Separation Agreement: Mitsubishi's Delayed Crossover Plan Grows Clearer

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.

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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: More Like Its Siblings, but Still Not an Outlander Sport Replacement

Feast your eyes on the 2020 version of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the compact crossover that attracts more American and Canadian customers than any other vehicle in Mitsu’s relatively sparse lineup. Looks more like a new Mitsubishi, doesn’t it? Sure does. The model’s updated “Dynamic Shield” front end styling now resembles that of its bigger Outlander brother and the newer Eclipse Cross.

It is not, however, a new vehicle, as this 2020 makeover is just the latest in a series of refreshes bestowed on the CUV since the current generation bowed in 2010.

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2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review - In the Shadows

Crossovers are the future. As much as I hate to say it, more and more buyers vote with their wallets every year, choosing a smaller-yet-taller, less fuel-efficient alternative to the traditional sedan. Automakers would build nothing but brown, diesel, manual station wagons if buyers would buy them — so you can’t fault the manufacturers for tossing every possible permutation of the CUV as chum for the always-hungry shopper.

Mitsubishi is no different. Of the four distinct models it offers here in the States, three are crossovers. But which one is right for you? Today, we look at the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the smallest of the trio. Is it distinct enough to be worthy of your driveway?

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Mitsubishi Risks Segment Overlap by Delaying Important Outlander Redesigns

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.

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Mitsubishi Plans to Boost Sales With Blown Engines

Mitsubishi has a plan to gain market share in the U.S. that’s right out of the ’80s.

Dealers were told during last weekend’s National Automobile Dealers Association conference that Mitsubishi will introduce turbocharged engines to model line, according to Automotive News.

The forced-induction renaissance will begin with a 1.5-liter mill powering the automaker’s planned midsize crossover, expected in 2018, which will slot between an enlarged Outlander and the Outlander Sport.

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Mitsubishi Gives Up on I-MiEV in the States, Will Build Any Crossover You Like

Mitsubishi’s sedan offering in the United States may very likely begin and end with its Mirage ( which Mark says they didn’t ruin for 2017) as the company builds more and more crossovers to sell.

“We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction,” CEO Osamu Masuko told Automotive News. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.”

Mitsubishi will announce a mid-sized crossover to fit between its Outlander and Outlander Sport, which are both due for a redesign in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The automaker is also betting big on electrification: all of its crossovers will either offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric version.

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Los Angeles 2015: Mitsubishi to Reveal 2016 Outlander Sport, 2017 Mirage Facelifts

Mitsubishi will reveal redesigned versions of the 2016 Outlander Sport crossover and 2017 Mirage subcompact at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show next week, the automaker announced Wednesday.

Both models will be mid-cycle refreshes, though the Mirage is expected to get more attention beyond a simple skin-deep rework.

The latest news means Mitsubishi’s rumored future crossover, expected to sit between the Outlander Sport and larger, three-row Outlander, won’t be making its debut in Los Angeles this year.

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Mitsubishi Will Add Small Crossover to North America in 2017

Speaking to Automotive News, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said that the automaker would add a small crossover to its North American lineup, between Outlander Sport and Outlander, to compete in the growing small crossover segment.

Masuko said the car would take styling cues from the company’s Tokyo Motor Show eX Concept, but it’s unclear how much of the concept’s electric powertrain will live into production.

Next year, Mitsubishi will sell a plug-in hybrid variant of the Outlander in the U.S.

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2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - Diamond Star in the Rough

A preconceived notion — or simply, a bias — forms easily when correlations exist to support it.

Take Mitsubishi.

While the Japanese automaker has seen recent sales success, their newest nameplate — Mirage — has become the butt of many jokes and is often associated with a group of buyers one degree removed from the “Buy Here, Pay Here” crowd. Whether the Mirage deserves that reputation is another story.

The company’s largest model, the Outlander, recently received a refresh that is more than skin deep, but still not very dramatic. A new front fascia and revised rear sheet metal bring up the visual appeal a notch, and Mitsubishi does say numerous engineering changes have been employed on its latest and greatest crossover, but the crossover still houses the same, tired, premium fuel-drinking V-6 engine as always.

The recent news that Mitsubishi will shut down its manufacturing operations in Normal, Illinos, a plant that’s been open since 1988, also doesn’t help optics on the surface. And, unfortunately for the automaker, stories about sales gains just aren’t sexy enough to grab the attention of the average consumer.

Therefore, with all this bad news and bad press, you’d think the Outlander Sport (RVR in Canada) is just another zit on the face of the Japanese automaker.

But you’d be (mostly) wrong.

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Breaking: Mitsubishi Ending U.S. Production, According To Nikkei Report

Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal, Ill. is set to shut its doors for good. That’s what Japan’s Nikkei news service is reporting today, though U.S. representatives for the company declined to comment.

The plant was opened by Diamond-Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, in 1988 after two years of construction. It currently builds the Outlander Sport/RVR, but was tasked with manufacturing the Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon, Mirage/Eagle Summit, Galant, and coupe versions of the Dodge Avenger, Stratus and Chrysler Sebring during its lifetime.

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Mitsubishi: U.S.-Bound 2016 Outlander PHEV "Will Be Completely Different"

Perhaps as a result of what Mitsubishi had learned thus far since the introduction of the Outlander PHEV in Europe, Japan and Australia — as well as a MY 2016 redesign — the United States-bound PHEV “will be completely different,” according to both Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Don Swearingen and U.S. PR boss Alex Fedorak.

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Review: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

No one out-zombies Mitsubishi. Quite a few manufacturers have had brushes with death, only to bounce back strongly with competitive new cars. For Mitsubishi there’s been no bounce. Yet they’re still alive. Assuming Mitsubishi’s people aren’t actually brain dead, they must be in crisis mode. And cash must be short. So if they employ their scant resources to add a new model, the Outlander Sport, there must be something terribly compelling about it, right? Well, Mitsubishi didn’t exactly swing for the fences. The basic concept behind the Outlander Sport: remove a foot from the rear overhang of the Outlander CUV, cut $3,500 from the base price ($1,000 of it by making a CVT optional), make Bluetooth and USB connectivity standard, and hope the kids bite.

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  • Jwee I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years). Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).
  • ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
  • ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
  • ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
  • ToolGuy Nice torque figure.