A New Year Brings a New Outlander for Mitsubishi

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a new year brings a new outlander for 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 That product is the Outlander, an outdated vehicle whose current generation bowed back in 2012.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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  • HotPotato HotPotato on Dec 31, 2019

    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.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 31, 2019

    Any chance for a new Evo?

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.