If you told your mates that you were excited to drive a four-banger, three-row family SUV, they would be baffled. And yet, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer is a surprisingly brilliant car to drive, with modern luxuries and a humble price tag.
The Outlander, in general, is a significant improvement over the last generation, but it hasn’t outgrown the Japanese marque’s off-roading roots. As Mitsubishi’s mid-size SUV, it’s designed to seat five adults, with two children in the third row.
It sits between the Eclipse Cross and the droopy-taillight Pajero Sport in the brand’s line-up. Despite being the medium-sized offering, the Outlander is still a behemoth in the flesh – and a striking one too we may add.
The vehicle’s proportions are perfect, but those chromed ‘dimples’ at the front are a tad polarising. We only wish Mitsubishi offered a dechromed/blacked-out exterior package for a stealthier look.
As standard, the Exceed Tourer rides on 20-inch alloy wheels and sports two-tone paintwork, contributing to its upmarket appearance. This writer drove the Outlander Aspire trim last year and frankly, the Black Diamond paint is the way to go.
The cabin is arguably the biggest step up from the Aspire too, as you get leather-appointed seats and a monstrous panoramic sunroof. The materials are a step up too; virtually every surface, from the aluminium drive mode selector to the dashboard, feels premium.
The layout and ergonomics of the interior embarrasses some of the Outlander’s more expensive competitors. If we had to criticise something, the infotainment and climate control switchgear felt a little cheap. Mazda tends to do these items better.
The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is high definition and easy to operate. It lacks the configurability of say Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, and a dedicated maps mode, but the crystal-clear head-up display makes up for it, with a projection of the speed limit and GPS.
At the heart of the dash is a 9.0-inch touchscreen, which is stupidly easy to operate. Unlike some manufacturers, Mitsubishi hasn’t tried fixing something that isn’t broken: there are shortcut buttons, volume/tuner dials, and physical climate controls – it’s next to perfect.
The list of amenities is quite generous too, as you would expect for the range-topping petrol model. You have your usual Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, power tailgate and heated front seats.
However, the Exceed Tourer is fitted with virtually every driver aid known to mankind, including but not limited to adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, hill descent control and forward collision mitigation.
Most importantly, the car received a respectable five-star ANCAP safety rating last year. What really impressed us though was the 10-speaker Bose sound system, which will shake the car once you ramp up the volume and bass.
It won’t match the crispness of a good Harman Kardon system, but it’s good enough for non-audiophiles. We wish our vehicle was fitted with a subwoofer, but that’s only available in the new hybrid variant of the Outlander.
The second row is spacious for tall adults with excellent headroom and legroom. It’s parent-friendly too, as there are ISOFIX child seat anchors and child restraint top tethers in the rear. What’s not so good is the third row, which is only suitable for children.
Most families will likely stow the sixth and seventh seats to bump the boot space from 163-litres to a more reasonable 478-litres. On the pothole-ridden roads of Sydney, the Exceed Tourer feels right at home.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine delivers a reasonable 135kW of power and 245Nm of torque to all four wheels. While that may not sound impressive, the vehicle has a kerb mass of just 1760kg. It weighs next to nothing compared to its heavyweight German rivals.
Gear changes are managed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which isn’t exactly fitting for a vehicle that claims to use rally-derived technology for its all-wheel drive (AWD) setup.
Nevertheless, the transmission is smooth, and you won’t have an issue overtaking on the motorway (assuming you aren’t planning on towing anything). The steering is good, but the ride is even better.
The vehicle wafts over most imperfections on the road without any issue. Mitsubishi do make smaller, 18-inch rims for the Outlander, but the ride was already pleasant with the 20-inch alloys.
The real party piece is the Super-All Wheel Control, which is marketing-speak for AWD. Do you need it? Probably not. Yours truly drove the Aspire last year on dirt roads and it handled everything, without a hitch.
That said, the AWD system provided us with endless grip in the wet and more stable cornering. It’s even got drive modes for different surfaces, which can be selected using a knurled swivel wheel.
The trade-off is fuel consumption, which is claimed to be slightly worse than the 2WD variants at a combined 8.1-litres/100km. We found ourselves struggling to keep the average below 10-litres/100km.
In a world of small displacement and turbocharged engines, the Outlander’s naturally aspirated four-pot feels refreshing. Power and torque are delivered in a linear fashion with no input lag.
A primal instinct is invoked when behind the wheel; there is something charming about a tall vehicle with a meaty engine. It’s no LandCruiser 70 Series, but it’ll still put a smile on your face when you give it the beans.
The Exceed Tourer kicks off at $52,490 before on-road costs, meaning it demands a circa $10,000 premium over the 2WD Aspire. If you fancy a luxurious cabin, a plethora of interior equipment and AWD, the Exceed Tourer is well-worth the premium.
Regardless of which trim level you choose, the Outlander comes with Mitsubishi’s impressive 10/10 Diamond Advantage warranty, which covers the car for up to 10 years or 200,000km, and includes 10 years of capped price servicing.
While its looks are subjective, there is no denying that the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer is an objectively brilliant car. You can build your own on the Mitsubishi Australia website. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.