors, and rear spoiler as standard.

The top Elegance version has heated leather seats, sunroof, satellite navigation complete with its own 30GB music server and hard disc drive for high speed data access, DVD player and a nine-speaker 650W Rockford FosgateTM Premium Sound System.

Mitsubishi expects to sell around 5,600 Outlanders in the UK within the first 12 months of sales - some 10% of the annual UK mid-sized SUV market.

At 60%, the mid-priced Warrior range is expected to account for the bulk of sales, with the Elegance model appealing to 30% of buyers and the remainder opting for the entry-level five-seat Equippe.