CHATHAM, Mass. – The more time I spent behind the wheel of the new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC enjoying the broad range of features and amenities, the more impressed I was by how much sport utility vehicle came with its sub-$40,000 price tag.
This thoroughly reengineered SUV sits on a 106-inch wheelbase and at 185-inches long is somewhere between a large compact SUV and a small mid-size one. Regardless of the segment label, the engineers at Mitsubishi were able to squeeze a fair amount of interior room inside, including a third row (a feature which is usually reserved for much larger SUVs).
Historically, Mitsubishi has also squeezed a lot of technology, features and equipment into the vehicles they sold in the U.S. and the new Outlander continues the tradition. This top-of-the-line SEL with optional SEL Touring package ($2,795) brings virtually everything usually found on a well-equipped luxury SUV (not a mass-market one), including a long list of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS).
Thorough complement of ADAS
The list of ADAS includes forward collision mitigation; predicted-forward-collision warning; active blind-spot assist and blind-spot warning with lane-change assist; lane-departure warning and lane-departure prevention; rear automatic-emergency braking; rear cross-traffic alert; Multiview-camera system; automatic high beams, and front and rear parking sensors.
The comprehensive ADAS suite includes one, MI-PILOT Assist, which combines the features of two of the assist systems for both safer and more relaxed driving. The MI-PILOT Assist integrates Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) to maintain the distance between vehicles and keeping the vehicle in the center of the lane.
In addition, vehicles equipped with navigation link like the one I drove, can read the speed signs to automatically change the set speed and utilize the navigation map information to automatically adjust the vehicle speed as appropriate for curves and forks. While driving in heavy traffic on highways, the Outlander can automatically move forward if less than about 30 seconds have passed since the vehicle stopped.
In addition, the Outlander SEL comes with trailer-stability assist (TSA), something common in today’s full-size pickup trucks but not in small SUVs. The system assists stable driving while towing a trailer by controlling the right and left front wheel braking when swaying is detected. The engine output is also controlled to assist the stable travel of the trailer and tow vehicle.
Inside, technology and amenities galore
For generations Mitsubishi has filled its cars, trucks and SUVs with the latest technology, not always incorporating them into a coordinated package. In the case of the new Outlander, the pieces are well developed, well thought out, simple to use and well-integrated.
A 12.3-inch customizable driver-information screen peeks through the steering wheel with much of its data repeated in the driver’s line of vision thanks to the heads-up display (part of the SEL Touring package).
At the top of the dashboard sits a nine-inch multi-color touch screen which is both the heart of the infotainment system (which includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) and navigation, as well controlling numerous vehicle functions.
Sound is projected through the cabin via the Bose designed 10-speaker sound system with dual subwoofers.
Further technology features include wireless mobile-device charging and USB type A and C outlets for front and second-row occupants.
Speaking of passengers in the second row, they have their own automatic climate-control zone (as do each of the occupants in the front row) and seat heating (again, as do the front passengers whose seats are also electrically adjustable). All the seats are covered with semi-Aniline leather.
Above everyone is a power moonroof which, along with large front, rear and side windows, further creates the impression of a roomy interior.
All the features work to provide a comfortable environment whether out for a long highway drive or running around Cape Cod on daily errands. The compact dimensions of the Outlander along with the ADAS and those large windows made circumnavigating the Cape villages tighter streets simple work. The well-designed suspension meant the ride was very comfortable, regardless of road surfaces.
Power, handling well-conceived for efficient operations
The 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine puts 181 horsepower and 18 pounds-feet of torque through the automatic continuously variable transmission into the all-wheel-drive system (AWD which Mitsubishi dubs AWC or all-wheel control).
This power is transmitted to the road through a four-wheel independent suspension, MacPherson-type struts up front, multi-link the rear.
Braking is provided by four-wheel ventilated discs (13.8-inches front, 13.0 rear) with four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. These components work with 20-inch aluminum wheels wearing P255/45R20 all-season tires.
All the drivetrain pieces produce more than adequate power for daily driving, whether needing to accelerate onto a highway or maneuver around slow-moving traffic.
While driving around Cape Cod as well as on a couple of off-Cape sojourns, the Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC returned 33.2 miles per gallon of gasoline, a figure well above the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s rating of 26 mpg overall (24 urban, 30 highway). This result was well received as gas prices went soared above $4.60!
The bottom line is a lot of SUV for not a lot of dollars
Looking up the word value in the dictionary might well reveal a picture of a 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander SEL 2.5 S-AWC. The value begins with a SUV thoroughly redesigned, reengineered and rethought out when compared to the last generation of Outlanders, resulting in a better vehicle.
This top-of-the-line Outlander has a $33,745 base price – very, very competitive with vehicles in its class (none others with a third row). The review unit had some options (the SEL Touring at $2,700 the major one with head-up display, semi-Anline leather seating, Bose sound, power panoramic moonroof and heated steering wheel), a destination/handling charge of $1,195 for a total as reviewed price of $38,590.
Again, value – the core of what makes the Mitsubishi Outlander special.