The fully redesigned 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is a promising option for SUV buyers seeking a three-row alternative to the competitors with much higher pricing. While there are several great choices in the three-row SUV segment, many of them are almost outrageously expensive. That is where Mitsubishi’s latest compact crossover comes in. The 2022 Outlander receives a lot of updated styling, improved driving dynamics, and more space for passengers in the first and second rows.
The standard equipment included in the 2022 Outlander is impressive for the price, and despite being built to haul plenty of passengers, it gets good fuel efficiency. Rumors from Mitsubishi suggest they plan to offer a plug-in hybrid model of the 2022 Outlander later in the year, though the 2021 hybrids are still available for those who don’t want to wait. Five trim levels offer a range of features that start with a snazzy, safe vehicle with a luxury feel in the top trims.
With Mitsubishi throwing down the gauntlet with its new Outlander, the question becomes, how does it stack up against the competition?
How Does the 2022 Outlander Perform?
Mitsubishi proudly points out that the newly redesigned Outlander sports a new platform that was developed in concert with Nissan. The 2022 Outlander and the all-new Nissan Rogue now share the same chassis, which Mitsubishi stated in a press release as having “hot stamped ultra-high tensile-strength steel used in key areas” to improve the torsional rigidity. When you plan to go off into the woods on washboard dirt roads, you want more rigidity in your chassis; and the 2022 Outlander is being marketed as an SUV that can handle any driving conditions when it’s equipped with all-wheel drive.
The all-wheel drive system Mitsubishi offers for the Outlander is called All-Wheel Control, and it comes with six drive modes that can be controlled via the dial in the center console. Any of the trim levels can add this system, which also comes with a washer for the headlights and a wiper de-icer. Generous, perhaps, to toss these features into the mix for the all-wheel drive system, but how does it perform when you’re driving?
At the moment, the best information comes from objective highway driving tests which inform buyers that the 2022 Outlander has better responsiveness on curves, with more taut steering and a stiffer ride to handle adverse conditions. Available 20-inch wheels and wide tires also help to enhance handling and grip, giving you a sports car-like feel on the highway.
Interior and Exterior Quality and Design
Certainly, the quality of materials has improved over the previous generation of the Outlander, particularly where the more modern appearance shows up in the grille, front fascia, and other styling elements. On the outside, many reviews are hopped up on the hexagonal shape in the grille, but the sculpted side panels and updated headlights are more noticeable from a distance. The wheel design is also sharp and updated, and the floating roof marks the Outlander as a thoroughly stylish vehicle. Once you turn it on, the curve of LED daytime running lights shows up in the front end as immediately unique in shape.
On the inside, the upholstery may be one of the more delicious aspects of the new styling. There are several color options available, and the stitching and detail take it up a notch in how expensive it looks. These details are usually reserved for more expensive luxury vehicles, so 2022 Outlander buyers can enjoy a little of the good life if you upgrade to one of the middle or upper trims.
Even at the entry-level, you gain the modern look of the clean lines in the dash, the digital instrument cluster, and the standard 8-inch touchscreen in the center stack. You also get the shaped low-profile shift knob that fits your hand nicely, and the steering wheel is molded for a more comfortable grip. Little touches like these are found scattered throughout the cabin, and they make a big difference in daily comfort. The powered lumbar support in the seats is welcome, too.
Few vehicles in the compact SUV segment offer the option of third-row seating, and it’s arguable whether or not the seats in the 2022 Outlander are worth having with only 18.7 inches of legroom. Even kids will find it cramped back there on long drives, but at least the seats are an option and can come in handy for unexpected passengers.
Mitsubishi did add an extra cubic foot of cargo space and an inch of room for legs in the back seat for this new model, though compared against midsize or full-size three-row SUVs, it’s still fairly small back there. On the other hand, if you compare it to other compact SUVs, you can flip down that back seat for 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space or fold down all the seats for up to 79.7 cubic feet. The 40/20/40 split seating in the second row is convenient for flexibility.
How the 2022 Outlander Compares to Other Three-Row SUVs
With so few three-row SUVs in the compact segment, this comparison has to include some bigger SUVs. This may not seem fair, but the 2022 Outlander claims to have a lot to offer buyers. Entry-level pricing without any fees begins at $25,795, and it gets good fuel efficiency at 27 MPG combined with the standard—and only—four-cylinder engine. Even if the seats are small in the rear, the Outlander does seat seven and comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Using these credentials, how does the Outlander compare to other three-row SUVs?
If compared to midsize models like the 2021 Honda Pilot and 2021 Toyota Highlander, there is a wide gap in pricing. The Pilot pricing starts at $32,250, and the Highlander is even more expensive at $34,910. Fuel efficiency is also worse than the Outlander, despite going up against two brands known for generally fuel-saving engines. Honda’s Pilot gets 23 MPG combined, and Toyota’s Highlander isn’t much better at 24 MPG combined.
Both of these competing Japanese SUVs seat 7-8 passengers and certainly have more room than the Outlander, but surprisingly the Pilot does not come standard with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto despite its higher sticker price. One advantage of the larger SUVs is the more powerful V6 engines they offer, though that doesn’t benefit the wallet when it comes to fuel costs.
Up against the midsize 2021 GMC Acadia and 2021 Chevy Traverse, the 2022 Outlander once again dominates in pricing. These two GM twins both start at $29,800 and have the same powertrains. The most efficient GM engine option only gets 25 MPG combined, and the other two engines are even worse. Both the Traverse and Acadia have similar seating to the Outlander. Unlike Honda, GM at least offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which is equal to the Outlander. With about half the equipment being equal, the pricing tips in the direction of the Outlander again.
Compared to the 2021 Ford Explorer and the 2021 Subaru Ascent, the 2022 Outlander once again beats both in pricing. Ford starts the Explorer at $32,675, and the Ascent begins at $32,295. These popular SUVs are fairly good on fuel, but the Outlander once again edges them out since the Explorer gets 24 MPG combined and the Ascent 23 MPG combined compared to the Outlander’s 27 MPG. Seating in the Explorer matches the Outlander, though the Ascent seats 7-8 for an extra passenger capacity. Both the competitor SUVs are powered by standard four-cylinder engines like the Outlander, but only the Ascent comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Even with these popular SUV brands, the Outlander has the big advantage in affordability again.
Mitsubishi Has A Winner
Even if the third row is small, the 2022 Outlander beats all the other major brands in this segment when it comes to price and does so without sacrificing features or comfort. When you want a three-row SUV that can handle rough roads, snow, and mud while looking darn good doing it, the 2022 Outlander is worth considering. This SUV boasts plenty of modern style and is laden with features.