Thursday, December 9, 2021
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Quick Drive: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire 2WD (car review)

THE 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire, and its siblings, are the Japanese car maker’s shot at redemption, and it’s a damn good one. We’d go so far as to say it’s the best equipped vehicle the brand has ever sold in Australia.

To be fair, the last-generation Mitsubishi Outlander wasn’t exactly a class-leader by any means. In fact, it’s safe to say that it lagged behind its rivals in a few aspects, especially in the cabin department.

Its new flagship (since the demise of the Pajero) can be had from a very reasonable $34,490 plus on-roads. The Aspire we’re testing here has a list price of $41,490 plus on-roads, but before adding any optional extras.

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Sitting on a newly developed platform and powertrain, its rather bold and radical exterior may not be to everyone’s taste but we found the vehicle to be rather handsome, in the flesh. With chiselled and muscular lines, it is quite the head turner in your average carpark.

The vehicle is said to utilise “I-Fu-Do-Do” (authentic and majestic) Japanese design language and features the brand’s next-generation “Dynamic Shield” grille, which is Mitsubishi’s signature design element.

In a market saturated with similar SUVs and crossovers, the Outlander’s design is a refreshing, ice-cool glass of liquid identity. Design language aside, it was the refined, tech-fest interior that we found to be a huge advancement over the previous model.

For starters, the general layout of the cabin and ergonomics were solid. Everything from the air conditioning to the drive-mode selector were where you would expect them to be. It was easy to find the ideal driving position and outward visibility was outstanding.

Build quality was a step-up too, with minimal creaks in the Outlander Aspire. Most surfaces in the cabin felt premium, with the exception of the steering wheel centre, which could have been made from a softer material.

As standard, you receive a 9.0-inch infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto (wired), The mid-spec Aspire comes with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a coloured head-up display.

Though not the slickest in the sector, the gauge cluster and infotainment system were intuitive to operate, with no noticeable issues or major input delay. With physical shortcut buttons and knobs for your basic needs, the interior prioritises practicality above all else.

The standard sound system is beyond adequate, with decent bass, and raspy sound only showing its presence at near full volume. Audiophiles can also opt for a 10-speaker BOSE premium audio system, which is standard on the Exceed.

It’s a seven seater (the entry-level ES has just five seats), but it’s worth noting that the third row is only spacious enough for toddlers. Having all three rows up cuts the boot space to just 163-litres. Drop the back seats and you’ll enjoy 478-litres.

You can also lay the impressive second row down too. We say impressive because the middle set of seats have near-endless amounts of legroom and headroom. There’s a long list of safety technology as well.

This includes blind spot monitoring, brake assist, lane departure warning and prevention, adaptive cruise control and forward collision mitigation.

Under the bonnet is a newly developed 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, which is able to produce up to 135kW of power and 245Nm of torque.

Those aren’t exactly the most exhilarating of figures but with the eight-step continuously variable transmission (CVT), the behemoth that is the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire was able to safely merge and overtake without an issue.

Should you need a little more ‘punch’ in sticky situations, the paddle shifters are responsive and easy to operate. Fuel economy is rated a combined 7.7-litres/100km for the 2WD Aspire, which we were able to achieve with a balance of highway and city driving.

As standard in most trims, the Outlander is front-wheel-drive and we found it to be more than adequate for city and country driving. If you’re a city dweller who’s planning to cover the odd loose gravel surface and puddle, you do not require all-wheel-drive.

Should you plan to be a little more adventurous, you can option the Outlander with Mitsubishi’s motorsport-derived Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. It is claimed to provide the optimum driving experience in virtually every driving condition.

Despite the gargantuan size of the 2022 Outlander, it felt no larger to drive than a small crossover. Torque steer was non-existent and the mass of the car was relatively stable around tight corners.

The only complaint we had was the steering, which felt a little too light and disconnected around town. Nevertheless, if you’re upgrading from a hatchback or small crossover, you shouldn’t have any issues with the Outlander’s bulk.

Parking was a breeze too thanks to the crisp rear-view camera. If you choose the Aspire, you also get 20-inch alloy wheels as standard and a bunch of upgraded interior technology. If you’re after something more luxurious, the Exceed is the one to go for at $47,990.

The Outlander comes with Mitsubishi’s industry-leading 10/10 Diamond Advantage warranty, which covers the car for up to 10 years/200,000km, and includes 10 years of capped price servicing.

Overall, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire is a strong value proposition and a great choice for families. It is well worth the upgrade over the last generation without question. With a new beating heart and a modern interior, the Outlander is worth a test drive.

Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
7.5
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
8.5
Technology and connectivity
8
Family friendliness
8.5
Value for money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - smooth, refined engine; extensive list of standard features; 10-year warranty.
Cons - steering feels too light; third row best suited to toddlers; bold styling not for everyone.
Mustafa Arifeen
Mustafa is avid car enthusiast who has a soft spot for American and Italian classics. He sees value in almost every car but prefers something with a slick transmission mated to six or more cylinders.

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