By Larry Lark, contributor
It always starts around this time of year.
The first 2022 test drive is the Mitsubishi Outlander SEL sports utility vehicle.
The next-generation flagship model is the best-equipped, most connected vehicle Mitsubishi has ever sold in the U.S. Outlander has been reimagined and reinvented in every way.
Available in ES, SE and SEL trim levels, Outlander’s base price starts at an affordable $25,000.
The three-row, seven-seat family hauler is powered by a 2.5-liter, DOHC, four-cylinder, direct-inject engine and is mated to an eight-speed, continuously variable automatic transmission with sport mode. The combo mustered just under 30 miles per gallon fuel economy over a week of city and highway driving.
Super all-wheel control makes the Outlander practical for all seasons and driving conditions. This optional system provides drivers with six drive modes to adjust the electronically-controlled 4WD system, allowing drivers to feel more confident in all road conditions.
My tester came equipped with a “Touring Package” ($2,700) that added a heated steering wheel, semi-aniline leather seating surfaces, head-up display, Bose premium sound system with 10 speakers, power panoramic sunroof, and rear door pull-up sunshades.
All 2022 Outlanders come with Apple CarPlay3 and Android Auto4 integration. A 9-inch SDA center touchscreen is available, which includes a built-in navigation system, SiriusXM compatibility, wireless smartphone charging, and Mitsubishi Connect with Safeguard and Remote Services and a 24-month free trial.
Outlander’s exterior benefits from a Japanese “authentic and majestic” design ethos highlighted by bold proportions, muscular fenders, chiseled lines and 20-inch two-tone wheels. The SEL also receives and body-colored (Mercury Gray Metallic) rear spoiler with high-mount stop light.
The all-new Outlander offers an impressive array of standard and available advanced driver assistance systems to increase driver convenience, confidence and safety.
MI-PILOT assist integrates adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition to maintain appropriate speed and following distance and keep the vehicle in the center of the lane.
Depending on trim level, Outlander also offers: forward collision mitigation, predictive forward collision warning, active blind spot assist, blind spot warning, lane change assist, lane departure warning and prevention, driver attention alert, rear automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high Beam, hill descent control, trailer stability assist, and a multi-view camera system.
The top-of-the-line SEL is loaded with standard convenience features. The lengthy list is highlighted by Bluetooth, two USB ports, tri-zone climate control, drive mode selector (tarmac, gravel, snow, normal, ECO and mud), rear seat with center console, steering wheel with voice recognition control, push-button start, power windows and auto-auto-dimming rear view mirror.
The third-row folds flat to provide an abundance of cargo area. My family filled it up for an extended five-day 4th of July celebration at our beach cabin. It was also put to the test on a golf outing at Camaloch Golf Course.
All things considered, the Outlander SEL delivers the goods at an affordable, family-friendly price.
Base Price: $34,940
Price As Driven: $37,995
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.