Outlander

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander gets 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, according to EPA estimates.

To really appreciate the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, you have to remember what the old one was like.

That generation of Outlander had been on the market since 2013, and it was put together when Mitsu was in some serious financial straits. So, in a lot of ways, it was more a vehicle from 2003 than from 2013. “Mitsubishi death watch” was a thing for most of the last decade.

But that’s all changed. Mitsubishi has entered into an alliance with Renault and Nissan, giving it access to some contemporary platforms. And that means the 2022 Outlander shares a lot with Nissan’s all-new Rogue.

But unlike the bad old days of badge engineering (see GM, 1990s), platform sharing allows for a lot of distinction between the models doing the sharing. If you parked a new Rogue and a new Outlander next to each other, your first impression would be that you were looking at two competitors in the same category – which is true.

Both the Rogue and the Outlander have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 181 horsepower, and both have a continuously variable transmission. Patience is a virtue at the wheel of the Outlander. It weighs 3,800-plus pounds and 181 horses need 8.6 seconds to get it up to 60 mph.

I haven’t driven the new Rogue yet. The Mitsubishi’s Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimate is 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway.

Another point of difference is the all-wheel-drive system. The Rogue uses Nissan’s, while the Outlander has Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) system.

Yet another point of difference – the Outlander is a three-row SUV. The Rogue, despite identical dimensions, is two rows. Frankly, there’s not much room back there. It’s best for small people over short distances.

Mitsubishi also designed its own interior. And it’s very tastefully done, with decent-quality materials, good fit and finish and a design that is utterly contemporary.

The base price of this Outlander is $33,745 (there are other models with lower starting prices). Among the standard equipment highlights at that price are a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front and rear leather-appointed seats, 9-inch display with navigation, six-speaker audio system and three-zone automatic climate control.

Our tester also had the $2,700 SEL Touring Package (heated steering wheel, synthetic leather door insert with quilting, semi-aniline leather seat upgrade, 10.8-inch head-up display, 10-speaker Bose Premium audio system, power panoramic sunroof and rear-door sunshades), $195 Tonneau cover and $160 “Welcome Package” (carpeted front floor mats and portfolio, touch-up paint pen and center console tray mat).

With $1,195 destination and handling, the as-tested price of the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.5 S-AWC is $37,995.

The styling and interior appointments put Mitsubishi, for the first time in decades, where it can sell the Outlander at typical prices for the segment, rather than being a bargain-basement special. More power in the engine room is about all we’d ask for.

Mike Hagerty, vice president of membership for Western Automotive Journalists (waj.org), has been writing about cars since 1997. Read more of his reviews on his website (MikeHagertyCars.com) and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/mikehagertycars) and Facebook (facebook.com/mikehagertywritesaboutcars).