Mitsubishi has completely reimagined the Outlander crossover for 2022. It's larger, with more space and more room for passengers, and packs in new driver assistance technology. But what stands out is that Mitsubishi seems to have taken a new direction with this vehicle, one that moves the model upscale and, to steal from another automaker's marketing department, has us asking, "Is that a Mitsubishi?"
The Outlander has grown for its fourth generation, increasing 51 mm in width, 15 mm in overall length, and 36 mm in wheelbase length (1,862, 4,710, 2,706 mm, respectively) to add more legroom for passengers in the first two rows. That's 26 mm in the front seats and 25 mm in the rear, which the company calls "top-level" in the class. The front seats can slide further, and the steering wheel can tilt and telescope more than before to help more drivers find the right position. Storage spaces abound, including multiple compartments in the rear and smartphone holders for every seat.
What you'll see in the cabin impresses, starting with materials, design, and finishes that make it look like Mitsubishi has been looking over some shoulders at Hyundai and Mazda. Quilted stitching is found on the seats and doors of the top-trim model shown. A full-width dash design helps the cabin look wider, while real turned aluminum for the area around the gear selector (and a knurled drive mode selector), paired with available leather padding for the dash, adds some serious posh. Saddle tan accents and semi-aniline leather are offered, as are black suede and a fabric option.
A 12.3-inch digital dash screen is offered, with lesser models getting a still-impressive seven-inch screen between two analogue gauges. An eight-inch infotainment screen is standard, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while a larger nine-inch version is available and includes GPS navigation. Sound effects for the Outlander's warnings were designed by video game developer Bandai Namco. Bose audio is available, including dual subwoofers, while Mitsubishi Connect offers services like car finding, roadside assistance, and emergency response services.
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Driver assistance features on the new Outlander include Mitsubishi's assisted driving technology that combines lane-centring and adaptive cruise control to keep the vehicle in its lane, though it is hands-on for the driver. Linked with the vehicle navigation system, it can automatically slow for curves and junctions as well as lowered speed limits. In stop-and-go traffic, the system can resume moving forward after a stop as long as 30 seconds. Traffic sign recognition will also be offered, showing you the current posted limit on the speedometer, and there will also be forward collision mitigation and warning, automatic high-beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure prevention, and rear cross-traffic and emergency braking.
Outside, this design keeps a lot of the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer concept from 2019. A large, blunt front end, which isn't trying to be overly aggressive, leading back to a tailgate with T-shaped LED lamps. The design is clearly Mitsubishi, but it's also a clear step forward from the brand's existing offerings.
The 2022 Outlander is powered by a new 2.5L engine, producing 181 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Backing that engine is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with eight virtual ratios in sport mode to feel more like a conventional automatic. All-wheel-drive versions get a hydraulic centre clutch that can better transfer power in tough situations like starting off on a frozen hill. The crossover's vehicle dynamics control adds brake control for the rear wheels, which the automaker says can improve handling as well as simulate a locked differential in slick conditions. This version won't offer a plug-in hybrid model just yet; expect the existing Outlander PHEV to continue for at least a few years.
Sales of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander are expected to start this April, and we expect full pricing, fuel economy, and trim level specifications nearer to dealer arrival.