I have fond memories of the Mitsubishi Outlander. I spent hours and hours behind the wheel of the first- and second-generation models before my writing career, when I was delivering press cars to many of the people I'm fortunate enough to call colleagues now. I believed then and still do now that the Outlander, particularly the second-gen car with the MIVEC V6, third-row seat, and solid tech suite, was incredibly underrated.
Mitsubishi was already struggling when that second gen rolled out and its fortunes were positively bleak when the third-gen car hit the market. But this Nissan Rogue-based model? It's a revelation. Short of the legendary Lancer Evolution, this is the best vehicle Mitsubishi has sold in years. Just as importantly, the 2022 Outlander might finally be the vehicle to attract crossover customers that forgot about the first three times Mitsubishi tried to break into this segment.
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|2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC
|181 Horsepower / 181 Pound-Feet
|24 City / 30 Highway / 26 Combined
|$25,795 + $1,195 Destination
Gallery: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander: Review
- Exterior Color: White Diamond
- Interior Color: Black And Saddle Tan
- Wheel Size: 20 Inches
The Outlander is an excellent crossover, but it's not exactly an attractive one. Mitsubishi has threatened squinty headlights and an oversized Schick razor blade grille for years via its concept cars, and with the Eclipse Cross, the styling finally came to pass. The Outlander leans into this unfortunate trend too, with slim LED running lamps up high and more substantial headlights below it.
While I don't care for the design, the broader public is onboard. Throughout my week at the helm, I had regular conversations with friends and family about the Outlander and almost all of them were positive. Perhaps I need to associate with a better class of consumer. But beyond the questionable face, the rest of the Outlander is inoffensive.
I like how the two-box profile doesn't scream “three-row,” with its short rear overhang, unfussy character lines, and interesting wheel arches, which mix black off-roadey bits with more substantial accents in the sheetmetal. The slim horizontal taillights are good too, but the rear bumper and its blatantly false exhausts are lackluster.
But holy hell, this cabin is stunning. Diamond stitching on the seats and door panels and a classic black-and-tan mix are so classy I'm willing to overlook the switchgear from the Nissan parts bin. Moreover, the material quality is excellent – soft-touch plastics in high-traffic areas mingle with padded faux leather on the door pockets that's so good I didn't realize it was synthetic until doing the research for this review. Mitsubishi resisted the lazy urge to cover the center console in cheap-feeling piano-black trim, opting instead for a textured aluminum-look plastic. The handsome touch lends a flash of brightness to the subdued cabin.
I have only one quality and material niggle: The electric gear lever feels flimsy and tends to jiggle if you move it side to side. It’s an odd misstep that’s also present in the Rogue.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Mitsubishi Outlander
- Seating Capacity: 7
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3 / 2
- Cargo Capacity: 11.7 / 33.5 Cubic Feet
Look no further than the Outlander's standard third row to understand what this car brings to the compact crossover segment. The option of seven seats at such a low price is a selling point, although it's worth pointing out that the third row is claustrophobic for anyone under 4 feet in height. I'd rather fly Spirit Airlines than suffer through the Outlander's 18.7 inches of third-row legroom, but I can imagine plenty of in-a-pinch scenarios where two extra chairs come in handy.
At just 2.0 inches longer than the related Rogue, the Outlander's third row eradicates that car's acceptable cargo volume. Mitsubishi cites 11.7 cubic feet of space with the third row up, which is certainly snug. Folding those seats flat expands the cargo hold to a far more acceptable 33.5 cubes, or 3.0 cubic feet less than the capacious Rogue. Part of the size difference could be the Nissan’s Divide-N-Hide underfloor storage space, which in the Outlander is taken up by the folded third row.
The front chairs use the same plush padding as the Rogue and make long distances a cinch. I covered nearly 400 miles during my week with the Outlander and not once did I finish a journey sore, uncomfortable, or in need of a good stretch. The seating position is excellent, too, with standard eight-way power adjustability and a commanding view in all directions. The middle bench is roomy, too. Like the Rogue, the Outlander has wide-opening doors and the middle seats live on sliders with a reclining backrest. I was happy to put a lot of miles on the Outlander from the driver's seat, but I wouldn't hesitate to do the same as a passenger.
The Outlander's ride quality is average for the segment. You'll feel most bumps in the road, but there's little impact on the overall level of stability, the Outlander responding well to washboards and other high-frequency imperfections. The wheel/tire package on my tester, 20-inch alloys on 45-series tires, is a boon for handling. But the trade-off in sound control isn't worth it, with a fair amount of tire noise and most suspension impacts reaching the cabin.
- Center Display: 9.0-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3-inch
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: Yes (CarPlay only)
Like the Rogue, the Outlander packs an impressive tech suite on high-level trims. This SEL comes standard with a 9.0-inch touchscreen on the center stack and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, but the $2,700 SEL Touring package also adds a 10.8-inch head-up display. You'll find all this same gear on top-end Rogue models, and the software that powers it is identical here.
The center display responds quickly to inputs (although there are redundant physical controls and dedicated volume/tuning knobs for the touch-averse), but like in the Nissan Rogue and Pathfinder where this system also lives, the graphics aren't as crisp or attractive as you'll find elsewhere in the segment. I'm confident this is an OS issue, though, because Apple CarPlay (which connects wirelessly) looks much prettier.
The digital instrument cluster doesn't suffer from that particular issue, but aside from digitizing the speedometer and tachometer, it doesn't add any functionality that you won't find in the standard 7.0-inch productivity screen that resides between a pair of analog gauges. The 12.3-inch unit has the same arrangement of pages and displays info in an identical manner.
The head-up display is a nice addition, throwing appropriate info closer to the driver's line of sight and on a fair amount of real estate to boot. But among the things the SEL Touring pack adds – semi-aniline leather upholstery, quilted door inserts, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system – it's a nice-to-have thing rather than an important one. And if, like me, you wear polarized sunglasses, the HUD is useless during the day. That Bose arrangement, meanwhile, is competitive, but also forgettable in the way it pumps out sound. To be honest, that describes most Bose audio systems I've heard.
- Engine: 2.5-liter I4
- Output: 181 Horsepower / 181 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission
Nissan is dropping the Rogue's standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder for 2022 and replacing it with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that's a dramatic improvement. We hope Mitsubishi follows its corporate ally, because the 181-hp four-pot does the rest of the Outlander a disservice.
Oh sure, the power on hand is adequate for around-town acceleration, but the Mitsu struggles on freeway onramps or when loaded up with people and gear. Low-end shove is disappointing, with all 181 pound-feet of torque coming to bear at 3,600 rpm – accessing the Outlander's peak twist takes patience that turbochargers beat out of drivers years ago. On the upside, and like the Rogue, the Outlander's four-cylinder works alongside a continuously variable transmission that's quite good. Engagement off the line is snappy and the CVT holds revs only as long as necessary, minimizing the presence of the 2.5-liter's wheezy soundtrack.
The Outlander is on the bigger and heavier end of the compact crossover segment, but like the Rogue, its handling is a pleasant surprise. The Mitsu is hardly exhilarating, but it is poised and confident, with predictable body motions and an overall level of stability when weight transfers forward, backward, or laterally. The steering, of course, is quite numb, doing little to inform the driver of the road surface. Still, it feels good moving from lock to lock, with an appropriate weight that makes the Outlander feel more substantial than other compact CUVs.
Along with the engine, I had only one other complaint: a spongy brake pedal. The stopping power available from the 13.8-inch front discs is plenty for the 3,800-pound Outlander, but there's too much pedal travel before the speed drops. The brakes do bite in a predictable manner, though, so it's not a case of “nothing, nothing, nothing, STOP.” I expect this is the sort of thing that owners will adjust to after a week or so, but it did stand out during my time at the helm.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
- NHTSA Rating: Five Stars
- IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick Plus
Like the infotainment, the Outlander carries Nissan's excellent ProPilot active safety suite, rebranded here as Mi-Pilot Assist, which I find fun and clever. Gold, er, diamond star to you, Mitsubishi.
Like in the Rogue, Mi-Pilot is standard on most trims and bundles the entirety of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance's active safety tech into one button on the steering wheel. Full-speed adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic emergency braking (with pedestrian detection up front), lane-keep assist, traffic-sign recognition, and automatic high beams are all on hand to reduce the driver's workload.
This level 2 suite is excellent in real world conditions, with predictable highway behavior and a tendency to favor gentle corrections through the steering rather than blaring alerts (although, as in the Rogue, the beeps every time Mi-Pilot engages are annoying as hell) at the driver if they stray from a lane. The ACC responds well to inconsiderate motorists jumping in front of your speeding Outlander too, with strong brake pressure. As with ProPilot, Mi-Pilot is something you'll want to use every time you hit the highway.
- City: 24 MPG
- Highway: 30 MPG
- Combined: 26 MPG
The 2022 Outlander and its 2.5-liter four-cylinder return an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon city, 30 highway, and 26 combined. Only the four-cylinder Jeep Cherokee, which nets 21 city, 29 highway, and 24 combined, save it from worst-in-class honors. Here's how other models stack up:
|Mitsubishi Outlander 2.5:
|Chevrolet Equinox 1.5T:
|Ford Escape 1.5T:
|Honda CR-V 1.5T:
|Hyundai Tucson 2.5:
|Jeep Cherokee 2.4:
|Nissan Rogue 1.5T:
|Toyota RAV4 2.5:
While the Outlander's fuel economy is lackluster on paper, it could stand to see big improvements if Nissan adds the three-cylinder VC Turbo to Mitsubishi's engine roster. As for my real-world testing, I suspect the EPA's figures for the 2.5-liter might be conservative. The Outlander's on-board computer indicated a 28.6-mpg average over 365.2 miles and at a thoroughly suburban average speed of 34 mph.
- Base Price: $25,795 + $1,195 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $33,140
- As-Tested Price: $38,590
Prices for the 2022 Outlander start at $26,990, including the $1,195 destination charge, for a front-wheel-drive ES model. That makes the Mitsu one of the most affordable three-rowers on the market. My top-of-the-line tester, the SEL, retails for $33,140 and then adds the $2,700 SEL Touring pack to drive the price up to $35,840. All-wheel drive carries an $1,800 premium on all trims, while the flashy White Diamond paint demands $595. With $355 in accessories that you shouldn't pay a dealership for, the as-tested price is $38,590.
Even optioned up, the Outlander compares well with the competition. A loaded Toyota RAV4 Limited eclipses the Mitsu with a $41,220 price tag, while the Hyundai Tucson Limited and Honda CR-V Touring demand $37,745 and $37,820, respectively. None of those products comes with a third row, of course – for that you’ll need to look to the Volkswagen Tiguan, though it’s limited only to the base S and mid-level SE trims. The new three-pot Rogue, meanwhile, comes in at $39,257 in Platinum AWD guise. All prices include the appropriate destination charges.
Attractive price aside, I wouldn't recommend the range-topping SEL trim. And if I did, I wouldn't suggest buying the $2,700 Touring pack. The heated steering wheel is nice, as are the upgraded upholstery and panoramic sunroof, but the Bose audio system and head-up display are ho-hum features at best.
The best value here is likely with the Outlander SE, which retains the 9.0-inch display with wireless CarPlay and Mi-Pilot but drops some content to find an out-the-door price of $31,840. You'll still score flashy 20-inch wheels, a wireless charge port, heated front chairs, and a proximity key. Alternatively, question if you really will find the third-row useful – if not, the mechanically identical Nissan Rogue boasts a bigger, more accessible dealer network and an excellent turbocharged three-cylinder engine (even if its warranty is inexplicably worse than the Outlander’s 10-year/100,000-mile offer).
Model Competitor Reviews:
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL S-AWC