Test drive: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander delivers throwback SUV vibes in modern crossover body

March 28, 2022

The redesigned 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander suggests it’s new, but the related 2021 Nissan Rogue preceded it a year ago. Mitsubishi reskinned and tweaked the crossover SUV to differentiate itself from its corporate sibling.

With a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander ties the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4’s ratings while besting the Volkswagen Tiguan. With a few Montero styling vibes, nice design detailing, and upscale features the Outlander appeals, but the powertrain is buzzy, the third-row unusable, and middling fuel economy leaves room for improvement.

Here’s what I learned spending a week with the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Hit: Montero vibes

Based on comments made by friends on my Facebook photos, the exterior design of the 2022 Outlander won’t be for everyone. But there are some clear modernized Montero vibes going on with the latest Outlander’s front end with horizontal grille bars, large six element LED headlights, and I dig it. Inside, the four-spoke steering wheel is not ripped from its Nissan cousin and reminds me of the Montero of yesteryear.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Miss: The buzz

The Outlander currently is only available with a 181-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 mated to a continuously variable transmission. The upcoming plug-in hybrid model that arrives later this year can’t come soon enough. The inline-4 and transmission shared with the Rogue struggles when it comes time to accelerate with any urgency. The transmission is hesitant and the simulated gears are annoying. The entire powertrain is loud and always buzzing. Bring on the PHEV, which we expect to have more torque.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Hit: All about the details

The Outlander shows Mitsubishi designers paid a little extra attention to the details than the Nissan team. The window switches, scroll wheels, and drive mode knob are knurled; the leather in my $35,295 SEL tester was quilted (a nice touch at this price point), the start button is mounted on the dashboard to the right of the steering column where one would expect to find it (the Rogue has it on the center console to the left of the shifter), and the shifter itself doesn’t wiggle as it does in the Nissan. It even has auto up/down windows on all four doors. For the price, this feels like more than the sum of its parts.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Miss: Token third row

The Outlander has a third row. The Rogue doesn’t. The Outlander might as well not have a third row. It’s tiny and useless with just 18.7 inches of legroom. For reference, the outgoing Outlander had 28.2 inches of legroom. Cargo room behind the third row is a tiny 11.7 cubic feet.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Hit: Snow mode

While drive modes in some vehicles don’t make a dramatic difference, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case in the Outlander. The normal drive mode’s fine, but Snow mode really helped the Outlander in the slush and snow despite the lackluster traction of my tester’s Bridgestone Ecopia HL422 Plus 255/45R20 tires. The system remapped the throttle, transmission, and stability control responses, and essentially made the Outlander seem like a much more stable, and controlled, vehicle despite the inclement weather. Though, the system’s no replacement for real winter tires.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Miss: Not terribly efficient

On paper the inline-4 and continuously variable transmission combo are supposed to be efficient. With EPA fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city, 30 highway, and 26 combined, the Outlander’s competitive. But in reality it wasn’t efficient and the trip computer reported a middling average of 20.4 mpg over the course of 125 miles of suburban driving. The Minnesota cold didn’t do the Outlander any favors, but 20 mpg is entering V-6 territory, which the Outlander doesn’t have.

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander stands out of its corporate cousin’s shadow while also providing a strong value argument in a crowded segment, but the upcoming plug-in hybrid might be the real star.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC

Base price: $26,990, including $1,025 destination
Price as tested: $35,295
Powertrain: 181-hp 2.5-liter inline-4, continuously variable transmission, all-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 24/30/26 mpg
The hits: Distinct style with Montero vibes, available quilted leather, premium touches and features, snow mode
The misses: Useless third row, not efficient, buzzy powertrain

2022
The Car Connection
See the winners »
2022
The Car Connection
 
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from The Car Connection. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.