2022 Mitsubishi Outlander review | Or that time I got to work the cryo cannon at a Flux Pavilion rave

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Aug 20, 2022 | Mitsubishi, New Car Review, outlander, Rave | Posted in News and Notes | Never miss an article

Photography by J.G. Pasterjak

It’s easy to kind of forget that Mitsubishi still has a major automotive presence in the U.S. Nothing they do is particularly flashy, they don’t do a ton of high-profile advertising, and their days of producing halo sporty cars like the Starion or Eclipse or 3000GT are long past.

But the truth is Mitsubishi still delivers solid product to the automotive marketplace and they were, perhaps more importantly, instrumental in me fulfilling a lifelong goal that I didn’t even realize I had until I was fulfilling it of operating the cryo cannon at a late-night electronic music show in beautiful downtown Orlando, Florida.

The Outlander has… a lot of design. The basic shape is handsome and functional, but there’s a lot of details, particularly on the front end. Still, it all works somehow, and the utility makes up for some of the try-hard visual impact.

Our story begins behind the heated steering wheel of the $34,000 SEL-trimmed Outlander fitted with the $2700 SEL Touring package. Apparently, Mitsubishi is so committed to efficiency they don’t even waste time coming up with new names for additional equipment packages.

Our full-optioned Outlander came in about $1500 shy of $40,000, which is fairly impressive in the class. Although the Outlander, in our eyes, sits a bit outside of existing classes of small SUVs.

Although it’s priced comparable to the more budget end of the small SUV spectrum, the Outlander comes hard with a classy but not overdone interior.

Its most direct competitor is probably something like the Mazda CX-5, although the Mitsubishi is larger and squarer than the Mazda. But it’s also smaller than full-sized SUVs, and occupies a very functional, plus-sized niche in the marketplace that puts a nice emphasis on the U in the SUV equation.

A legit third row of seats is also a nice touch, although deploying them cuts into cargo space considerably. But the hold is large, square, and easily accessed through a power liftgate and swallows whatever you can throw at it.

The ample cargo area of the Mitsubishi Outlander can hold one duck.

On my particular evening adventure, it was swallowing the entirety of the production equipment of an electronic music show I’d been invited to attend.

My friend Matthew Setzer, who you may know from his live performances with Canadian industrial music pioneers Skinny Puppy, or the more rock-centric SP side project Ohgr, or goth supergroup London After Midnight, was filling a rare backstage role as a stage manager for EDM sensation Josh Steele, better known by his stage identity, Flux Pavilion.

When his performance duties aren’t keeping him busy, Matthew spends time restoring and modifying air-cooled VWs, and at some point our paths crossed and we hit it off over shared interests.

Setzer—seen here in his more high-profile day job as touring guitarist for legendary industrial music pioneers Skinny Puppy—counts his current project fleet as a desert-prepped VW Beetle, a round-window-era Bug he’s currently restoring, and a prewar one-ton Ford truck with a hydraulic dump bed. Photography Credits: Marija Buljeta.

As stage manager, Matthew was responsible for the technical setup and performance management aspect of the show, so it confused me a bit when he said to meet him at the hotel so we could take the gear to the venue for sound check.

So, yeah, touring as an EDM DJ means you arrive into town with a Pelican case, a backpack, and a guitar case, all of which the Outlander swallowed easily before begging for some pyro or an inflatable pig or an amp roughly the size of an ATM.

A quick trip to the venue for setup and soundcheck–greatly simplified when all it includes is hooking up a laptop, some effects, and tuning a guitar–meant we could continue to fulfill another of the Outlander’s prime functions, namely driving to dinner.

Pre-show, after the Outlander whisked us to the venue, Matthew Setzer sets about setting up the musical equipment and the visual package for that night’s headliner. Twenty minutes of plugging cables in, and thanks to a particularly sharp crew at the venue, we were back in the Outlander.

Although the 2.5-liter direct-injected four cylinder of the Outlander barely exceeds 180 horsepower, it makes up for the lack of power by delivering fairly stellar fuel economy for something so big and square. I nearly hit 30 mpg on the highway drive to Orlando, and was averaging high-20s around town, which is impressive for a legitimately useful stuff and people hauler.

And although the Outlander is larger than its competitors, it drives small, with good sightlines to the edges, a tight turning circle and a fantastic and accurate backup camera and proximity warning suite. It has the practicality of largeness with the usability of a much smaller vehicle.

If it sounds like I’m damning the Outlander with faint praise, it’s only because the low profile of Mitsubishi has kept its best products under the radar for possibly too long in the U.S. The Outlander’s interior, praised by Mr. Pavilion as “It’s quite lovely,” which sounded even classier because he’s British, is the leather and soft-surface peer of anything in its class and maybe even punches above a bit.

After we finished dinner, picked up the headlining artist back at the hotel (who apologized profusely when he got in the back seat not realizing that I was his stage manager’s buddy and not the car service that usually transports him from lodging to venue) we headed back to The Vanguard, a lovely theater on downtown Orlando’s Orange Avenue, where our Outlander was treated to non-euphemistic rock star parking: the spot right in front of the backstage load-in door, the one reserved for the evening’s featured artist.

When you’re headlining, you get two types of Ruffles in your green room.

After the Flux Pavilion set started, Matthew switched into full stage manager mode which, for am EDM show, pretty much means standing backstage waiting for something to go wrong.

His in-set duties for the evening included plugging in and taping up an errant mic cable, and reseating a loose HDMI cable that was providing the video accompaniment to the show.

While this sounds like a fairly easy gig–and, admittedly, it frequently is–the truth is that the show would have been seriously negatively affected if he wasn’t constantly on the watch for minor issues.

The real truth is that most of showbusiness is staffed by people who mostly stand around waiting to avert a disaster that could bring the production to a screeching halt and cost way more in lost productivity than it costs to have someone standing there just in case.

When something goes awry on stage, your stage manager rushes in to save the show. Setzer–appropriately attired in a GRM hoodie, head to the GRM Store for one of your own–rescues the sick beats when the need arises with a timely piece of tape or cable re-seating.

And since he was busy doing nothing in case he suddenly needed to do something, that’s how I drew the gig of cryo cannon operator.

What’s that? A cryo cannon is a device that fires jets of CO2 onto the dance floor, punctuating the sick bass drops with blasts of cold steam for the lasers to fire through and the dancers on the floor to gyrate within. Really, when you think about it, it’s pretty much the most important part of the show.

The physical operation of the cryo cannon is simple: hit a button.

In addition to driving the Outlander for the evening, I also got to drive the cryo cannon. My life is forever changed.

Knowing when, and for how long, to hit that button is what separates gifted artists like myself from your run-of-the-mill cryo cannon ham-n-egger.

Maybe while that snare rush builds to the inevitable drop you give the crowd a gentle spurt or two, just to let them know what’s coming. When that drop comes, though, your finger better be limber and nimble, because if that mist doesn’t hit the floor, why the hell should anyone even bother to continue dancing?

As my CO2 jets spurt from the ceiling, only now does the crowd fully grasp the intensity of the moment.

By the end of the night, the CO2 bottle was drained, and my cryo cannon finger had earned its place in the electronic music hall of fame.

I think it’s fair to say that the crowd of 1500-plus bought their tickets to see Flux Pavilion, but they’ll likely remember the cryo as the thing that took the show to another level they did not previously know existed.

As for the Outlander, it whisked us out of the venue quickly–I would NOT be signing autographs with my newly ordained finger that raised the level of electronic music entertainment to previously unattainable heights, and the gathered crowd was respectful enough of my craft to not bother to ask for them–and back to the hotel where we unloaded the three containers holding the entirety of the production equipment for the show and said our goodnights.

Much like my cryo-triggering finger, the Outlander was capable of far greater feats than simply carrying three medium-sized bags, two musicians and an aging, plus-sized journalist, but much like cryo during the snare buildup, it won’t tip its hand all at once. Mitsubishi’s presence in the U.S. has been quiet in recent years, but maybe products like the Outlander are worthy of a bit more boom.

One of these people is in the music industry. The other recently accidentally set his own car on fire. We’ll leave it to you to determine which is which.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Mitsubishi, New Car Review, outlander and Rave articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
malibuguy
malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/18/22 8:30 a.m.

great article

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/18/22 8:38 a.m.

In reply to malibuguy :

Yup, JG's very good at that. 

Glad you enjoyed. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
8/18/22 8:41 a.m.

I gave a genuine audible chuckle at:  "Knowing when, and for how long, to hit that button is what separates gifted artists like myself from your run-of-the-mill cryo cannon ham-n-egger."

 

iplay2
iplay2
8/18/22 1:27 p.m.

I just picked up a 2018 Outlander PHEV for my daughter's commute to school.  It is a very cool car.  Two electric motors, 4 wheel drive, funny one-speed transmission (not a CVT). It rides great, much better than my wife's truck-like MDX.  11 gallon gas tank.  My daughter can make almost the entire round trip commute on all electric.  She's been averaging about 650+ miles between fill-ups.  

I wish they would still bring in the PHEV into the US, but alas they only did for 2-3 years. Seems they get about $10K more in Europe than here for the car.  

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/18/22 2:15 p.m.
iplay2 said:

I just picked up a 2018 Outlander PHEV for my daughter's commute to school.  It is a very cool car.  Two electric motors, 4 wheel drive, funny one-speed transmission (not a CVT). It rides great, much better than my wife's truck-like MDX.  11 gallon gas tank.  My daughter can make almost the entire round trip commute on all electric.  She's been averaging about 650+ miles between fill-ups.  

I wish they would still bring in the PHEV into the US, but alas they only did for 2-3 years. Seems they get about $10K more in Europe than here for the car.  

Funny you mention it. I just got a note from a friend at Mitsubishi about the story (he liked it), and he mentioned they'll be previewing the PHEV Outlander for media likely in December. So customer availability can't be far behind that.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
8/18/22 2:38 p.m.

Wait.  It's 2022.  You're going to try to convince me that Mitsubishi has been selling cars, in the U.S.,  even after the demise of the sixth-generation Galant in 1994???  You sir, have blown my mind!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/18/22 2:41 p.m.

I drove the Outlander this morning. JG's right: It feels good. It's also smaller than you'd think without feeling small from the inside. It's a good, usable size. And it looks cool in person. 

Sadly, though, no cryo cannons for me. crying

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/18/22 6:45 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

I drove the Outlander this morning. JG's right: It feels good. It's also smaller than you'd think without feeling small from the inside. It's a good, usable size. And it looks cool in person. 

Sadly, though, no cryo cannons for me. crying

No cryo cannons?  Why are you even talking to us?

 

Great article, JG!  Very entertaining :)

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
8/18/22 7:23 p.m.

Wtf. You guys are making me want a Mitsubishi cuv, lol.  The medium-small size with a little third row sounds a lot like our Mazda 5, albeit without the convenient sliding doors.

A hybrid or plug in version of that sounds like... well... something that we might actually shop for in a couple years.

Ps. That was a fun article. It reminded me of some of the stuff I grew up reading in Car and Driver back in the day.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/18/22 10:07 p.m.
BlueInGreen - Jon said:

 

Ps. That was a fun article. It reminded me of some of the stuff I grew up reading in Car and Driver back in the day.

It may not surprise you, then, to learn that I grew up reading that same stuff as well.

As for the Outlander, yeah, it's a sleeper. My wife's daily is a 2016 Mazda CX-5, which has always been one of my benchmarks when it comes to a CUV that actually has some level of driving engagement. The Outlander may not be quite as "present" as the CX-5, but much in the way the CX bridges the gap between SUVs and spot wagons, the Outlander bridges the gap between SUV's and premium sedans. The interior is legit nice, and if you told someone they were riding in a $60,000 vehicle they wouldn't quesion it for a minute. The third row isn't huge, but it's there, and the overall size and squareness of the car makes for a great package that drives smaller in tight spaces than it feels when you load gear into it. 

One thing I didn't mention in the article is that Mitsubishi has one of the best warrantiess in the biz right now, and out local dealership shows eight Outlanders on the lot as we speak. Not sure how much they're marked up, but just having stock is something many dealers around here can't brag about.

Run_Away
Run_Away Dork
8/18/22 11:30 p.m.

Great article! Was I Still Can't Stop played before or after I Can't Stop?

 

Surprised there isn't any mention that it's a reskinned Nissan Rogue.

eastpark
eastpark HalfDork
8/19/22 7:24 a.m.

Great article JG.  I'll be watching to see if the manufacturers start to adopt the duck-based standard for interior volume calculation. Will you be looking to patent that? smiley

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/19/22 9:28 a.m.
eastpark said:

Great article JG.  I'll be watching to see if the manufacturers start to adopt the duck-based standard for interior volume calculation. Will you be looking to patent that? smiley

It's a propreitary measuring system, but I'm willing to entertain licensing arrangements.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/19/22 9:30 a.m.
Run_Away said:

Great article! Was I Still Can't Stop played before or after I Can't Stop?

 

Surprised there isn't any mention that it's a reskinned Nissan Rogue.

Honestly not familiar enough with his full catalog to answer correctly. I can tell you that when he plays Basscannon the stool that my cryo trigger box was sitting on skittered across the floor a good 10 inches. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
8/19/22 9:31 a.m.

As others have echoed, now you got me looking at outlanders. That's a lot of trucklet for the coin. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
8/19/22 10:05 a.m.

Always good to see a review that's based around how something would actually be used. I hope and pray Mitsubishi gets that 90s craze back soon, but they're truly making money and their lineup has evaded the "cheap" moniker that Nissan gets with the Altima despite the Mirage.

With hope, Mitsu will get the money needed soon to finally spread their legs and take risks again. They've got a large presence in the home technology field so it hurts to see them behind on electrics, but they've been more pressed into home energy storage and heat pumps than cars- and that likely makes a bigger difference anyway.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/19/22 10:23 a.m.
ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
8/19/22 10:27 a.m.

This is not at all what I expected.

I had a previous gen Outlander Sport (compact CUV) as a rental a few weeks ago and wow, it was bad.  Clunky shifting, uninspired engine, weird chassis noises, and a very loud/obvious click every time the A/C engaged/disengaged, which was a lot considering it was Dallas, TX in early August.

randyracer
randyracer New Reader
8/20/22 7:11 p.m.

JG, hilarious comedic prose with an SUV road test sprinkled in.  So good to see you are staying young and partying with the kidz n rockers n ravers.  Made me laugh.  Over and over.  And it's cargo area is roomy enough for a duck.  Crack me up.  Thank you!

iplay2
iplay2 New Reader
8/25/22 12:52 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

It's a fun new driving game for me, see how far you can go in EV only mode.  Taking a break for the summer from that game, as HVAC takes its toll on mileage. For the same reason I don't do track days here in FL in July and August, not playing the EV mileage game then either :-) 

Our Preferred Partners
dwWmMMJqiMRVHkFurZyG0K5vS9vm9YZI6GB9GhJTdeVlkp4rkaaZlChabMS9PObW