This author has a confession to make. I haven’t driven a Mitsubishi for about 25 years. The last triple-diamond emblazoned steering wheel I found myself behind was a V6 TS Magna – the Ziflian family car and the first car I drove when I was let loose on Sydney’s roads.
After a few rounds of vehicular pin-pong, the keys to the Magna were pried from my sweaty, teenage palms and I moved on to my own car. It was with fond memories, but little exuberance that I grabbed the keys to the Outlander LS and jumped in.
This is when everything changed. First glances reveal a clear design evolution from prior models. It stands bold and muscular from the front at least, with a strong and purposeful presence.
Lowering myself into a much more comfortable cloth-covered and manually adjustable seat than I could have expected, I was treated to a short “show” for want of a better term from the 9.0-inch touchscreen atop the centre stack.
Pushing the start button fires the 2.5-litre petrol 4-cylinder to life and while it quietly settled into its warm-up cycle, I set the electric mirrors and manual tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel to suit.
One thing that became quickly apparent was that Mitsubishi has really put thought into core driver ergonomics. A chunky, leather-wrapped steering wheel goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned seat and electric gear selector which falls naturally into the left hand.
You really feel like you’re sitting in the car rather than on it, just the way it should be. My only complaint is the distance the driver needs to stretch to get to the volume knob, but a myriad of steering-wheel-mounted controls means you rarely need too.
On seats, there’s seven of them. The second row can accommodate three adults, but the third will be limited to youngsters, particularly given the size of the aperture to get back there. With said seats up, cargo space is limited at 163-litres.
That’s enough for a basic shop. This limited space quickly becomes cavernous, increasing to 478-litres with the third row seats down. The rear cargo hatch has a low entry and great overall height for transporting bulky items.
One frustration was the omission of an automatic tailgate (removed due to semi-conductor shortages in the latest MY22.5 update to the Outlander). That aside, for the second most basic variant in the range, there’s plenty of tech, which is pleasantly surprising.
Lane departure warning and mitigation, radar cruise control, collision avoidance, which includes pedestrian detection and emergency brake assist, blind spot monitoring, rear automatic emergency braking, and seven airbags, all feature.
This is a massive tick and means everyone in the Outlander LS has the best chance of completing any commute in safety and comfort. Young kids mean devices, but the two USB outlets behind the centre console did the trick in our family.
Up front, in addition to a wireless charger, there were two further USB ports to charge various devices, along with a 12v outlet up front and in the cargo area. More than enough to satisfy the most power-hungry family.
The entertainment system includes wireless Apple CarPlay and provided clear output from six speakers, along with DAB+ digital radio. While all the requisite functionality one would want was available, we found the touchscreen and tactile button interface a little clunky.
The combination of both just seemed a little unintuitive. Despite this, there was great scope for individualisation and as mentioned earlier, once things were set, more basic controls on the steering wheel took care of most day-to-day functions.
We found the Outlander to be easy to drive and satisfyingly dynamic at the same time. The steering was light but responsive and sufficient in feedback.
The 2.5-litre petrol 4-cylinder powerplant develops 133kW and 245Nm of torque and provides adequate punch and response, particularly low in the rev range. Paired with a CVT, it does an admirable job of moving 1.6 tonne-and-change along.
I have to say that I’ve never been a fan of CVT gearboxes. To me they always feel like you’re in a perpetual slingshot, but this felt much more like a traditional convertor box, yet still had the benefit of holding the engine at the optimum rev range.
One thing that perplexed this writer was the inclusion of off-road functionality such as hill descent control and gravel modes in a 2WD variant. We never tried them out, and hope their inclusion wouldn’t encourage anyone else to do the same off-road.
We were left wondering too if these functions could have been omitted to save the powered tailgate. That said, the in-cabin experience far exceeded my expectation.
Unless you needed to really give the right pedal a shove, where some harshness presents, or you’re driving on a particularly bad section of road where the suspension seems slightly under damped, it is a serene and pleasant place to be.
Fit and finish is good, although I question some of the interior material choices, such as the rough black plastic near the gear selector, which is ripe for scratches. I suspect this finish would change as you move up to higher spec models.
Mitsubishi claims fuel consumption at 7.7-litres/100km, but the best we were able to manage was 9.8. Both of these numbers are above claimed major competitor figures. To be fair though, much of my time with the Outlander was in urban conditions.
Still, with a 55-litre tank, this will get you away on many a family road trip with ease. It’s clear that Mitsubishi are serious about capturing some market share and I for one believe they deserve to.
As tested, the Outlander LS retails at $43,700 drive away and comes with a market leading 10-year warranty and 10-years capped price servicing. Despite some stiff competition, if you’re in the market for a medium SUV, you should add it to your test drive list.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2WD, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.