With pandemic, war and bad weather chipping away at our 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, and increasing material, manufacturing and logistic costs — it has has reduced standard specification for new models.
For example, the 12.3-inch full digital instrument cluster in our mid-range Aspire test vehicle has reverted to a 7.0-inch multi-information display.
Mitsubishi says the decision was taken to optimise production and minimise supply delays.
Despite this, 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, rather than a seven-seater and has been quick to use this as a selling
Outlander also recently gained top marks for adult and child occupant safety, safety assist systems and pedestrian and cyclist protection in the independent ANCAP testing protocols, earning a top five-star rating.
All Outlanders are covered by Mitsubishi’s 10-year/200,000km warranty and capped price servicing, provided all scheduled services are carried out through the authorised Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Network.
Otherwise, it’s a 5-year/100,000km one.
What’s it cost?
New Outlander shares a chassis with the new Nissan X-Trail, which is some way off.
According to Mitsubishi, it continues the tradition as 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 headlights with adaptive driving beam, and incorporating daytime running lights.
This feature, to my mind, can either add to, or detract from the look of the vehicle, depending on the body colour behind it.
It’s too flashy and not totally to my taste. However, the 20-inch alloy wheels with two-tone finish do complement the total setup.
All 2022 Outlanders feature more technology and connectivity than before, with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto now standard.
Instrument layout and controls have been simplified in line with modern design.
Sadly, as mentioned, the planned 12.3-inch full colour digital driver display has been abandoned in favour of a smaller 7.0-inch display that is only partially digital — due to supply constraints.
Only the centre part of the screen changes. The tacho and speedo to either side are analogue and remain fixed.
There is a 10.8-inch full-colour windscreen head-up display as standard on Aspire models and above, and wireless smartphone charger.
All new Outlanders have a top five-star ANCAP safety rating.
They already enjoyed a comprehensive set of active safety measures, including predictive forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, driver attention alert, lane change assist, emergency stop signal and emergency brake assist.
In addition, hill start assist and hill descent control, active stability control, trailer stability assist, traction control, anti-lock braking, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake override are all standard.
What’s it go like?
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, new Outlander is a five-plus-two-seater, with the third row offering limited leg, head and toe room, plus an 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 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.
The new Outlander may have run into tough going but there’s no lack of new tech and equipment for Mitsubishi’s popular SUV.
A newly developed 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 135kW of power at 6000 rpm and 245Nm of torque at 3600 rpm, is mated with a continuously variable CVT automatic transmission.
Sport mode with eight pre-set gear ratios is available via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts.
The upgraded power plant ensures smooth going without any fireworks.
It is after all only a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder unit taking on more than 1700kg of metal.
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) – that adjusts the all-wheel-drive 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.
What we like?
Top marks for safety
Head-up display standard on Aspire
Comfort and convenience are to the fore
10-year warranty (for dealer serviced vehicles)
What we don’t like?
Styling too flashy
Misses out on 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
Adequate but not impressive performance
The bottom line?
Despite the shortfall in technical upgrades, the Mitsubishi Outlander still has plenty for the discerning mid-size SUV buyer to Aspire to, not least seven-seat capacity and an extensive warranty plan.