The 2021 Wards 10 Best Interiors are being revealed in random, non-alphabetical order one per day until Oct. 15. This is the sixth winner profile. Winners will receive their trophies Nov. 16 during Automotive TechWeek in Novi, MI.
Mitsubishi Outlander, welcome to the winner’s circle.
The fully redesigned ’22 Outlander earns Mitsubishi its first Wards 10 Best Interiors trophy on the strength of distinctive design, plentiful technology and outstanding value.
The 7-passenger midsize CUV’s interior features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a machined aluminum shift panel and LED front door accents.
The optional SEL Touring Package we tested comes with black and tan synthetic leather door inserts. There’s diamond-pattern quilting on the seats and doors that suggests Mitsubishi’s three-diamond logo. Burnt orange stitching and accents on the instrument panel, doors and center armrest provide brilliant contrast in the cabin.
“At $38,590, this interior stands out from the crowd because it looks so premium and luxurious,” judge Drew Winter says on his scoresheet. “The rich colors and textures look like they belong in a much more expensive vehicle.”
A 12.3-in. (31-cm) infotainment screen accommodates quick phone pairing and a Bluetooth connection that serves up weather, traffic, sports scores, gas and parking availability and even stock-market information.
Our Outlander tester had wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM radio, wireless smartphone charging and one USB-C and USB-A socket in both the first and second rows.
The 9.0-in. (23-cm) navigation screen offers 2D and 3D maps and lets you search for a location by entering only the cross streets. That intuitiveness carries over to a responsive voice command system that includes steering-wheel voice-recognition control. The heads-up display provides turn-by-turn directions, something not always seen at this price level.
Parking-challenged Outlander drivers can rely on two backup cameras and a front camera. Other safety and security features include hill start assist, trailer stability assist and rear seat alert. We truly appreciate the brake assist feature when it forestalled an impending rear-end collision.
On a long list of driver-assistance features are forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane departure prevention (attentive but not intrusive), traffic sign recognition, blindspot warning with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and rear automatic emergency braking.
The optional SEL Touring Package includes a heated steering wheel, power panoramic sunroof (pictured, left) and 10-speaker Bose audio system.
“Designers did a superb job on this interior trim level,” juror Winter writes. “Only a few vehicles in this price range can match it.”
A longstanding criterion for awarding 10 Best Interiors honors is: Does the interior sell the car? Winter answers yes, emphatically: “In terms of the interior being able to sell the vehicle, this interior stands above every other car on the list.”
Adds juror Bob Gritzinger: “Super job of taking it to another level with unique interior touches that allow it to stand above the crowd in this highly competitive segment.”