- Redesigned for 2022
- More interior room and cargo capacity
- New four-cylinder engine
- Improved infotainment and safety features
- Kicks off the fourth Outlander generation
What is the Mitsubishi Outlander?
The story of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander begins with the company's partnership with automakers Nissan and Renault. The previous-generation Outlander, sold from 2014 to 2020, was an agreeable enough small SUV but didn't have enough standout traits to keep it competitive against the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. So this time around Mitsubishi took advantage of its new corporate arrangement to dramatically improve the Outlander in just about every way.
This redesigned 2022 Outlander shares significant components, from the underlying body structure to the powertrain, with the Nissan Rogue. This is certainly a good thing — the Rogue is one of Edmunds' highly rated small SUVs. The new Outlander features an eye-catching design, a roomy interior and a Mitsubishi-specific third-row seat to make it a more compelling pick for 2022.
How does the Outlander drive?
The 2022 Outlander uses the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (181 horsepower, 181 lb-ft of torque) and continuously variable automatic transmission as the Rogue. It's more powerful than the Rogue's previous four-cylinder engine (170 hp) and provides smooth and pleasing acceleration. The Outlander's previously optional V6 engine is no longer available, but most drivers should be satisfied with the new Outlander's powertrain setup. All trim levels come with front-wheel drive and offer all-wheel drive as an option except for the SEL Launch Edition, which is AWD-only.
Most importantly, the rest of the driving experience is similarly upgraded. The steering is smooth and easy, and the brakes are simple to control for smooth stops. The entire experience feels crisp and modern. It really can't be stressed enough — this is a radical departure from our experience with Outlanders from the previous generation.
How comfortable is the Outlander?
The Outlander is a reasonably comfortable three-row small SUV that shines in a few specific areas. First, the seats are quite comfortable. Up front they have a nice shape with side bolsters to keep you in place, plus a wide range of adjustments and available power lumbar support. Additionally, the suspension soaks up cracks and bumps in the road, and the front windows provide excellent insulation from outside noise.
This is especially impressive because most Outlanders will come with 20-inch wheels. Having big wheels and short tire sidewalls like this can hamper ride quality, but in the Outlander we tested, there were no issues. The second-row rear seats are also comfortable and even recline.
As expected, the third row of seats is very tight and suitable for children only. Something like a Honda Pilot or Hyundai Palisade would be a better choice if you really need a SUV with three rows of seating. Still, only a few small SUVs offer a third row, and it can come in handy in pinch.
How's the Outlander's interior?
The Outlander has certainly made strides from its previous generation to the current one, but there is still work to be done. Our test vehicle was an Outlander SEL with the optional Touring package, which features premium leather seats and quilted simulated leather door inserts. It makes a strong first impression. But with a closer look, there are a few issues.
The materials inside this top-trim Outlander are only so-so. The leather is soft and soothing, but there's still a lot of noticeably hard plastic inside. Some materials made to look like metal are clearly not, including the infotainment and climate control knobs. To be sure, though, this represents a quantum leap in quality for Mitsubishi. And the rear window sunshades and panoramic sunroof in the Touring package are nice touches that buyers will appreciate.
How's the Outlander's tech?
First, the good news. For 2022 the Outlander is available with wireless functionality for Apple CarPlay smartphone integration and a wireless charging station. It's been a long time since a Mitsubishi crossover had near-luxury features. Regular wired functionality for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on all trims. Also standard is an 8-inch touchscreen. Our SEL-trim test vehicle came with the optional 9-inch unit. It has crisp graphics and is easy to use. There is also an optional head-up display and a premium Bose stereo system that sounds great.
The bad news? The wireless charging pad heated up our editor's iPhone so much that the phone and the infotainment system seized up on our short drive. We'll take a close look when the Outlander comes in for full testing to see if this is a problem or just a one-off issue.
The Outlander is equipped with an abundance of standard and optional advanced driver aids. The blind-spot monitoring and surround-view camera work great for seeing cars or objects you might otherwise miss. We also like Mitsubishi's Mi-Pilot Assist system. This pairs adaptive cruise control with lane-centering to take some control of the vehicle and help make highway driving less tiring.
How's the Outlander's storage?
Cargo capacity figures are not available yet, but the Outlander looks to provide a bit more cargo capacity than the outgoing model. The cargo floor area behind the front seats is about 6 inches wider and 14 inches longer than the one in the previous Outlander.
Space behind the third row of seats is pretty meager, but there are two large cubbies on either side of the load floor to keep items from sliding around. The third row also folds flat to open up more space, and the second row is split 40/20/40 to help accommodate large or odd-shaped items. For second-row passengers, the front seatbacks have multiple pockets of various sizes — a thoughtful gesture for those of us with laptops, tablets and phones to lug around. The biggest downside is a limited front center console that isn't good for more than keys and maybe a pack of gum.
The redesigned Outlander makes an instant impression, especially in the SEL trim with the Touring package. We're interested to see whether base and midlevel models provide similar bang for the buck and how the Outlander stands up to our instrumented performance tests. But in the meantime, there is a lot to like about the Outlander.