by Jay Traugott
Launched back in 2002, the Mitsubishi Outlander has become a vital part of the Japanese automaker's North American lineup. And now the fourth-generation has been officially unveiled. The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is all-new and it features the brand's bold new exterior styling language.
Thanks to alliance partner Nissan, the Outlander rides on the same platform as the also new Rogue, sharing the Nissan's engine and transmission. The new Outlander also features an array of innovative technologies that makes it an ideal daily driver and an adventure-seeking crossover. It's not a body-on-frame SUV like the old Montero, but it's equipped with a number of features for light off-roading coupled with a much-improved interior.
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Mitsubishi went with a daring new look for the Outlander. It's a stylish compact crossover, no doubt. Up front there's the Dynamic Shield grille that helps to contribute to the crossover's more SUV-like stance, which is somewhat a reminder of the old Montero Sport.
The split headlight design featuring standard LEDs and daytime running lights is directly inspired by the Engelberg Tourer Concept. A tri-zone lighting design, incorporating the LED fog lights and high and low beams, is at the lower bumper. Out back, the horizontal t-shaped taillights further contribute towards the vehicle's widened stance appearance. The vehicle's sides are adorned by strong character lines running through the door handles and at the bottom of the doors. A set of 20-inch wheels are optional and 18-inch wheels are standard.
The wide and very noticeable D-pillar looks pretty cool from the outside but the lack of sunlight could make third-row passengers feel a bit claustrophobic.
The 2022 Outlander has three rows of seats allowing up to seven passengers, though third-row occupants might feel a tad cramped. The overall interior layout should look familiar because it is, more or less, taken directly from the new Rogue. The optional 12.3-inch digital instrument screen, 10.8-inch head-up display, and electronic gear shifter, and HVAC controls are pure Rogue. The 8-inch (optional 9-inch) infotainment screen, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also sourced from the Nissan. Wireless smartphone charging is another option.
Other optional features, depending on trim, include tri-zone automatic climate control, rear door sunshades, a panoramic sunroof, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system.
Although the Outlander is two-inches shorter than its predecessor, legroom has increased between all rows of seats due to a longer wheelbase. Front seats have an additional one inch, while the second row has an extra 1.1 inches. The seats can be ordered in light gray or black and the top-end SEL trim features leather upholstery. Semi-aniline leather seats are optional, too. The base ES has fabric seats and the mid-range SE has black suede combination seats and piano black trim on the dash.
The sole engine currently available is a 2.5-liter inline-four rated at 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, which routes power to the front or all four wheels through a CVT. This is the same engine and transmission found in the new Rogue. Eventually, a plug-in hybrid powertrain will arrive. Although the current engine is not overly powerful, it should be good enough for most Outlander owners. It's also quite fuel efficient. The Rogue is rated at 26/32/28 mpg for FWD models and 25/31/27 for AWD variants. We don't expect the Outlander's ratings to differ greatly, if at all.
Buyers should be drawn to the Super All-Wheel Control AWD system. It integrates a hydraulic center clutch to distribute torque immediately to the front and rear axles rather than waiting to detect wheel slippage to send that power to one of the axles. AWD models have six driving modes, while FWD versions get five.
Optional safety items include the automaker's advanced MI-PILOT Assist system boasting adaptive cruise control, lane-change assist, traffic sign recognition, hill decent control, a forward collision mitigation system, and a multi-view camera, among other things.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander will carry a starting price of $25,795 not including the $1,195 destination fee. Sales will get underway nationwide this April.
The compact crossover segment is arguably the most competitive one out there. Although the Outlander shares its platform, engine, and many other things with the Nissan Rogue, buyers will be drawn to its rugged exterior styling. Other competitors include the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Kia Sportage, and the Hyundai Tucson.
Mitsubishi has struggled in recent years, mostly due to a lack of new product. The 2022 Outlander aims to change that and, like its predecessors, should guarantee a steady stream of customers once again.