2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire review (video)

There’s an all-new Outlander in town, and Mitsubishi is pulling no punches. The 2022 model features an all-new, larger platform promising more space, paired with a radical styling overhaul, while packing more features than ever before.

We’re taking a look at the Aspire variant, which sits in the more premium end of the Outlander lineup, above the mid-range LS but below the range-topping Exceed.

Adding some premium equipment without breaking the budget, the Aspire may well be the value pick of the bunch for those looking for some premium features, saving nearly $10,000 in the process.

Let’s take a closer look and find out how it stacks up against the rest of the Outlander lineup, and see which is the best option for you.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire – THE SPECS

Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder
Output: 135kW@6000rpm / 245Nm@3600rpm
Transmission: CVT auto
Drive type: Front-wheel drive
Wheels: F: 20×8.0, 255/45
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 1665kg
Power-to-weight: 12.33:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 7.7L/100km
Economy during test: 6.5L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 55L/91 RON

Power efficiency: 17.53kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 4.88 seconds*
0-100km/h: 10.08 seconds*
60-110km/h: 7.04 seconds*
1/4 mile: 17.40 seconds at 135.4km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.510g
100-0km/h braking: 3.20 seconds at 41.12 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.071g
Decibel at idle: 40*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 83*
Priced from: $41,990

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire – THE PACKAGE

Before we take a look inside the Outlander, let’s cover what you’re getting specific to the Aspire variant, and see how it may actually undermine the range-topping Exceed. It comes with a set of 20-inch alloy wheels (the same as the Exceed), head-up display, surround-view camera system, heated front seats, powered driver’s seat with lumbar support, and a mix of suede and leatherette for the seat upholstery.

This builds upon key features like dual-zone climate control, powered boot lift, LED fog lights, wireless smartphone charging, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and the 9.0-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto that you receive in the ES and LS variants.

Stepping inside, the cabin welcomes the driver and front passenger to an extremely spacious and surprisingly premium cabin for a mid-spec variant. Rather than tease the buyer with what could be, Mitsubishi seems happy providing buyers with a more cost-effective premium option with the Aspire.

The driver is presented with a bright, high-definition digital display which, unfortunately, has been removed from the MY22.5 Outlander lineup. If you’re uncompromising when it comes to digital cockpits, you’re left with the range-topping Exceed as your only option. Back to the cabin.

Mitsubishi has taken a more premium approach to the cabin’s design, with a high-riding central console and large armrest separating the driver and front passenger, which in this case receives some leatherette padding across all the major touch points and some compact storage areas on either side.

While there are some noticeably cheap trim contrasts, as a whole, the dash, door surrounds and central console are soft where they need to be and add to the Aspire’s premium aesthetic. The central console does feel a little bit under-utilised, with a large piece of empty black trim beside the gear lever and a surprisingly small amount of storage inside the folding armrest. But other than that, the cabin presents a great atmosphere.

For passengers in the second row, sitting behind a 185cm driver leaves a decent amount of legroom for adults, with more than enough headroom to get comfortable. The second row also features both the ability to slide and recline the seats, to either accommodate third-row passengers or stretch out if nobody is sitting back there.

With the second row reclined, the bench seat is extremely comfortable and sure to keep complaints to a minimum from kids on long-distance road trips. Some minor niggles here include the rear windows that can’t fully roll down, some cheap plastics and just how easy it is to kick the plastic bumpers at the bottom of the doors.

The second row also gains a set of USB-A and -C ports, as well as a neat little storage area atop the driver and front passenger seatbacks for phones and loose cables, and a set of sunshades to avoid the worst of the Australian sun. There are two ISOFIX anchors on both outside seats, with three top tether mounts on the seatback offering the ability to carry three child seats across the second row, while the doors provide wide and easy access to the cabin for installing those seats.

While we’re on the topic of family-friendliness, Mitsubishi has packaged all Outlanders with adaptive cruise control, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring with braking assistance, and lane departure assistance rounding out a pretty comprehensive safety equipment list.

In terms of squeezing seven people into the Outlander, some sacrifices need to be made, both from the driver and the second row, to give even small children enough space. It is cramped even for young kids. We think it’s safe to bill the Outlander as a five-plus-two, rather than a fully-fledged seven-seater. However, it is one of only a few in this segment that offer seven seats at all.

Boot space with three rows standing sits at a measly 163L, with the boot floor elevated to accommodate a space-saver spare tyre and some tools. Fold the third row down and you’ll have access to 478L of space, which matches key peers but lacks some width for bulky objects. The maximum boot space stands at 1473L.

All up, then, the new Outlander has transformed a well-credentialed family-mover into an impressive modern-day beast. The Aspire variant specifically seems to be shouting as the pick of the bunch for everyday Aussies with its good mix of practicality and luxury aspiration.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire – THE DRIVE

It takes only a few minutes behind the wheel to discover just how comfortable and user-friendly the new Outlander is, and the fact it’s been designed first and foremost as a road-going cruise ship for families.

The Aspire variant receives the same powertrain as the rest of the Outlander range, with a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol pushing out 135kW of power and 245Nm of torque under that large bonnet, throwing power to the front wheels via a CVT automatic in this case. All-wheel drive is available as an option.

While those numbers may seem underwhelming on paper, let us assure you that they’re equally as underwhelming behind the wheel. Picking up speed is an extremely casual affair, but it doesn’t give up, and eventually gets you up to speed in an undeniably smooth manner. We timed 0-100km/h in an uninteresting but liveable 10.08 seconds.

This powertrain is designed with efficiency and fuel economy in mind, and when it comes to recent petrol prices, we can’t argue with Mitsubishi’s priorities here. We’d assume that the majority of families would take fuel economy over outright driving speed anyway.

On that note, the Aspire variant is rated at 7.7L/100km on the official combined cycle. We were able to improve on that during our mix of highway and town driving, returning figures of just 6.5L/100km. That is extremely impressive for a naturally-aspirated four-pot petrol.

While the CVT tries its best at mimicking a traditional automatic – to the extent that it actually features paddle shifters – these are redundant on the day-to-day. Just leave it in D and enjoy your company and the in-car features.

When it comes to something far more important, though, the suspension, Mitsubishi has hit it out of the park with how the Outlander performs on smooth and rough surfaces. Around town, the Outlander glides over city streets, soaking up bumps while keeping body roll to a low degree.

Once you leave town, the suspension system does a wonderful job at ironing out rough, uneven surfaces, making for an ideal country cruiser that feels impressively planted and refined, even in front-wheel-drive configuration. The platform has added significantly to the Outlander’s adaptability on country roads.

The user-friendliness continues when it comes to the steering rack, which is super lightweight and can be piloted with one finger, as well as the surprisingly compact turning circle of 10.6m for such an imposing vehicle.

In terms of gripes, we did notice the lane-keep system was over-eager in hitting the brakes and steering back to the centre of the road during our tests, especially on country roads, while the steering seems devoid of any real feedback. That aside, this offers honest all-round capability. It’s a relaxing, smooth and family-friendly cruise ship.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire – THE VIDEO

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire – THE VERDICT

The new platform has provided a heap of improvements for the Outlander, so now it looks and feels much more premium and more refined than ever before. It’s not the most powerful package out there, but fuel economy is really good for what it is.

We think the Outlander Aspire is the best of the lineup. Rather than leave you begging for more features, the Aspire comes so well-equipped that we truly question the need for stepping up to the Exceed. This strikes a healthy balance between a bulky list of premium features and a reasonable price tag. All of which is backed by Mitsubishi’s industry-leading 10-year warranty.

PROS:
– Impressive fuel economy for a petrol vehicle of this size
– Comfortable suspension
– Well-appointed and feature-packed interior
– 10-year warranty

CONS:
– Underwhelming performance
– Limited third-row space
– Intrusive lane-keep assistance on country roads

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.