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2022 Mitsubishi Outlander First Look

The Mitsubishi Outlander has always been an outlier amongst midsize SUVs. That’s because while most of its rivals stuck to the 5-passenger interior layout, Mitsubishi gave the Outlander 7-seat capability. In addition, the Outlander is one of only a handful of SUVs offering the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Our sister publication KBB said the 2020 model had the lowest predicted cost to own amongst all 3-row SUVs. That’s certainly good news. But after almost a decade without a complete refresh — it’s time for an all-new model.

Mitsubishi is part of the global alliance of brands that includes Nissan and Renault. That provides the company with the advantage of developing new vehicles using parts and platforms shared with those partners. And the all-new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is the first Mitsubishi model sold in the US to really take advantage of that alliance.

The 2022 Outlander uses the same platform architecture as the Nissan Rogue. However, just because the Nissan and the Mitsubishi share parts doesn’t mean these are identical vehicles. As one might surmise from the design of the new 2022 Outlander — Mitsubishi is forging its own path. Find a 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander for sale near you

What’s New for 2022?

The Mitsubishi Outlander is all-new for 2022, and the aggressive design is a clear departure from the old one and unique from the other vehicle in Mitsubishi’s stable. Although it does share some of the same visual cues as the new 2022 Eclipse Cross. The company calls the Outlander design concept “Bold Stride,” and that’s certainly fitting. The frontend look will set this SUV apart from the others on the road. Interestingly, those large wide lights that sit at the edges of the fenders are actually the headlamps. The slim lights at the top that are in line with the grille are the marker and turn signals. This is one vehicle that will be easy to recognize in your rearview mirror. As you move around to the side and rear of the new Mitsu, however, the design becomes more traditional. To our eye, Mitsubishi has done a good job differentiating the Outlander’s look from the Nissan Rogue.

On the inside, designers gave the Outlander an upscale look with materials that appear to be a cut above typical SUVs in the class. The dash panel is soft-touch, and the steering wheel is thick-rimmed. The company tried to make the buttons and knobs feel notably robust too. We really like the real aluminum that comes on the two upper trims and the quilted leather seats too.

Unlike the 5-passenger Rogue, Mitsubishi made sure Outlander seats seven just like before. Still, this likely won’t be a third row adults will want to spend much time in. Compared to the old Outlander, the cabin itself is two inches wider and rides on a longer wheelbase. That means there’s more legroom for the first two rows of seating. That second row can be flipped and folded with a one-touch lever now. And once the second and third rows are down, there’s 80.3 cubic feet of cargo space — 13.9 cubic feet more than the old model. That’s the equivalent of adding the trunk space from a midsize sedan. Mitsubishi is proud to report that the seating position is slightly higher than before, and there’s more adjustability through the seat itself as well as the tilting and telescoping steering wheel.

The Outlander uses two gauge clusters, depending upon the trim level. Lower-priced models have analog gauges and a 7-inch information display, while upper trims offer a fully digital 12.3-inch display. Some models offer a head-up display too. Similarly, there’s a choice of an 8.0-inch infotainment screen or a 9.0-inch screen setup with navigation.

The new Outlander uses the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that’s found under the hood of the Nissan Rogue. It makes the same 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque and connects to the same continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with a sport mode with eight “speeds” to shift through.

Like before, front-wheel drive is standard on the Outlander, and Mitsubishi’s uniquely-tuned Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system is optional. And there are now drive modes to help dial in the right amount of traction for the road condition. Front-drive models have five modes (Eco, Normal, Tarmac, Gravel, Snow), and the all-wheel-drive models have a sixth “Mud” mode.

Though the Outlander shares a chassis with the Rogue, the Mitsubishi’s suspension has its own tuning. And it’s one the company says offers more stability and roll control over the old Outlander. Plus, there are larger disc brakes at each corner too. So, the new Outlander should ride, handle and stop better than the old model.

What We Like

  • Progressive design
  • More spacious cabin
  • Third-row seat
  • Improved safety tech

What We Don’t

  • Same powertrain as Rogue
  • No hybrid model (yet)
  • Loses some Mitsubishi originality

How Much?

$25,795-$31,945 (plus destination charge)

Fuel Economy

Unlike the last Outlander that offered an optional V6, the 2022 Outlander’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is the only engine choice. It generates 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. That’s a 15 hp and 19 lb-ft of torque improvement in engine output over the old Outlander’s 4-cylinder. For now, the carry-over ‘21 Outlander PHEV will serve those looking for improved fuel economy. A PHEV version of this new Outlander will arrive later.

The new Outlander 2WD is rated by the EPA to deliver 24 mpg city/31 mpg highway/27 mpg combined. And all-wheel-drive models return 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway/26 mpg combined.

The Nissan Rogue shares the same powertrain, chassis, and basic body dimensions. However, it delivers slightly better fuel economy. Most front-drive Rogue models return 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, with most all-wheel-drive models delivering 25 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is available in three basic trims; ES, SE, and SEL. Each comes standard with front-wheel drive with the company’s all-wheel-drive system (S-AWC) available for another $1,800. And all-wheel-drive models feature hill-descent control too. However, a special SEL S-AWC Launch Edition comes standard with all-wheel drive.

The base ES ($25,795) has a choice of two light fabric seat colors (grey or black) and is paired with piano black interior trim. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as forward-collision mitigation, blind-spot warning, and rear automatic emergency braking.

The SE ($28,845) is a great deal and offers a combination of fabrics that includes suede and comes in black with piano black trim. There’s also standard 20-inch wheels, LED fog lights, heated mirrors and front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Mitsubishi Connect, a multi-view camera system, “FAST-Key” entry system, front parking sensors, Mipilot Assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure prevention, and traffic sign recognition. There’s also a 9-inch display audio system with navigation, wireless phone charging, and rear USB ports.

On the SE Launch Edition ($30,990), Mitsubishi adds a 12.3-inch LCD driver’s display, Bose sound system, a power panoramic sunroof, illuminated logos reflecting on the ground, and “Dynamic Shield” illumination, as well as a chrome hood badge and more.

SEL ($31,945) models are equipped with quilted leather seats (grey or black) accompanied by aluminum trim. There’s also key-linked driver’s seat memory, a 4-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated rear seats, roof rails, 3-zone climate control, and a 12.3-inch LCD driver’s display.

SEL S-AWC Launch Edition ($36,340) has limited availability and brings a heated steering wheel, front door accent with LED illumination, semi-aniline leather seating, 10.8-inch head’s up display, rear sunshades, and more.

Optional features are largely bundled into trim-specific packages.

An ES Convenience package ($1,000) adds 20-inch wheels, Mitsubishi Connect with Safeguard, and Remote Services.

The SE Tech Package ($2,300) includes the 12.3-inch LCD driver’s display, Bose premium sound system, and power panoramic sunroof.

An SEL Touring package ($2,700) delivers semi-aniline leather and aluminum trim as well as a 10.8-inch head’s up display, Bose premium sound system, power panoramic sunroof, and rear sunshades.

Safety

The new 2022 Outlander hasn’t yet been crash-tested by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Regardless, we do know that the new Outlander comes with quite a bit of safety gear, standard including forward-collision mitigation, blind-spot warning, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors.

Behind the Wheel

The new Outlander is a vast improvement over the outgoing model. The bold and attractive exterior design is complemented by an interior that looks modern, fresh, and feels well-crafted. The SE model we tested wore comfortable synthetic leather and suede-like seats, and every place our elbow fell was generously padded. The metal-like knurling on various knobs and buttons makes the experience feel special.

The seating positions in the first two rows are comfortable. And we particularly like the secondary high-up seat pockets on the back of the front seats. However, that third row is best left for the kids. An adult can fit back there—but will likely only tolerate the experience for a short ride.

The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder offers only modest acceleration. Press the accelerator to the floor, and the Outlander is slower than we’d like from a stop. However, the “8-speed” CVT responds well. So, you won’t give that transmission a second thought when driving. And that’s a good thing.

The ride quality is smooth and composed. However, on the highway, we noticed the steering can feel a bit too sensitive, requiring more small corrections than we like.

Click the drive mode selector to the “Tarmac” sport mode and the steering feels slightly heavier and needs less attention on straight roads. But this isn’t a good mode for the highway because it raises the revs to around 3,000 rpm for improved response—at the expense of fuel economy. The Outlander feels quite good on a twisty road in Tarmac mode with minimal body roll.

The Mi-Pilot cruise control and driver assistance system requires a finger or two to be on the wheel while it handles the steering and throttle. It works reasonably well, but can get confused when the freeway has multiple quick turns or additional lines like many of California’s concrete highways do. Overall, it’s a good system that helps to minimize traffic-related fatigue.

Other Cars to Consider

2021 Nissan Rogue: If you don’t need the 7-passenger seating of the Outlander and prefer the Rogue’s more subdued styling, the Nissan might be a good choice. Consider, too, that the Nissan dealer network is larger, so finding a place to service the vehicle should be easier.

2021 Mazda CX-5: The CX-5 is one compact SUV that really prioritizes agility and excellent handling. Choose the turbocharged engine option, and that fun increases exponentially. Mazda has positioned itself as a brand that’s nudging a little closer to luxury. You can see and feel that as soon as you explore the CX-5’s interior.

2021 VW Tiguan: The Tiguan is at the larger end of the compact SUV spectrum, so there’s plenty of room for people and their stuff. Better yet, the Tiguan is the only other vehicle in the Outlander’s class that offers a third row of seating. We particularly like the Tiguan’s European style and smooth ride.

2021 Toyota RAV4: The RAV4 is one of the heavy hitters in this class. Not only is it popular and does practically everything well, Toyota offers unique models geared for off-road capability, towing (up to 5,000-pounds), and fuel economy. Speaking of that last one, the plug-in Prime model is not only efficient but incredibly quick too.

Used Honda CR-V: A second-hand Honda CR-V is a smart buy. Hondas are known for their reliability and quality so picking one up with a few miles on the clock should pose few problems. The CR-V is a standout in the class because it’s exceptionally roomy. Few others match its cargo capacity.

Used Subaru Forester: Subaru has a leg up on other SUVs because they make all-wheel drive standard on every one of them. And that simplifies the search when looking for a used model. Shop a turbocharged XT model (’19 or earlier) and you’ll be rewarded with one very useful and very quick little SUV.

Autotrader’s Advice

The 2022 Outlander is a completely fresh design from end to end. We like the upscale interior and the long list of tech equipment. It’s one of only two in the class to offer a third row too. So, if hauling lots of (little) people with your compact SUV is important, the Outlander is worth a look. We’re really impressed with the current Outlander PHEV. So, we might be tempted to wait for the newer PHEV based on this 2022 Outlander when it becomes available. Find a 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander for sale

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