Buckle Up - a New Mitsubishi Experience Is on the Way

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
buckle up a new mitsubishi experience is on the way

No, there’s no new Mitsubishi model on the way — just “richer” versions of what we already have. That’s a term the automaker applied to the refreshed 2021 Mirage, by the way.

In announcing across-the-board changes to its North American lineup Wednesday, Mitsubishi seemed to suggest that a brand pull-out in this region won’t occur overnight, if ever. Or maybe this is just the brand’s last consumer salvo.

You’ll recall that Mitsu wasn’t all that impressed with the brand’s recent growth in North America. Volume grew steadily over the past several years, sure, but the automaker’s new pandemic-inspired plan stands to see the company gradually reduce the attention paid to what it calls “megamarkets.” It’s assumed that a model cull will follow, or perhaps even a full exit.

Whether or not the company takes such an action remains to be seen; for 2021, customers can expect refreshed Mitsubishis galore.

Starting at the bottom rung, the subcompact Mirage gains (mercifully) updated styling that the brand revealed in Thailand earlier this year. “Mirage has never looked richer or been better equipped,” the company claims, though you can expect the 1.2-liter three-cylinder to carry over for ’21. Hey, it gets great mileage!

The Outlander Sport (aka RVR, aka ASX) soldiers on with the refresh applied earlier this year, so no changes in store for a model many might not realize belongs to the subcompact CUV class.

The big news concerns the brand’s aging Outlander, which sees a new generation appear next spring as a 2022 model. Promising a “redesigned and reimagined” SUV, the automaker suggests the model will grow in size. Hopefully the old 3.0-liter V6 (which requires premium unleaded) is kicked to the curb. But before that happens, however, the 2021 Outlander PHEV stands to gain a new powertrain.

Up here in Canadiaville, the plug-in midsize is a popular choice for governments looking to green their fleets; buyers can find government incentives north and south of the border. While details remain slim, Mitsubishi says the existing 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder will give way to a powerplant with additional displacement, while the twin electric motors gain added power. As a bonus, buyers can expect “more all-electric range and speed of operation.”

Currently, the Outlander PHEV is rated for 22 miles of gas-free driving.

Lastly, the most recent addition to the Mitsu lineup sees a styling refresh for ’21. The Eclipse Cross, controversial both for its name and current styling, gains updated front and rear fascias, an updated infotainment system, and a reworked interior. Will it impress reviewers more than it already has? The jury’s out.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.