2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Revealed: A Seven-Seat SUV With Rogue Bones

It’s the first Mitsu product to benefit from the company’s partnership with Nissan.

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is finally here, and it looks good. Replacing an SUV that felt outdated even when it debuted in 2012, the next-generation Outlander crossover also benefits from Mitsubishi’s fledgling partnership with Nissan, which the spreadsheet repeatedly proves – its powertrain, wheelbase, and several interior parts are shared with the 2021 Rogue. Mitsubishi adds a standard third-row seat, which could make it attractive to many.

It’s also a stylish compact crossover, with the latest iteration of Mitsubishi’s “dynamic shield” styling motif and a blockier, more traditional stance that reminds us somewhat of the old chop-top Montero Sport. And its interior receives a wholesale update with improved fit and finish, more space, and a standard 8.0-inch or optional 9.0-inch center touchscreen that finally does away with the company’s old, dated infotainment system. It appears that Mitsubishi is getting serious about the US market once again.

Beautifully Brutish

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander takes its stylistic inspiration from the Engelberg Tourer concept, though it’s been toned down for series production somewhat. However, the split-headlight arrangement remains, which gives the Mitsu a distinctive appearance – razor-thin LEDs up high serve as the daytime running lights and turn signals, while a three-zone lighting element lower on the bumper incorporates the LED fog lights and high and low beams.

The company says that the C-shaped strips of chrome on either side of the grille are meant to recall the brush guards one might find on an old Montero SUV, while the bumper’s lower opening pays homage to the Lancer Evolution X. We’re not positive we see much of the latter, but it’s impossible to deny that the new Outlander is far more exuberantly styled than its predecessor. The Engelberg Tourer’s side profile ports over largely unchanged in the new Outlander, with available 20-inch wheels and bulging front and rear wheel arches imparting a planted, rally-raider stance.

An upright greenhouse and thick D-pillar look appropriately SUV-like, though we’re not sure third-row passengers will feel anything but claustrophobic given those smallish rear quarter windows. The rear view features crisp, thin taillights that echo the front driving lights, as well as a bulging hexagon on the hatch skin that Mitsubishi says is meant to recall the external spare tires of its previous SUVs. However, we think an actual spare tire would have worked better in that regard.

Under The Hood

Any comparisons to the husky Montero or the snarling Lancer Evolution end when peering under the hood of the Outlander. A 2.5-liter inline-four and continuously variable transmission, shared with the Nissan Rogue, send 181 horsepower (135 kilowatts) and 181 pound-feet (245 newton-meters) to the front or all four wheels. As on the Rogue, this powertrain option should be adequate for most daily driving tasks, although it might feel a bit dull when the Outlander is loaded down with seven passengers and their cargo.

Still, customers in this class are typically interested in fuel economy instead of outright speed, and Mitsubishi promises better efficiency from the new Outlander’s engine relative to its predecessor. We’d expect to see 26 miles per gallon city, 32 highway, and 28 combined for the two-wheel-drive model and 25/31/27 from the all-wheel-driver.

That four-wheel-drive system is called Super All-Wheel Control in Mitsubishi parlance, integrating a hydraulic center clutch to portion torque instantly to the front and rear axles, and it doesn’t rely on wheel slip to send power to the opposite end of the vehicle. If slip is detected, the system brakes the spinning wheel to keep power headed to those with traction instead. The Outlander can also selectively brake individual wheels in corners to reduce understeer and provide more stability.

Inner Peace

Inside, it’s not hard to see Nissan’s influence on the design and layout of the new Outlander. Both infotainment screens come straight from the Rogue, as do the HVAC controls, available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, head-up display, and electronic shift selector. If you have to copy someone else’s homework, the A-student 2021 Rogue is a good place to start, and fit and finish look much improved relative to any current Mitsu.

Mitsubishi dresses up its cabin with some brand-specific color options, as well as semi-aniline leather and genuine aluminum trim on top-shelf models, a knurled finish on the drive mode selector and other knobs, and an attractive four-spoke steering wheel that looks ripped straight from a 2006 Montero (which we mean as a compliment). What’s more, the Outlander offers a 106.5-inch wheelbase that’s 1.4 inches longer than its predecessor. That translates into 1.0 and 1.1 inches of added legroom for the front and second rows, and the interior is 0.3-inch wider overall than before.

The third row split-folds 50/50 for added cargo room, while the second row gets a 40/20/40 arrangement. With both rows flat, the cargo area is 80.3 inches long in total, an increase of 15.9 inches, with a width of 37.4 inches (versus 31.5 in the outgoing SUV).

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