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Outlander Excels: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander XLS Review

You know those family reunions where you haven’t seen your older cousins for a while but when you do, so much has changed that they seem to be completely different people? Well, you could say that is what has happened with the Mitsubishi Outlander. The latest incarnation of Mitsubishi’s most popular mid-sized SUV could almost be mistaken for a different model all together. Basically, the new Outlander is lightyears ahead of the one before it. Here is the low down.

The new Outlander family consists of the base LS, the XLS featured here, the VRX and the range topping plug in PHEV. The three former models are available in either 2WD or 4WD with the 2WD LS kicking off the range at a retail sale price of $41,990 plus ORC. As my XLS was 4WD, it will set you back $49,990 RSP plus ORC.

The most obvious change at first glance with the new Outlander is the looks. It manages to strike an incredible blend of the new with the familiar. The emblem takes centre stage on that blacked out makeshift grille and those 20-inch alloys are unmistakeably Mitsi. However, the rest of it is completely different and I really like it.

The bonnet features a pair of discreet bulges which are quite nice to look at from the inside or out. You have chrome accents either side of the grill and around the lights and indicators.  At the rear there is a new taillight cluster and either side gives a striking profile. There is something very Range Rover Velar about how the new Outlander looks. While those chrome accents might not be to everyone’s taste, the Outlander’s new premium face, sides and err rear, looks pretty darn good to me.

There have been changes under the bonnet too. The old 2.4L four pot is gone and instead sits a new and even more efficient 2.5L MIVEC four-cylinder petrol engine. Because of the increase in displacement and some clever tinkering by Mitsubishi’s engine boffins, you now get 135kW of grunt and 245Nm of torque. This is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox which is very smooth, but more on that in a bit.

Mitsubishi claim combined fuel consumption figures of 8.1L/100km and CO2 emission figures of 174g/km. There are five drive modes to suit the varying types of driving buyers will no doubt be encouraged to do. You have ECO, Normal, Tarmac, Gravel, Snow and Mud, each of which gives you a nice-looking image of your car in the relevant situation on the instrument cluster.

Talking of interior accoutrements, the Outlander has been given a thorough revamp on that front too. While the previous generation was fine in many ways, the new car has a real premium ambience to match its premium looks. The layout and use of premium materials lifts your surroundings to no end. The piano black switchgear for the centre console to operate features like the air con and heated seats looks good and feels good. Plus, the use of leather for the dash trim is nice touch.

The gear selector looks and operates in a very premium German sort of way and the new 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is part of Mitsubishi’s second-generation SDA audio suite, is very intuitive and looks very sharp. All in all, the cabin is a great combination of minimalism and quality wrapped in a visually pleasing setting.

The ANCAP Five-Star rated Outlander XLS gets a decent level of additives including those aforementioned heated electric seats, hill descent control, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, shift paddles and a several USB ports.

Mitsubishi have also gone all out with throwing in plenty of safety kit at the new Outlander XLS. There are eight airbags all around, blind spot warning and assist, lane departure warning and prevention, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian and cyclist detection, a very clear and concise reversing camera with rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

Comfort levels have also been elevated with the new Outlander. The previous generation was fine but it sometimes felt like you were sitting on the seats rather than in them. The leather and suede seats in the latest generation give a massive amount of comfort and support and head and legroom front and rear is most generous. Even those of a lankier disposition should find it ok, though perhaps not in the optional third row.

Yes, the Outlander, bar the entry point LS, once again gives you seven seats. These can be stored away if not needed, giving you a decent 651L of boot space. Want more? Then fold the second row down and you will end up with 1461L.

Around town the new Outlander XLS continues its refined theme. That 2.5L four pot is much quieter than the old 2.4L unit and offers a healthy dose of linear torque throughout the rev range. The eight-speed automatic transmission is a peach too, offering smooth and precise changes on the way up or down.

The immediacy from the steering and throttle in the new Outlander, whether you have it in Tarmac or Normal mode, caught me a bit off guard when cornering for the first time. At first, I found it rather odd that an SUV of this type would behave like this but after a while I got used to it and the Outlander managed to keep on impressing as a result. Despite tipping the scales at 2355kg, the Outlander feels lively and supple.

In Tarmac mode, it wakes up and with the revs kept high, you can even have a spirited drive with it never feeling underdamped. There are sports saloons which are offer a less engaging drive than this. When you all you want to do is waft along, the Outlander can do this too. Despite the claim of 8.1L/100km, I was managing to do less than 8.0L on a regular basis, especially in ECO mode.

The marriage of Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) AWD and 210mm of ground clearance means the new Outlander isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. Having downhill descent control and those multiple off-road modes means any family trip to the ski field or hill top retreat can be achieved easily.

The new Outlander seldom manages to put a foot wrong in what has been for quite a while, a vastly competitive segment. Sure, it’s a name that has been with us for many a moon, but this Mitsubishi Outlander is one seriously good bit of kit and well worth any mid-sized SUV buyer’s shortlist. It’s good, really, very good.


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