Standing in the lobby at Mitsubishi’s suburban Nashville headquarters last week, I looked out the window and saw Nissan’s own HQ just down the street. Even though Mitsubishi tells me that it’s just a coincidence that the two offices are that close to one another, the two companies are part of a larger alliance that also involves Renault. Even if it’s not intentional, one can feel the corporate synergy.
Let’s assume you’re lost and have made your way to a Mitsubishi dealership to make an emergency phone call and use the bathroom. Suddenly, the urge to buy a hybrid SUV overtakes you and you involuntarily find yourself asking a salesperson to direct you to the nearest model. They have several available and walk you over to the Outlanders, where they totally bypass the new models to show you the previous-generation PHEV.
Mitsubishi revealed the all-new 2022 Outlander utility vehicle over the internet last night. In fact, the automaker almost made as big of a fuss about this being the first car showcased via Amazon Live as it did its new SUV. It’s the kind of thing that really makes you wonder where an automaker’s priorities are located, though tech monopolies giants are so deeply ingrained in modern businesses that one hardly notices anymore. But we’re digressing before we’ve even started discussing the new Mitsubishi Outlander.
While the manufacturer can certainly be faulted for letting go of the most interesting aspects of the brand, its core values have remained mostly intact. The 2022 Outlander remains the only vehicle in its segment to offer standard third-row seating, though past experiences with the model presumes that it will only be useful for children and exceptionally small adults. But we’re not sure if that makes up Mitsubishi keeping its MSRP dangerously close to its highly competent rivals when the outgoing model under impressed with its budget-built interior. Honda’s CR-V and even Nissan’s Rogue have felt like substantially nicer products from inside the cabin. Fortunately, that’s one of the big issues the 2022 model-year Outlander was hoping to address.
Mitsubishi has an important product debut coming up: the all-new 2022 Outlander three-row crossover. In what will be the fourth-generation Outlander since 2001, the 2022 model ditches Mitsubishi’s ancient GS platform the Outlander has used since 2007 and sees a migration over to the same platform as the Nissan Rogue.
I think this is the beginning of the end for Mitsubishi in North America.
Mitsubishi released a teaser image of the new Outlander on Thursday, making good on the summer promise that it would actually continue designing new vehicles. Unlike the recently refreshed Eclipse Cross, the 2022 Outlander will be an entirely new model.
The brand is promising refined, on-brand exterior styling and some modest changes in the vehicle’s overall dimensions. Outlander is supposed to herald in a new design strategy without looking out of place in the existing lineup. While the teaser was too shadowy to offer much help, some light image manipulation on our part has given us a better sense of what the crossover will look like when its global debut takes place in February.
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.
Mitsubishi is sticking to its original plan to put some size distance between its three crossover models, but don’t worry — there’s still plenty of time to get into an Outlander Sport.
The brand had originally anticipated a downsized model appearing by the 2019 model year, but those plans landed on ice after Mitsubishi entered the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Instead, the aging Outlander Sport continued on, joined by an Eclipse Cross of nearly the same size. A replacement is on the way, one senior source claims, and buyers have the alliance to thank for it.
The idea was as obvious as it was brilliant. Take the hottest segment of motor vehicles on the market and stick an improbably high fuel economy figure on the window sticker. The hybrid revolution made the ungainly Prius a certified success — so why not a crossover? And why not add a plug to it, letting it run on battery power for a longer distance?
In 2013, Mitsubishi did just that, only overseas. Americans would have to wait.
Finally, the 2018 model year brought the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to stateside showrooms. Boasting around 22 miles of all-electric driving range, this plug-in hybrid crossover could meet many drivers’ commuting needs without using a drop of fuel. Was it worth the wait?
There are some vehicles on the market that offer bargain pricing without punishing their buyers.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC isn’t one of those.
Mitsubishi has seemingly been in “barely getting by mode” for years now, and the Outlander gives a clue as to why.
Fred Diaz, who once headed the Ram brand before Nissan tapped him to lead the company’s truck division, has been put in charge of Mitsubishi’s North American operations.
While I’d love to run a headline saying something to the effect of “Mitsu Raids Corporate Cupboard for a New Raider,” I think the chances of a full-sized, badge-engineered Diamond Star pickup are somewhere between nil and nada, no matter the background of the brand’s new CEO.
Even though North American Mitsubishi sales have ticked upward in recent years, the current decade has not been kind to the brand. Volume is roughly a quarter of what it was just 15 years ago and the bulk of those deliveries come from the Outlander and Outlander Sport.
When your entire existence hinges on a couple of models, you do what you can to keep them relevant. While plug-in hybrids aren’t exactly a massive sales draw, they’re gaining ground and Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV bests most of its EV competition in Europe. Naturally, the automaker deemed it worthy of coming to America (on the slowest boat imaginable).
We know this exciting news probably has you squirming in your chair, covering your mouth as you utter uncontrollable squeaks of joy. But hold on, we haven’t even told you about the price.
Mitsubishi is stalling the much-needed redesigns of its Outlander SUV and Outlander Sport compact crossover as engineers explore ways of sharing components with Nissan.
This means that, until the Outlander Sport gets its proposed downsizing, Mitsubishi could have two vehicles sharing a segment and potential customers when the 2018 Eclipse Cross hits dealerships. Both Outlanders were expected to assume a new form to better distance themselves from the Eclipse Cross compact crossover and each other. While they don’t look much alike, the Cross’ dimensions are only an inch-and-a-half away from the Sport.
It may make good financial sense to appropriate Nissan parts and platforms, but Mitsubishi would be shooting itself in the foot by having two models in the same segment — even if it were only for a year or two. Considering how important crossovers and SUVs are for the North American market, there is little benefit in bringing in the flashy new Eclipse Cross just to rob sales from another model.
A day after its head office was raided by Japanese Transport Ministry officials, the U.S. is going to put Mitsubishi’s mileage claims under scrutiny.
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