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MITSUBISHI CREATES A WINNER

The all-new 2022 Outlander is more than competitive in a tough segment.

Mitsubishi arrived at a recent Western Automotive Journalists gathering with its new Outlander SUV and I was not the only automotive reviewer that was pleasantly surprised. Frankly, the last few years of new product offerings from this automaker have offered little but a bit lower window sticker than its rivals. In contrast, the new Outlander is seriously competitive.

Curb Appeal

I encountered the Outlander parked among a gaggle of new vehicles, all competing for attention in the crowded field in the small to medium SUV segment. The fresh bold face is impossible to miss with its signature headlight treatment begging for attention. The LED eyes surround a fresh grille with a prominent Mitsubishi logo. Some shy shoppers may not swoon to the swagger, but it sends the clear message that something new is afoot.

The rest of the styling may borrow from Land Rover, but since that bit of theft doesn’t incur incarceration, why not rob a bank. And our Alloy Silver example displayed nicely detailed sculpturing and refreshing attention to detail.

Fun Inside

Quilted leather seats are much more common in big luxury cars than mainstream SUVs and a color mix of saddle and dark leather with contrasting stitching also adds a welcome touch. Those attributes gave our top-trim Outlander a luxury perception that mainstream offerings seldom deliver.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a 12.3-inch screen, along with wireless charging, are standard with SE and SEL models and available on some other trim levels. The Outlander also offers three-row seating, a feature unavailable in most “small SUV” rivals. Granted, you wouldn’t wish to tour the states in the rear compartment, but it’s a logical choice for many families.

 

Smooth Sailing

I didn’t expect too much in the sporting department with a non-turbo 2.5-liter engine, connected to a CVT transmission moving around 3,800-pounds. But the experience was a pleasant surprise, not poised to win drag races, but perfectly fine for family consumption. And the Nissan partnership, where the mechanical bits come from, has improved the feeling of shiftless acceleration.

Mitsubishi wants everyone to be able to experience the new Outlander, so the lineup starts at a very affordable $25,795 for the ES front drive version that still boasts a reasonable list of standard features. And to help close the deal, a full 5-year, 50,000-mile warranty, 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year roadside assistance is standard on all Outlanders. It’s about time the venerable brand created a stir in the marketplace.

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THE FINE PRINT

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL

TYPE:  Front-engine, all-wheel-drive

ENGINE:  2.5-liter I4

HORSEPOWER:  181 @ 6,000 RPM

TORQUE:  181 lb.ft. @ 3,600 RPM

BASE PRICE: $33,745

AS TESTED:  $37,995

FUEL CONSUMPTION:  24-city, 30-highway, 26-combined