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RESURRECTED: 2022 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

Being long overdue for a competitive stake in the crossover business, Mitsubishi, a brand that most people forgot existed, has introduced something completely new after a 10-year stint. As hard as the reality may be, the once performance driven, rally champion brand is no longer focusing on hot hatches or competitive racers, but rather be competitive in the rapidly surging, profit generating crossover market. Thus a new Outlander three-row SUV has emerged.

Resurrecting from near death, the saving grace to the three-star diamond badge came from the merge with Nissan taking a controlling stake in company back in 2016. Despite it being 5-years for changes to take place since the two companies merged, taking their time to get this one right might have paid off.   

Now that Mitsubishi and Nissan are playing together nicely, the sharing of platforms begins with the bones of the new Outlander coming from the newest generation Nissan Rouge. But unlike most brands that share counterparts, the relationship between both party’s end at the parts we all typically don’t see, allowing Mitsubishi to create their own unique personality.  

Fitting somewhere in the middle, the Outlander’s shared underpinnings puts it in a unique place in the market. Being slightly bigger than the Nissan Rogue or any other small crossover like the Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson but smaller than a Toyota Highlander or Ford Explorer  makes it compelling for those looking for a three-rower without the heavy price tag. The Outlander shares a competitive stake against the new Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

In the past the Outlander was never really known to be a performance crossover, even when the previous generation offered a 3.0-liter V6. With a Plug-In Hybrid coming in the not-too-far off future, for now, the only engine option is a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder, courteous of, you know who. Unfortunately, what may work well in the Nissan Rouge, doesn’t necessarily play out the best of hands here. Offering up 181-horsepower and same to boot in torque, foot down, and the Outlander’s additional weight is noticeable by the slow-going return. When taking over 8-seconds to achieve 60-mph, that’s not a very good mark against a crossover that surely stands out. The CVT automatic with simulated 8-forward gears isn’t a helping factor to its performance either – adding that with a car full of passengers and some junk-in-the trunk, its performance has reached maximum capacity long before it filled with the additional cargo weight. 

Looking past the dull acceleration performance, there is some likability to the Outlanders powertrain. All models come standard in front-wheel drive form with all-wheel drive coming in at an $800 option. With our SEL coming equipped with the latter, operations maintain smooth tranquility. The CVT transmission, while frowned upon has a seamless operation holding its gearing ratio at the right points when called upon. Around town, the need for heavy footed acceleration is rarely called upon as the Outlander maintains plenty of go-power to take on slower, right-lane drivers.

With the use of a more modern chassis, things are much different from behind the wheel. The suspension maintains a coping mechanism that handles twisty and rough roads with dignity. The steering, while vague, is much improved over the previous generation with responsive inputs. Even the brakes have been heavily improved that are larger than before and more responsive.

Besides its outer shell and underpinnings, the biggest surprise follows to the interior setting that has ditched every ounce of the last generation behind for a new, clean, modern execution. Our top trimmed SEL was highlighted with premium finishes and soft touch materials on nearly every reachable surface. The design is handsome that elevates the cabin atmosphere with ease.  

The Outlander has a certain level of serenity to its cabin that makes sitting in traffic feel comforting. The quilted leather seats are soft and comfort. Mitsubishi added hints fine details like knurled textured knobs around the volume controls and terrain management system. The level of tech is on par with the new standards of expectations with a nicely displayed 9-inch infotainment system and striking 12.3-inch digital instrument gage cluster. Even the heads-up display has a sharp, clear display.

With likeness, comes with its fair share of faults as well. While the interior setting is comfortable for most of the passengers that can take advantage of heated and cooled seats in the front, heated seats in the rear, a three-zone climate control system, a nicely sized panoramic sunroof and side window shades, the third-row passengers will feel like they received the short end of the stick. The third row should be an emergency only kind of use and even then, maybe those passengers will feel more comfortable riding in the trunk. And then with the third row-up, cargo space is heavily limited. Despite all the comfort creatures the second row passengers may get, its let down by the window – only going down about halfway due to the size of the door it’s a huge let down that reminds us of the early 2000’s Lincoln Town Car.

This new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander shows its ready for place at the crossover table. With the entry level ES starting at $26,095 and the SEL AWD topping out at $38,590 makes it comfortably priced for being so well packaged. The Outlander is now one crossover that is hard to pass up when cross shopping other utes in its segment.

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC
Base Price: $33,745
As-Tested Price: $38,590

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 2.5-liter Four-Cylinder
Horsepower | Torque: 181-Horsepower | 181lbs-ft of Torque
Transmission: CVT Automatic
Drivetrain: Super All-Wheel Control
MPG: 24 | 30| 26 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 25.1-MPG Combined
Fuel Range: 380 miles
0-60 MPH: ±8.0 seconds

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