By on December 30, 2019

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Image: Mitsubishi

A brand that’s slowly capturing a greater (albeit still slim) slice of the U.S. new car market stands to gain a new version of a long-running crossover in the coming year. That product is the Outlander, an outdated vehicle whose current generation bowed back in 2012.

The largest vehicle in Mitsubishi’s meager lineup, the Outlander stands to gain size and decidedly non-Mitsubishi underpinnings for its ground-up revamp.

Like its tiny Mirage stablemate, the current-gen Outlander holds the distinction of having increased its pool of buyers in every year since its introduction. Last year’s tally amounted to 41,818 vehicles, up from 12,287 in 2013. One driver of that sales boost was the popular plug-in hybrid version that eventually made its way to America after selling in Europe for years. In that region, it holds the title of best-selling PHEV.

As for the gas-only variant, it’s getting especially old. The model’s 3.0-liter V6 pales in terms of power when compared to rivals, and it drinks premium fuel. Third-row seating is cramped.

Mitsubishi’s solution, explained Mitsubishi Europe CEO Bernard Loire, is to borrow a platform sourced from Mitsu’s Renault-Nissan alliance family. Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Loire said, “In the second half of next year we will have a replacement of the current Outlander. It will be on an alliance platform.”

He added, “There also will be another smaller SUV coming at the same time.”

A big year in the making for an automaker that spent the past decade first in survival mode, and then in expansion mode. The timing is right for a new, larger Outlander. Originally, it was planned that a newly enlarged model would go on sale and the smaller Outlander Sport would shrink, but Mitsu’s entry into the Renault-Nissan alliance put the brakes on that effort. Instead, the Outlander Sport remained in production in its current form, sharing a segment with the more recent Eclipse Cross CUV. In the background, Mitsubishi engineers took a look at what the brand’s newfound family could offer the automaker.

According to Automotive Newsproduct pipeline, the new-for-2021 Outlander will borrow the platform found beneath the Nissan Rogue, as well as other Nissan components. It’s expected that a hybrid version will join the PHEV model.

While Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales rose 1.9 percent through November, the increasingly elderly Outlander saw its volume shrink by 2.9 percent over the same period. The PHEV model also saw a sales decline, dropping 34 percent.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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21 Comments on “A New Year Brings a New Outlander for Mitsubishi...”


  • avatar
    digitaldoc

    Oh geez, this is the blind leading the blind. The outdated Outlander is going to borrow from the most unexceptional CUV- the Rogue? This cannot end well…

    Hard to believe Mitsubishi was the company that brought us the Eclipse and the 3000 GT4 in the 90’s. Maybe they should dust off those designs, which are a heck of a lot better than anything they are making now.

    • 0 avatar

      Consumer Reports ranks the Rogue ahead of its entire GM competition. Would you really buy a Equinox over Rogue? Would you buy a Outlander over the Equinox? Most people in Europe definitely would pick either an Outlander or Rogue over a comparable GM design. Barra’s response to this was not to fight it out in Europe, but to leave there entirely.

      What a disgrace!

      • 0 avatar

        Western Europe is a contracting market with no growth and increasingly totalitarian edicts and restrictions on what one CAN even offer for sale. The only reason to be there is to be there. Let’s not and say we did.

        I could also care less what CR says because I know for a fact an Equinox doesn’t use a CVT, something Nissan has engineered to true surgical precision for durability and reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        “Consumer Reports ranks the Rogue ahead of its entire GM competition.“

        Actually they don’t. The Equinox is rated above the Rogue in their February magazine.

      • 0 avatar
        techteacher7

        Actually, I have both an Equinox and an Outlander. They both have their virtues. The Equinox came with some features the Outlander didn’t (power seats & remote start). The Outlander gets much better gas mileage and has a killer warranty. We actually like them both.

      • 0 avatar
        Veeg

        What a weird comparison.

        So what if it’s better than GM? It’s not better than Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Jeep.

  • avatar

    The front end design language for modern Mitsubishi are not bad. These vehicles are very popular in the highly competitive European market.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    A true Renault platform would be interesting, especially if it was one we couldn’t get here in North America from Nissan.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’m a bit impressed Mitsu has managed to stay alive here in the US and actually ramp up sales a bit. If you look at the dealers here in the midwest, they are truly bottom feeders but it appears selling the deal rather than the car can work for them, at least while interest rates are historically low and credit is flowing.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      It looked like Mitsubishi was all set to close up shop in the US when a funny thing happened: the Mitsubishi Mirage. I suspect the Mirage was intended to be nothing more than a way to wind down dealer obligations but, to everyone’s surprise, it became someting of a minor hit. With a virtually non-existant marketing campaign, it’s kind of like Mitsubishi is the car company that refuses to die in the US.

      It doesn’t hurt that Mitsubishi is one of the top players in the bad credit lending game. If you can’t get a loan for a Chevy Spark or Nissan Versa, chances are you can still get one for a Mirage. While it gets panned by the auto press as one of the worst new cars, as a brand-new car with a warranty that’s an alternative to public transportation, the Mirage isn’t that bad, certainly better than the last ultra-strippo, craptacular penalty box, the hoary old Chevy (Daewoo) Aveo.

      • 0 avatar
        DOHC 106

        I rented the last generation Versa. It had ok ergonomics and good front seats, but narrow and a terrible ride. I would give the Mirage if it had another cylinder and bigger tires otherwise not bad like you said.

  • avatar
    JMII

    As a former ’97 Eclipse GS-T owner the Eclipse Cross makes me sad. Their current line up is depressing, one hatchback, one cheap car and 5 CUVs. I guess soon it will be zero cars and 2 more CUVs. At that point they could change their name to Diamond Star CUV Company, Inc.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I don’t hate the looks, but would say slapping a body color insert and ditching the chrome around the underside of that grille area would go a long way toward making it a little less gawky.

    I’m still not on board with a CVT though. Maybe one day I’ll get there, but for now fixed ratios, a torque converter, and a clutch pack are my jam (see Mazda).

    I won’t bemoan the loss of manuals because it’s been done to death, but traditional autos do the job well for me.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    For the CVT haters from a Google search for Honda CVT durability

    Simply put, cvts are by far the most reliable and efficient automatic transmissions ever on the market. Honda’s have good CVts. … Once moving, they lock the wheels to the engine like any modern transmission. They are not intended to sound like a manual transmission.

    No data referenced to back up this claim, but it agrees with my experience so far..

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    I currently have a 2019 Outlander as a loaner while my Highlanders in the shop getting repaired after that lady backed into me.

    I’ve already had it for 2 weeks and I have mixed feelings. First, its no penalty box loaner. Its LED DRL’s give it a sleek look. It has Bluetooth and a decent radio. Interestingly, the CVT has a sport mode that puts somewhat of a smile on my face (Its still slow and somewhat dull). Finally from the drivers seat the interior feels well put together.

    On the other hand the backseat does feel cheap and my grandparents complained about the suspension being too soft during a recent trip. It also has a little too much feedback going around corners than I’m used to. The 3rd row is flawed. You have to remove the headrests to fold the seats down.

    Overall for someone on a budget, I’d take this over a Dodge Journey and a Nissan Rogue. (can’t wait to get back to my V6 highlander though)

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    I’m not gonna lie, the ancient Outlander is one of my favorite CUVs. YES, the long front and rear overhangs are goofy. YES, a RAV-4 is bigger inside. YES, the driver’s seat rocks on acceleration and deceleration. YES, the AC is pathetically overwhelmed by any western US desert. But it’s got the delicate pillars and massive greenhouse of an earlier era–you can see out of it. It’s got an unfashionably soft suspension–it’s actually comfortable to ride in it. It’s got a light and precise feel to the controls, with a bit of modest feedback–it’s a bit of fun to drive it. I’ll take its uncannily perceptive CVT over the RAV4’s confused million-speed stepped automatic any day. And the PHEV, as of right this second, has no competition — though that will change very soon. Plus you can get it in brown. A brown AWD PHEV wagon, people. With DC fast charge capability, no less.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Any chance for a new Evo?

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