Mitsubishi—with help from its corporate partner Nissan—has redesigned the beleaguered Outlander for the 2022 model year. Although the new version is much improved, it still trails other small SUV entries in ride quality and overall refinement, including the Rogue, the popular Nissan SUV that the Outlander is based on. The Outlander’s third-row seat, though tiny, distinguishes it from most of its competition.
The Outlander gets off the line quickly, but overall acceleration from the 181-horsepower four-cylinder engine is underwhelming after that, barely breaking 10 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. At least the continuously variable transmission is responsive to driver demands, and does a nice job delivering artificial “shifts” to keep engine revs pretty low, which helps make it feel similar in operation to a traditional automatic. Fuel economy, at 25 mpg overall in our testing, matches the Rogue but is below the class leaders.
We found the Outlander to be nimble, secure, and easy to pilot around our test track. But the steering is overly light with an unnaturally quick turn-in response—this makes the SUV feel nervous and busy on highways, where even small steering corrections have a large impact. We were even less impressed with the way the Outlander smacks harshly over bumps, thanks in part to its large 20-inch wheels. The cabin might otherwise be considered quiet if not for the elevated wind noise seeping in through the large sunroof.