NO EXCEPTION: The Mitsubishi Outlander continues to be a best seller despite the company reducing the features for the mid-year models to optimise supply output.

By DEREK OGDEN, Marque Motoring

WITH the pandemic, war and bad weather chipping away at lifestyles, automobile manufacturers, with their reliance on semi-conductors, have suffered more than most industries.

Mitsubishi is no exception and with shrinking supplies of tech equipment for its best-selling Outlander SUV, along with increasing material, manufacturing and logistic costs, it has reduced variants’ standard specification for a 22.5 model year.

The mid-range Aspire model (test vehicle) has a full digital driver display, going back to the seven-inch multi-information display and replacing the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, where the maker said it was to optimise production and minimise supply delays.

However, there is still much to mention about the popular 22MY Aspire AWD, which sells for $43,990, plus on-road costs.

Mitsubishi is the first to admit the new Outlander is a five-plus-two-seater rather than a seven-seater and has been quick to use this as a selling point.

The Outlander recently gained top marks for adult and child occupant safety, safety assist systems and pedestrian and cyclist protection in the independent ANCAP 2022 testing protocols, thus earning a top five-star rating.

All Outlanders are covered by Mitsubishi’s ten-year 200,000-kilometre warranty and capped price servicing, with all scheduled services done through the authorised Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Network.

Otherwise, it’s a five-year/100,000km one.

The new Outlander shares a chassis with the new Nissan X-Trail, which is some way off, and according to Mitsubishi, continues the tradition of an authentic SUV with a bold and distinctive exterior, including ‘muscular fenders and chiseled lines of the next generation Dynamic Shield grille’.

Designers have done a real job on the front end, with dominant squiggles of chrome descending from bonnet to bumper bracketing automatic levelling headlamps with adaptive driving beam and incorporating daytime running lights.

This feature can either add to, or detract from the look of the vehicle, depending on the body colour behind it.

The 20-inch alloy wheels with two-tone finish do complement the total set-up.

Comfort and convenience are to the fore with the newly crafted cabin clothed in classy materials, including Microsuede/synthetic leather seat trim, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob and power driver’s seat with lumbar support.

As mentioned above, the new Outlander is a five-plus-two-seater rather than a seven-seater, with the third row having limited leg, head and toe room, plus upright backrest and is best suited to small kids.

Headrests can be stored in an underfloor cubby and there’s also a space-saver spare wheel underneath the rear of the vehicle.

As for cargo, the maker quotes 163 litres with the third row in place, 478 litres with the third row folded, and 1473 litres with the second and third rows folded.

All 2022 Outlanders feature more technology and connectivity than previously, with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto now standard.

Instrument layout and controls have been simplified in line with modern design.

Sadly, as stated above a planned 12.3-inch full colour digital instrument cluster has been abandoned in favour of the 7-inch colour multi-information display due to supply constraints.

There is a 10.8-inch full-colour windscreen head-up display as standard on the Aspire models and above along with a wireless smartphone charger.

A newly developed 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 135 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 245 Nm of torque at 3600 rpm, is mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Sport mode with eight pre-set gear ratios is available via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts.

All new Outlanders have earned a top five-star ANCP safety rating on the latest 2022 tests.

They already enjoyed a comprehensive set of active safety measures, including predictive forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, driver attention alert, land change assist, emergency stop signal and emergency brake assist.

In addition, all Outlanders have hill start assist and hill descent control, active stability control, trailer stability assist, traction control, anti-lock braking, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake override.

The new Outlander may have run into tough going but there’s no lack of new tech and equipment for Mitsubishi’s popular SUV.

An upgraded powerplant ensures smooth going without any fireworks, after all it is only a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder unit taking on more than 1700kg of metal.

Generally, driving dynamics are adequate.

At hand is a new drive-by-wire transmission with new CVT logic, delivering a more direct shift pattern under large throttle inputs, while retaining smooth cruising and fuel efficiency of the CVT.

Mitsubishi’s motorsport-developed Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive system serves up six drive modes – sport, gravel, snow, mud, eco and normal (default) – which adjusts the 4WD system to suit the going.

This re-engineered system includes active yaw control with rear-wheel brake control to independently act on all four wheels and a new hydraulic direct coupling device for faster all-wheel response.

Despite the shortfall in technical upgrades, the Mitsubishi Outlander still has plenty for the discerning mid-size SUV buyer to Aspire to, not least the seven-seat capacity and extensive warranty plan.