- A massive improvement over the previous model
- Long standard equipment list
- Excellent interior quality and technology
- Soggy ride quality needs retuning
- Drivetrain is merely adequate
- One spec lower Aspire is even better value
Since its release in 2003, the Mitsubishi Outlander has been one of the brand’s best selling cars thanks to its combination of value for money, practicality, reasonable off-road ability and reliability. – but at almost 10 years old, the last generation of the car was very much overdue for replacement. Mitsubishi’s health as a company hasn’t been great over the past few decades but now with some Nissan cash and engineering to use, Mitsubishi’s product portfolio is set to be revitalised, with the first cab off the rank being the all-new Outlander. What’s the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed like? Let’s find out.
The Outlander was actually one of the first smaller SUVs launched in Australia. Mitsubishi took its engineering knowledge from the legendary Pajero and inputted it into a smaller and less expensive package. These days though, every car maker offers a mid-size SUV and as such, there are many competitors for the new Outlander, including the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Renault Koleos and the Nissan X-Trail – the latter two of which (in new generation form that’s due soon) the Outlander shares a platform and engine with.
Price & Equipment: 8/10
While the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander range is priced from $34,490 plus on-road costs, we tested the second-from-top Exceed, which is priced at $47,990 plus on-road costs ($51,490 drive away).
The Exceed isn’t cheap, but it is loaded with standard equipment. Features include 20-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, auto wipers, a panoramic sunroof, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, leather upholstery with heated front seats, 10-way electrically adjustable front seats with memory functionality, keyless entry and start, heated and auto-folding mirrors, a 9.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, satellite navigation, digital radio, a wireless phone charger, four USB ports, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, tri-zone climate control, sunshades for the rear seat and a 10-speaker Bose sound system.
Almost uniquely in the mid-size SUV segment, almost all variants of the Outlander range come with seven seats as standard, which gives it a unique selling point against predominantly five-seat competitors.
Safety kit includes eight airbags (including a front centre unit and a driver’s knee unit), auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection assist, rear auto braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (both with braking), front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree parking camera, Matrix headlights and a heads-up display.
Available colours for the Outlander Exceed are the no cost ‘White’, as well as ‘Cosmic Blue’, ‘Sterling Silver’ and ‘Titanium’ for $740 extra and ‘Black Diamond’, ‘White Diamond’ and our test car’s ‘Red Diamond’ for $940 extra. Interior options include either black or white leather.
Buyers can spend $2,000 more on the Exceed Tourer, which adds heated rear seats, black leather with tan inserts, massaging front seats and two-tone exterior paintwork (either white with a black roof or black with a bronze roof).
But we’d save $4,000 (or $6,500 if you don’t want all-wheel drive) and get the mid-spec Outlander Aspire. The Aspire only misses out on the panoramic roof, full leather trim (it has suede and faux leather instead), memory settings for the front seats, body-coloured lower bumpers, tri-zone climate control, the Bose sound system and sun shades for the rear doors – but that’s all. Under $45,000 drive away for features such as a 360-degree camera, Matrix headlights, suede and faux leather upholstery, heated front seats and so on is excellent value.
Chief competitors to the Outlander Exceed include the Mazda CX-5 GT SP 2.5L petrol AWD ($53,500 drive away) and the Hyundai Tucson Highlander 1.6T AWD ($54,632 drive away) – both are only available with five seats, which immediately gives the Outlander an advantage for some buyers. The Outlander is also cheaper to buy and better equipped than both rivals with features such as tri-zone climate control, Matrix headlights, the extra two seats, wireless Apple CarPlay and an electrically adjustable front passenger seat with memory not available on those competitors.
Performance & Economy: 7/10
Under the bonnet of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander range is a Nissan-derived 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 135kW of power (@6,000rpm) and 245Nm of torque (@3,600rpm). It’s the same engine that’s used in the US Nissan Altima and Rogue, and will likely be used in the X-Trail when it eventually launches in Australia later this year. It’s only engine available for the Outlander currently – the plug-in hybrid arrives later this year – and it’s matched to a CVT automatic transmission with eight stepped ratios as standard.
It’s a totally fine engine – it’s got reasonable performance and its fuel economy can be good too – but it’s really nothing special. There’s no low end shove of a turbocharged engine – like the Volkswagen Tiguan or Ford Escape – and thanks to the CVT transmission, it can be somewhat loud under full acceleration. The Outlander hits 100km/h in around 10 seconds, which is adequate but more go would be appreciated.
The CVT automatic is one of the better CVTs we’ve tested thanks to its stepped ratios, which makes it feel more like a regular automatic transmission. It’s still got a somewhat rubbery dynamic though, and a regular automatic would be a better option. Mitsubishi and Nissan seem almost allergic to those in regular passenger cars, unfortunately, so breath not held for one in the future. Even a turbocharged engine with lots of low end torque would help a lot.
Mitsubishi claims that the Outlander will use 8.1L/100km on a combined cycle and we actually beat that figure, recording 7.9L/100km (including a 5.6L/100km highway run). It will happily run on 91RON regular unleaded and it features a 55-litre fuel tank.
Ride & Handling: 7/10
Now sitting on Renault-Nissan’s ‘CMF-C/D’ platform, which also underpins a plethora of cars including the Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai and Renault Koleos, Kadjar and Megane, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed has seen improvements in the way it drives – especially as its predecessor was based on almost-two decade old underpinnings. But despite this improvement, we think the new Outlander still needs a further degree of finesse to match the better-driving offerings in the segment – the RAV4, Tiguan and CX-5 all come to mind.
The new Outlander’s ride tuning needs the most attention, in our opinion. On the huge 20-inch wheels of our Exceed test car, the lack of proper damping and too much suspension travel quickly become known, especially on higher-speed roads where bigger bumps will leave the car bobbing and floating. The low-speed ride is better, but still not perfect. The steering is also largely lacking in feel, though it is quite light, which helps in urban driving.
What does it do well then? It’s a respectable handling car with good grip from the chassis and an excellent all-wheel drive system, which has a variety of driving modes to help you get through the surface you’re driving on – mud, snow, gravel, etc are on offer. Road noise levels have also been improved massively compared with the old car though, and it’s much quieter at cruising speed – though the rear visibility isn’t the best thanks to thick pillars.
Dynamically, we think that Mitsubishi engineers should drive the Australian-spec Hyundai Tucson as its ride and handling balance is excellent – it’s more comfortable and yet, it’s also more fun to drive. The Mazda CX-5 runs rings around both for driving fun, but the Tucson offers a better balance of ride and handling.
Interior & Practicality: 9/10
While the exterior has seen a big improvement over the previous model, the interior goes further and is like night and day compared with the previous car. Gone are the strange layout, dated screens and plethora of blank buttons and here is a cabin that is contemporary, high quality and now one of the best in the mid-size SUV segment. It’s great quality, roomy and filled with a lot of standard technology – it’s better quality than the Tucson, and more practical than the CX-5.
There’s barely a surface in the new Outlander’s cabin that’s not covered in a soft-touch material. This ranges from a soft plastic dashboard and soft quilted leather inserts on the lower dashboard, doors and even the centre console. The leather steering wheel is also nice to hold, and while the stalks are a bit plasticky, the other switchgear such as the window and mirror controls is a big step up on the flimsy ones used in the rest of the Mitsubishi range. The windows are also now all automatic – the previous car and others in the Mitsubishi range employ a tactic that makes them automatic for the driver, but that’s it.
Centre of the Outlander’s cabin is a new 9.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, satellite navigation and digital radio. It’s a big upgrade on other Mitsubishi models – maybe that’s because it uses Nissan’s latest software, albeit with new fonts and colours. The layout is not massively intuitive to use, but the screen quality is great and it’s quick to the touch. The 10-speaker Bose sound system is not the best Bose unit we’ve heard – it needs more punch – but it’s still respectable.
The Outlander’s cabin is practical with big cupholders, a reasonable bin under the centre armrest, a tray with a wireless phone charger, a big glovebox and big door bins but that’s it – the centre console could offer more storage. The rear seat is better featured with sectioned map pockets, a separate climate zone, two USB ports, sun shades, two ISOFIX points, a sliding and reclining seat and a centre arm rest with cupholders. The middle row of seats is quite spacious, even for taller adults.
Unlike most competitors as well, most of the Outlander range is equipped with a small third row of seats. Unfortunately there’s no airbag coverage or vents but there is an over-tether child seat mounting point in each seat, as well as cupholders. Both middle seats tilt and slide forward for easier access to the third row. In terms of roominess, the third row is fine for kids and even six-footers will just fit for a short trip – with the middle seat slid forward, though.
The boot of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed measures 163-litres with the third row of seats erect, 478L with them folded and 1,461L with all seats folded. The boot has a few clever touches such as hooks, tabs to fold the middle row of seats and storage on each side of the main load floor. A space-saver spare wheel lies underneath the car. By comparison, the CX-5’s boot measures 442L/1,342L and the Tucson’s is 539L/1,860L – both competitors are only five-seaters.
Service & Warranty: 10/10
Like other new Mitsubishi products, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander comes with a five-year/100,000km warranty that can be increased to a total of 10 years/200,000km if the car is serviced at a Mitsubishi dealership. 12 months of roadside assistance is included and is extended up to four years in total if the car is serviced at a Mitsubishi dealership. Five years/75,000km of servicing costs just $995 ($199 per service), which is the lowest in the mid-size SUV segment.
Both Mazda and Hyundai’s warranties are five years/unlimited km in total, while five years of servicing the Mazda CX-5 GT SP costs $1,969 ($394 per service) and the same for the Hyundai Tucson Highlander 1.6T AWD costs $1,595 ($319 per service). Both cars have shorter 10,000km intervals as well, which increases costs for owners travelling more than 10,000km annually.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.2/10
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is a massive improvement on the car it replaces. Not only does it look and feel a lot better than before, but it’s also much better equipped, more technologically advanced, more modern and yet, still offers the strong value equation that we’ve become used to with the Mitsubishi brand – its service costs are the lowest in the segment, while it’s also good value to buy upfront.
There are disappointing factors to it, however – the drivetrain is merely adequate and the ride quality needs retuning as it’s not up to scratch (we can’t wait to try an ES or LS specification car as they have smaller wheels). But those are our biggest complaints with the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed and it’s a far more serious competitor than before. That it features seven seats is icing on the cake for many SUV buyers looking for a safe, reliable, technologically advanced and good quality mid-size SUV.