The Outlander Outdoes Itself

Photo by Randy Stern
Photo by Randy Stern

Our favorite automotive brand among LGBTQ Minnesotans has pulled out all of the stops on their newest offering—the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander.

Why the enthusiasm? Consider the journey Mitsubishi has undertaken in the past 25+ years. Once they offered a zero-financing program where you put no money down and no payments for a calendar year. That backfired on the company and almost eliminated them from our market.

Over the years, Mitsubishi slowly came back. With the help of an LGBTQ-owned and operated dealership in White Bear Lake, it became our favorite brand. They were affordable and offered great traction with their All-Wheel Control system. The lineup also included a sports compact icon—the Lancer Evolution. 

A twist in the plot brought Nissan to Mitsubishi’s doorstep. The latter company needed a major boost financially. Nissan came back with a 33+ percent stake in Mitsubishi. The three-diamond brand is now healthier than ever with continued sales and financial growth in 2021 alone. 

Photo by Randy Stern

Now they needed new products. Therefore, the 2022 Outlander is the first vehicle developed from this partnership. Believe me: they came out swinging with this one. 

The Outlander is one of a couple models in its class that offers three rows of seating. It is the only one in its class that has this standard. 

With the seating arrangement as the basis of the new vehicle, Mitsubishi went to work on creating its own design for this new SUV. The result is a design that is forward-thinking. It is expressive, starting with a bold interpretation of the Dynamic Shield grille, a new set of headlamps set in the middle of the tall front fascia, and a chrome surround that announces its intentions upon the world. 

Photo by Randy Stern

Rearward, you will find a slab-like side profile with a more upright roofline at the rear. The visual illusion is included with a floating roofline at the C pillar. A new set of horizontal taillights frame an upscale-looking liftgate design that will define Mitsubishi design for years to come. 

Upscale is also the theme of the Outlander’s interior. You sit in semi-aniline quilted leather seats and trim in black with orange stitching and trim. The front seats were very comfortable in the first two rows. Our tester, an SEL Launch Edition that you probably saw at the Twin Cities Pride Festival at Loring Park last July, offers memory settings for the driver, along with power-assisted recline, rake, height and lumbar adjustments.

The second-row seats are adjustable with manual rake and recline adjustments. The third row is strictly for children, yet it carries a similar interior trim as the front two rows. Access to the third row requires moving the second-row seats up, then lifting a lever to flip the backrests forward. 

For cargo space, the Outlander starts with a small 11.7 cubic foot space behind the third row. Once you fold down the third row seats, it expands to 33.5 cubic feet. From there, you can install the cargo cover that will hide your goods away from prying eyes. However, if you fold the second row seats down you get a maximum of 78.3 cubic feet of space. 

Photo by Randy Stern

The SEL Launch Edition comes equipped with a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster that is customizable and full of information. This was augmented by a head-up display and a nine-inch infotainment screen crowning the center stack offering smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sound comes from a nice 10-speaker Bose Premium Sound system. You also get tri-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, and a nifty shifter for the transmission. 

What a lot of Outlander customers will love is the overall quality of the interior. The materials and controls have a quality touch to them. That also includes a new four-spoke steering wheel with perforated grips that works well with your hands. 

Underneath the hood of the 2022 Outlander is a new 181-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This new engine is connected to a continuously variable transmission with eight ratios available to the driver through a pair of paddle shifters on the steering wheel. This tester was equipped with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control. The all-wheel drive system is controlled by a knob on the center console with six drive modes for most conditions.  

Photo by Randy Stern

The 2022 Outlander moves with confidence. It has no qualms handling on-ramps and passing maneuvers. In our time with the Outlander, I had a chance to take it on a road trip to outside of Chicago for work. With the mix of city and highway driving, I averaged 26.5 MPG.

Whether it’s back in the Twin Cities or in the burbs of Chicago, the Outlander offers up a smooth ride overall. Rougher roads are controlled with ample dampening that does not jar you from your seat. Handling-wise, the Outlander felt composed even with a bit of softness. 

As for the steering system, the 2022 Outlander offered up a tight turning radius. It helped in dealing with evasive maneuvers, as well as getting into that parking space right on point. One thing we have not talked about is the on-center feel of a steering system. It is important that drivers feel confident when they are on the highway, especially when keeping within the lane. In the 2022 Outlander, we felt confident with its on-center feel and steering weight. It is not too heavy or light—just right. 

Photo by Randy Stern

When measuring driver confidence, it also comes down to the brake pedal. Consumers would prefer a controllable pedal, as opposed to one where we have to adjust while making a routine stop at an intersection. In the 2022 Outlander, I loved the feel of the pedal and the response to the four-wheel disc brake system. As for the braking system itself, it was very good exhibiting great stops in normal and panic situations. 

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered in three primary trim levels. The SE and SEL are also offered in a Launch Edition each for the 2022 model year. You can add an upgrade package, adding more technology features to the SE and SEL, as well. Pricing starts from $25,795. This SEL Launch Edition tester was stickered at $37,890.

There is one little detail I forgot to mention. You may have seen this particular 2022 Outlander SEL Launch Edition at the Twin Cities Pride Festival in July. It wore a wrap on the side with the White Bear Mitsubishi mascot celebrating our community. When I got it for this article, the wrap was removed. The spirit of LGBTQ pride still was present over the miles I put on this vehicle for another gathering—my first meeting with my fellow automotive media colleagues in 17 months near Chicago!

You can tell that there is still a lot of love for the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander. It is now your turn. If you are in the market for a compact- to mid-size SUV with distinctive styling, great quality, good performance, and the ability to do more than you would ask from it, make the 2022 Outlander your next choice in an SUV. 

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