2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire review

With a new engine and transmission combo and a fresh new design, the first all-new Mitsubishi Outlander in a decade straddles the fine line between the medium and large SUV segments.

  • Bold design, inside and out
  • New engine/transmission combo works well together
  • Affordable servicing costs and that conditional 10-year warranty
  • Third row best saved for very short trips
  • No airbag coverage in row three
  • Chip shortage sees 12.3-inch driver display downsized to 7.0 inches

The Mitsubishi Outlander has always been a bit of an outlander in the medium SUV segment, ceding ground to popularity contest winners Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5. But, with this new generation, Mitsubishi’s family hauler has taken a turn for the better. It’s the first all-new Mitsubishi Outlander in 10 years, and has lost the awkward frumpiness that characterised the previous third generation.

Visually, it’s a looker, with design elements that simply work together to offer a striking profile from any angle. And while the Japanese Institute of Design Promotion’s Good Design Awards specifically targeted the plug-in hybrid when handing Mitsubishi a gong last year, it’s hard not to imagine the Outlander’s external styling was a factor in the minds of the judges.

All in the eye of the beholder of course, but to the eyes of this beholder, the Outlander looks the goods.

The model we have here is the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD Aspire. It’s priced at $41,990 plus on-road costs, and packs plenty of punch for the money, although, thanks to the global semiconductor shortage, ever so slightly less than previously. More on this later.

The medium SUV segment the Outlander plays in is a fertile field of options. Mitsubishi’s entrant in a competitive field continues to prove popular, outsold only by the Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5.

But, neither of those Japanese rivals feature seven seats. The Outlander does. And that means families needing the convenience of a third row are limited in their options.

Honda offers a seven seat version of its popular CR-V starting at $40,300 while the Nissan X-Trail can be had with a third row starting at $34,265 before on-roads.

It’s worth noting, the X-Trail is the same SUV underneath as the Outlander, the two Japanese brands sharing a family (Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance) and platform. A similarly specified X-Trail – seven seats, 2.5-litre petrol engine, front-wheel drive – asks for a very similar $40,275 plus on-roads.

Key details 2002 Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD Aspire
Price (MSRP) $41,990 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Cosmic Blue
Options Pearlescent paint – $740
Floor mats – $202
Price as tested $42,932 plus on-road costs`
Rivals Toyota RAV4 | Mazda CX-5 | Nissan X-Trail

Slide into the Outlander for the first time and you’re greeted by a well-presented and borderline minimalist cabin. Mitsubishi has gone some way to modernising the cabin and it’s immediately apparent in both the quality of materials used and in the general layout.

The seats are trimmed in a microsuede with (faux) leather bolsters and right off the bat, look as sharp as they feel plush. We’d argue they present better than the two-tone leather numbers found in the range-topping Outlander Exceed.

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Powered seat adjustment is limited to the driver’s side although both front pews score seat heating for those chilly winter mornings.

The second row is comfortable enough although thanks to the presence of seats six and seven in row three, compromised on space. Adults and taller kids will feel the pinch.

There are air vents back there and a pair of cupholders in a fold-down armrest that doubles as the seatback for the middle pew. It’s not the most elegant of applications.

Neither is entry into the third row which requires a level of body bending adults shouldn’t have to endure. Even my eight-year-old kid struggled to make a graceful entry and exit into the third row. Nor was she impressed with the space on offer. Make no mistake, this is a temporary solution for occasional use. If your needs run to seven seats full time, consider a people mover.

But, for those who can see the benefit of an occasional third row, then the Outlander trumps the popular sellers in the segment by seven seats to five.

That third row does, unsurprisingly, impact on cargo capacity, with a meagre 163 litres to play with the third row in use by humans. That’s to the top of the seat backs.

That expands to 478 litres with the third row folded away and for those travelling just two-up and needing to carry larger loads, fold that second row away and there’s a decent 1473 litres available. A space-saver spare lurks under the boot floor.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD Aspire
Seats Seven
Boot volume 163L to third row
478L to second row
1473L to first row
Length 4710mm
Width 1862mm
Height 1745mm
Wheelbase 2706mm

Infotainment and Connectivity

A 9.0-inch touchscreen anchors the Outlander’s infotainment system. It runs a version of Nissan’s new operating system, due to the alliance between the two brands – no bad thing – and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio and inbuilt satellite navigation.

Note though that Apple’s iteration of smartphone mirroring is wireless, while Android Auto needs you to plug into one of the two USB inputs up front. Wireless phone charging is also standard in the Outlander Aspire.

Responses to touch inputs on the screen are slick and the overall user experience is intuitive. A selection of physical shortcut buttons and dials are a welcome inclusion in a digital age here the proliferation of screens in our lives comes at the expense of tactility. Yes, I like buttons and dials.

A 12.3-inch digital driver display provides a host driving data on top of the usual speedo/tacho combination, augmented by a head-up display projecting vital data – such as speed, navigation and speed sign info – onto the windscreen. Be aware though, as part of Mitsubishi’s strategy to keep costs down due to ongoing supply chain issues and microchip shortages, the 12.3-inch unit seen here in our test car has been benched in favour of a smaller 7.0-inch iteration.

A six-speaker stereo is standard, and its audio quality is perfectly acceptable.

The new generation Outlander was awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating earlier this year, the independent safety body scoring the Mitsubishi well across all key criteria – 83 per cent for adult protection, 91 per cent child occupant, 81 per cent vulnerable road user, and 83 per cent for its safety assistance systems. Of note was the Outlander’s perfect scores of 6 out of 6 during both side impact and pole oblique crash testing.

Mitsubishi’s suite of active safety technologies is comprehensive – autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and traffic-sign recognition are all bundled in.

A suite of eight airbags covers two rows of occupants, including a centre airbag between the front seats to prevent heads colliding in the event of a side impact collision.

Worth noting is that the curtain airbags don’t extend to the third row, covering the first two rows only, something worth noting if you plan on using seats six and seven regularly.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD Aspire
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2022)
Safety report Link to ANCAP report

At $41,990 plus on-roads before options, the Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire sits smack-bang in the middle of a competitive medium SUV segment. Its ace in the hole, as we’ve already elucidated, is its third row of seating, something most of its rivals – and certainly not the top-selling RAV4 or Mazda CX-5 –  can’t bring to the game.

Neither can they bring Mitsubishi’s 10-year/200,000km warranty, although that surety does come with a caveat, requiring owners to have their Outlander serviced within the prescribed time/kilometre intervals at a Mitsubishi dealership. Otherwise, a regular five-year/100,000km warranty applies.

Servicing intervals are staggered at every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first, and ask for a very affordable $199 per visit for the first five years or 75,000km. That’s up there with the likes of Toyota for servicing affordability.

At a glance 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD Aspire
Warranty Five years / 100,000 km
Up to 10 years / 200,000km if service conditions are met
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $597 (3 years), $995 (5 years)

But, be aware though that after five years, those service costs increase by a healthy margin starting with the sixth visit at $499, the seventh at $199, eighth ($499), ninth ($199), before the final whammy in year 10 at $799. Over 10 years, that’s a total of $3190, still a very reasonable $319 per annum amortised over a decade.

Mitsubishi says the Outlander Aspire in this front-wheel drive trim will use just 7.7L per 100km of regular 91RON unleaded. We saw an indicated 9.1L/100km, skewed towards urban driving. More motorway running and rural touring should see that number come down closer to the manufacturer’s claim.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 7.7L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 9.1L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane regular unleaded
Fuel tank size 55L

Stylish interior and bold exterior designs aren’t the only new thing to underpin the new generation Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s all change under the bonnet too, with Outlander benefiting from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

Powering the Outlander range is a new to Mitsubishi 2.5-litre, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder petrol engine making 135kW and 245Nm. It’s paired with an eight-stepped continuously variable transmission, both units lifted straight from the Nissan catalogue where it also serves duty in the new X-Trail which has still to land in Australia.

In terms of power and torque outputs, those numbers represent a modest boost (of 11kW and 25Nm) over the outgoing model’s 2.4-litre petrol.

The new drivetrain is a decent accompaniment for the most likely use scenario an Outlander will face. Around town, the 2.5-litre petrol never feels overly stressed, remaining quiet and refined. The same can be said of the CVT, which does a good job of remaining unobtrusive with seamless ‘shifts’ and a knack for applying the right amount of torque at the right time.

It adds up to a smooth driving experience, something we’d venture buyers in this segment value over out-and-out performance.

It’s a similar tale out on the motorway where the Outlander happily sits at 110km/h and does so while feeling unruffled.

Its road manners too are commendable, the suspension setup nicely tuned to offer suppleness and comfort. Bump absorption is decent, the mid-sizer settling quickly after tackling bigger obstacles such as speed bumps.

It does err on the side of fidgetiness over more prolonged imperfections, such as poorly surfaced or pockmarked roads. But, in mitigation, the Outlander Aspire’s 20-inch alloys shod in low-profile rubber would be a contributing factor here.

The cabin remains nicely insulated, however, a quiet p[lace to spend time behind the wheel while the light and direct steering, make navigating tighter city streets and shopping centre car parks relatively simple.

The overall experience is a pleasant one, the Outlander remaining an easy and comfortable place to append time behind the wheel.

Key details 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander 2WD Aspire
Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power 135kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 245Nm @ 3600rpm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Continuously variable automatic
Power to weight ratio 81kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1670kg
Tow rating 1600kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 10.6m

The new Mitsubishi Outlander represents a big step forward in the segment for the Japanese brand. From its bold exterior design to the undeniable refinement inside, the new Outlander has moved on from its awkward teenager stage into adulthood.

Armed with a new powertrain, the new Outlander is an improvement over the model it replaces, offering a relaxed and effortless driving experience.

The interior too is a big step up for the brand, with a thoughtful design that it’s on the eye while also being comfortable. With a caveat. While rows one and two remain comfortable and well-appointed, the third row is best saved for emergencies and very occasional use. Still, for those who need the surety of a sometimes-third-row, the Outlander represents a decent proposition in the segment,

The arrival of a plug-in hybrid Outlander is imminent too, despite delays lowing to supply chain constraints. It’s now scheduled to land locally in the middle of the year.

But, for those who can’t wait, the Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire tested here makes a decent case for itself and is well worth a look if you’re in the hunt for a family SUV that won’t break the bank.

Ratings Breakdown

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire Wagon

8.2/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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