2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Review

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander - An all-new Outlander gives Mitsubishi a new lease on life.


Oftentimes forgotten by compact crossover shoppers, Mitsubishi has an all-new Outland for 2022. Sharing a platform and engine with the also-new Nissan Rogue, the new Outlander is slightly longer, wider and heavier than the outgoing model. It seats up to 7 passengers with an available third-row seat and comes with front- or all-wheel drive. Competitors include the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Outlander model lineup include ES, SE and SEL. There are also two sub-trim models, SE Black Edition and SEL Special Edition. All are available with front- or all-wheel drive. Sole engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. The only available transmission is a continuously variable automatic. Maximum towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.

Prices start as low as $26,000 and climb to more than $34,000. Standard safety features on all models includes forward-collision warning with brake assist, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, lane-departure warning, rear parking sensors and driver-attention warning. Also standard is push button ignition, dual-zone climate control, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto support. Optional features include hands-free power liftgate, wireless charging pad, panoramic sunroof, digital instrument cluster, heated steering wheel, head-up display and adaptive cruise control.

Outlander's biggest disappointment is its engine. With just 181 horsepower and a CVT automatic to work with, it's somewhat underwhelming off the line and doesn't have much passing punch. In fact, its 0 to 60 MPH time is slower than just about every other offering in the class save the similar Nissan Rogue and equally underpower Hyundai Tucson. Making matters worse, the engine isn't particularly refined and the CVT constantly hunts for the best ratio.

On the flip side, Outlander is one of the more fuel-efficient compact crossovers with EPA ratings as high as 24 MPG city and 31 MPG highway. Those numbers pace other three-row compact crossovers by a MPG or two. Further good news comes in real-world testing where the Outland consistently exceeds the EPA estimates in all but congested urban driving. The 14.5-gallon fuel tank gives Outlander a realistic highway range of about 375 miles.

Mitsubishi dubs its all-wheel-drive system Super All-Wheel Control. In essence it is a more advanced version of all-wheel drive that's designed for use on slippery roads or trails, not for off-road slogging. S-AWC can vary engine torque front to rear and side to side. When combined with active stability control, it gives the Outlander a leg up in the traction department compared to most all-wheel-drive crossovers.

It's a shame the Outlander's engine is so anemic because it's actually quite nimble and fun to drive, otherwise. In fact, compared to the outgoing model, the Outlander drives with a newfound sense of agility and composure. Steering is precise and nicely weighted; body motions are controlled in transient maneuvers; and the ride is taut without being overly firm. Of course, it's not quite as agile as a Mazda CX-5, but then again few compact crossovers can match that model's sports moves.

At times, the ride with the available 20-inch wheels can get a trifle noisy and the engine groans in hard acceleration. Otherwise, Outlander cruises quietly and serenely on the highway.

Outlander punches above It's price class with a clean and modern interior. Compared to most competitors', materials seem a step up and the overall design is upscale, even in lower trim levels. Seat designs and fabrics are especially rich, and most controls have an expensive feel to the touch. Things really pick up on the SEL with its digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch touchscreen and head-up display. Kudos to Mitsubishi for realizing that customers want quality interiors, regardless of price point.

Front-seat passengers are treated to comfy and well-padded seats that seem a cut above the class norm. Head and leg room are quite good -- allowing large adults to ride in comfort. Second-row riders will find the seats comfortable if a bit upright. They are adjustable fore-and-aft, so leg room can be quite generous.  Third-row riders don't have much room for their legs and the backrests are short. It should be noted that the only other compact crossover with seating for seven is the Volkswagen Tiguan.

Step-in height is near perfect as most will be able to slide right into the driver seat. Door openings are wide, and the tall roofline makes for easy exits. Outward visibility is fine forward but pinched to the rear because of thick pillars.

On the tech front, Outlander leaps to the front of the class with all of the expected safety and convenience features. It should be noted that except for the safety essentials, most other tech features require at least SE trim with the technology package. That puts you into the $30,000 price range.

Interior storage is quite good with lots of open and covered bins throughout. There's a nifty wireless charging dock as well. From a cargo standpoint, the new Outlander excels with a max cargo capacity of 78 cubic feet. That's easily on par with others in the class. The available hands-free, power liftgate is a nice touch at this price point as well.

Bottom Line -- In developing the new Outlander, Mitsubishi had a chance to reinvent the brand and, to its credit, it mostly did so. The new vehicle is worlds better than the outgoing model. Good enough, in fact, to put it back on compact-crossover shoppers' list. The implementation of the third row is somewhat dubious, but since it is one of the few in the class to actually offer occasional 7-passenger seating, it's actually a plus. If you can get over the mediocre engine, there's a lot to like about this new Mitsubishi. Let's hope the brand continues to revitalize its lineup moving forward. More competition is a good thing for consumers.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.