Mitsubishi Outlander Review: 2003 -2022 Model Year Differences, Improvements and Features


The Outlander is Mitsubishi’s premium on-road SUV, designed with comfort, utility, and drivability in mind. It was a fan favorite as soon as it was first announced in 2005. Additionally, new generations have become lighter and more fuel-efficient while combining environmental friendliness with impeccable driving performance. Over the years, Mitsubishi has continued to improve everything else safety features, interior, comfort, and cargo.

But just how has it changed over the generation? Which generation works best for your needs? 

2001 – 2005


The 1st generation Outlander is known as Mitsubishi Airtrek and was based on the Mitsubishi ASX concept vehicle exhibited at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. The Active Sports Crossover (ASX) represented Mitsubishi‘s approach to the industry-wide crossover SUV trend for retaining the all-season and off-road abilities offered by a high ground clearance and 4WD, while still offering car-like economy, size, and levels of emissions.


On 20 June 2001, the Airtrek was first introduced to the Japanese market and was sold at Mitsubishi Japan dealership chain called Car Plaza

The 1st generation comes fitted with two engine sizes which are 2.0L 4G63 I4, 2.0L 4G63T turbo I4, 2.4L 4G69 MIVEC I4, 2.4L 4G64 GDI I4 petrol engines. The 2.0L 4G63 I4 offered a choice of 126 PS (93 kW) while a 2.4L 4G64 GDI I4 offered a choice of 139 PS (102 kW) all these engines mated to a standard INVECS-II 4-speed automatic transmission, 5-speed manual or 5-speed INVECS-II automatic.


The 1st generation was available in both front- and four-wheel drive. The 4WD model uses open differentials for the rear and front axles, with a viscous coupling unit for the center differential.

2006 – 2011


Mitsubishi launched the 2nd generation model on 17 October 2005, dropping the Mitsubishi Airtrek in Japan in favor of adopting the global name. It is powered by a new 2.4L DOHC 16-valve MIVEC engine; INVECS-III continuously variable transmission (CVT), Mitsubishi’s AWC system which features electronically controlled 4WD and stability control, on a stretched Mitsubishi GS platform. 


Other engines found on Mitsubishi Outlander 2nd generation are 2.0L 4B11 DOHC MIVEC I4 (Japan, New Zealand), 2.4L 4B12 DOHC MIVEC I4, 3.0L 6B31 SOHC MIVEC V6 petrol engines, 2.0L VW TDI I4, 2.2L PSA DW12 HDI I4, and 2.3L 4N14 Di-D MIVEC I4 diesel engines. Transmission attached to these engines is either a 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual INVECS-III CVT, 6-speed automatic, or 6-speed twin-clutch SST automatic.


The Euro NCAP car safety performance assessment programme rated a 4-star rating the Outlander, which features Mitsubishi‘s RISE safety body. Something a Mitsubishi calls a “Flap-Fold Tailgate” is one of its unique features.

The top-end Outlander XLS (GT in the US) along with a major facelift for the 2010 model year introduced the Mitsubishi S-AWC AWD system and a new color multi-function display. The lower grades hold the less advanced AWC AWD system and the previous MFD. Likewise; the interior was also slightly reviewed to incorporate leather into the doors and dashboard trim.

2012 – 2020


At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show Mitsubishi launched the 3rd generation Outlander. The 3rd generation redesigned model has a new lightweight body that weighs approximately 90 kg less than the previous model due to extensive use of high tensile strength steel. Inside, there is good sound insulation and the front doors and dashboard are covered with soft-touch material while the seats are redesigned.

The 3rd generation Outlander comes fitted with 2.0L 4J11 I4, 2.4L 4B12 I4, 2.4L 4J12 I4, 3.0L 6B31 V6 petrol engines, 2.0L 4B11 I4, 2.4 L 4B12 I4 petrol PHEV and 2.3L 4N14 I4 turbo diesel engine. The petrol PHEV 2.0L 4B11 I4 and 2.4 L 4B12 I4 are attached to a Meiden S61/Y61 AC Synchronous Permanent Magnetic Motor which is linked to a GKN Multi-Mode transmission while other engines are attached to a 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, or 6-speed automatic Jatco INVECS-III CVT6.

Most Mitsubishi Outlander‘s 3rd generation came with several safety features as standard which include front-seat side and side-curtain airbags, stability and traction control systems, anti-roll bars in both the front and rear and anti-lock braking systems. 


Inside, it features numerous excellent modern entertainment options as well, including full in-stereo navigation, an internal server with over 40 gigabytes of memory, and a back-seat entertainment system. Depending on the model the 3rd generation Outlander has an average fuel economy between 7.0Km/L to 16.0 km/L.

Mitsubishi debuted a heavily revised Outlander for the 2016 model year at the 2015 New York International Auto Show the vehicle is powered by a new design language called “Dynamic Shield”. The new headlights now include LED DRLs with the option of full-LED headlights. Inside the cabin, Mitsubishi made improvements to the headliner, steering wheel, door controls, and rear folding seats.

The upgraded Outlander has somewhat reduced cabin noise via thicker door glass, increased use of sound insulation, differential dampers, and thicker weather stripping and dynamic suspension. The steering and suspension are a new generation Jatco CVT8 transmission and re-tuned for 4-cylinder models. 

The Outlander 2018 received another facelift for the 2019 model year. Changes included a new twin-blade grille that contains a revised front and rear bumper design, new 18-inch alloy wheels, and black inserts.

The 3rd generation includes a plug-in hybrid variant, and its production version was launched at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. This version is called PHEV.


2021 – Present

On February 16, 2021, the 4th generation Outlander was introduced. It first takes stimulus from the GT-PHEV concept. The 4th generation Outlander continues to offer the same 7-seat configuration as its forerunner.

The 4th generation Outlander is powered by a 2.5L Nissan PR25DD I4 petrol engine and 2.4L 4B12 I4 (GN0W) petrol PHEV, this PHEV version couples with 2x AC Synchronous permanent magnet motors (S91 & YA1) / 85kW 255Nm Front Motor / 100kW 195Nm Rear Motor generates 188 hp (140 kW; 190 PS) (PR25DD) and petrol engine only generates 98 kW (131 hp; 133 PS) (4B12,)

Inside the 4th generation, Outlander is powered by new interior features including a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a head-up display, and a 9.0-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay

The 4th generation Outlander includes forward collision mitigation, a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning. 

2022 model

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is totally reimagined and now actually competitive in the highly saturated compact-crossover class with sci-fi-like snazzier cabin and bodywork

Its standard 3-row seating is atypical of the segment, too, but it’s almost useless. The Outlander shares a mechanical platform and bits with the new Nissan Rogue, including an unremarkable 181-hp four-cylinder powertrain.

Its interior is also much better quality, with elegantly significantly nicer materials and a simple design. Plus, there’s driver-assistance technology and an assortment of new connectivity features. A PHEV (plug-in hybrid model) will eventually join the lineup, too.

Along with a larger electric motor and more battery capacity than its forerunner from the previous generation, the Outlander with a plug will now be compatible with a 3rd row, which wasn’t available before.

The 2022 Outlander is driven by a 2.5L I4 cylinder engine that generates 181 pound-feet of torque and 181 hp. It couples exclusively with a CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission). All-wheel drive is optional, but the front-wheel drive is the standard configuration.

The 2022 Outlander has meaningfully nicer cabin materials compared with its forerunner, which was marred by chintzy trim pieces and subpar plastics. The design finally qualifies as modern and the interior accents and surfaces are of higher quality. 

There’s a head-up display and an assortment of contemporary content that includes an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. The passengers in the first 2 rows enjoy extra legroom and hip room than in the last-gen Outlander, its 3rd row apparently isn’t made for people with legs. 

The new 2022 Outlander cargo space also increases by 1 cubic foot to the total volume behind the 2nd and 3rd rows.

The new Outlander comes fitted with either an 8.0- or 9.0-inch touchscreen, depending on the trim. Both units installed standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

The system features hard buttons and physical knobs for volume and tuning along with charging ports at the bottom of the center stack. Extra available infotainment features include a 10-speaker Bose audio system, access to the subscription-based Mitsubishi Connect app that provides remote services, and wireless device charging.

The 2022 Outlander boasts a compelling set of tech available with driver-assistance technology that includes a semi-autonomous drive mode and adaptive cruise control. The key safety features include available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking.

According to EPA, the 2022 Outlander has lower fuel-economy ratings. An AWD Outlander is rated at 10.2 Km/L cities and 12.7 Km/L highways.

The 2022 Outlander SE Launch Edition adds features such as lane departure prevention and adaptive cruise control.

Final Verdict

The Mitsubishi Outlander is a car that has won people’s hearts, but the 2022 model PHEV won more than the petrol model. When Mitsubishi released the Outlander PHEV, its competitors had to play catchup, and the model was ahead of its time As the push for plug-in hybrid intensifies, the PHEV is even more relevant than at any other time. The petrol version also has a reasonable share of fans due to the amount of space it offers and the 7 seats. The 4×4 drive train and good ground clearance make it even better. Apart from the powertrains, the Mitsubishi Outlander is really a decent and thrilling all-around package. Find out by looking at key generation with the help of BE FORWARD.

Originally published Dec 23, 2019, updated Apr 19, 2022




Written by: Josephat Lukaza

2 thoughts on “Mitsubishi Outlander Review: 2003 -2022 Model Year Differences, Improvements and Features”

  1. Between the 2013 & 2014 JAPAN DOMESTIC models which one has a higher rating in terms of reliability and safety features


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