Mitsubishi Motors is shifting gears, attempting to revitalize its lacklustre image. Every vehicle in its lineup is undergoing a refresh or major makeover, including Mitsubishi’s flagship crossover SUV, the Outlander.
Since launching in Canada in 2002, more than 109,000 Outlanders have been sold. If those numbers don’t seem immediately impressive given the two-decade time span, you’re not alone. But the automaker is betting that the all-new 2022 Outlander will raise those numbers higher and attract new buyers to the brand.
“Outlander is the essence of our brand,” says Juyu Jeon, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc. “We have learned from our launch of Outlander PHEV [plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle] that we are capable of capturing a new customer that is more discerning and wants a more luxurious and innovative drive experience. We believe that we can evolve our brand image and Canadians will be receptive.”
For now, only the gas-powered Outlander will get a complete overhaul – not the PHEV. The Outlander took nearly four years to develop and engineer, says Jeon. It gets a new platform, built under the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, which Mitsubishi joined in 2016. It has a larger 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that pumps out 181 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Last year’s base model Outlander had a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with only 166 hp and 162 lb-ft. But unlike with the previous Outlander, there’s no longer a V6 engine on offer.
This fourth-generation Outlander grows in every dimension compared to its predecessor – it’s wider, longer and taller. Now it’s 4,710 mm long, 1,862 mm wide, and 1,748 mm high – that’s 15 mm longer, 51 mm wider and 38 mm higher than the previous version. That translates into more interior space, particularly legroom and headroom in all three rows of seats. The second-row seats slide, recline and can split 40/20/40 for added flexibility. There’s even a lever in the cargo area to make it easier to lower the seats. The liftgate also adds a kick-motion sensor under the rear bumper for raising or lowering the liftgate. Since the selection of three-row SUVs that can seat seven is limited, it’s a strong selling point for the Outlander.
Besides the extra space, Mitsubishi has made efforts to upgrade the interior – a welcome change given that the last Outlander was criticized for hard plastics and poor-quality material. In addition to the light-coloured leather interior, the delicate diamond-stitched pattern on the seats and door panels nicely complements new tech features such as a smaller gear shifter, a nine-inch centre display screen and a 12.3-inch digital driver display. Other tech features include wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, USB charging ports and a 10.8-inch head-up display that projects vital driver information directly onto the windshield within the driver’s field of vision. Two other nice touches include a rear sunshade and a large panoramic glass sunroof that makes the cabin look airy and roomier.
The exterior has some nice touches, including large 20-inch wheels, sharp angles and horizontal T-shaped taillights at the rear. Eight body colours are available including Cosmic Blue, Red Diamond and a new shade dubbed Black Diamond, a special colour with three coats of paint, including a high-density shiny layer containing glass that changes hues depending on the reflection of the light. New exterior components, such as an aluminum engine hood and plastic front fenders, shaved about 8 kg of weight.
On the safety front, the Outlander impresses with 11 airbags, an updated electronically controlled 4WD and S-AWC (Super-All Wheel control) system and six new drive modes including Eco, Gravel, Mud and Snow, which can be accessed via a dial below the gear shifter. MI-PILOT Assist, which is Mitsubishi’s semi-autonomous driving technology, integrates adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist to help maintain the distance between vehicles and keep the vehicle centred in the lane. The system can automatically set the vehicle’s velocity to match speed-limit signs as well as automatically accelerate or brake to a complete stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is definitely a marked improvement over the last generation. It goes on sale this April. Prices will be announced closer to the sale date.
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander
- Base price: TBC
- Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 181 hp and 181 ft./lb. of torque
- Transmission/drive: 8-speed sport mode CVT, 4WD
- Fuel economy (litres/100 km city and highway): TBC
- Alternatives: Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4
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