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2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander front 3/4 view

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander rear 3/4 view

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander front 3/4 view

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander rear 3/4 view

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander front view

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander front detail

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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander grille

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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander engine

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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander interior

  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander
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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander front seats

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  • 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander rear cargo area

While attending the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Mitsubishi we got a chance to speak to three Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) executives about the Outlander PHEV, how the brand is strengthening its lineup and how it plans to promote that.

The Outlander PHEV that's quickly and quietly rolling off lots in Japan, Europe and Australia right now is not the same model we're going to get when it arrives in Fall 2015, with MMNA Executive Vice President Don Swearingen and US PR chief Alex Fedorak telling us that "it will be completely different." It can probably be viewed as the next-generation vehicle, part of the "major restyle in 2016" that will reskin the model in the new design language being applied to the brand's crossovers.
Its hybrid system is being tuned for more refinement, and the same work being done on the interior.

Fedorak told us that, "The touchy-feely points we've been getting dinged on" will be upgraded, so expect materials feels and looks less value-oriented. We were told that the battery monitoring software mandated by California regulators doesn't just report on the state of the entire pack but rather it can monitor individual cells. As for when the anticipated hybrid will get here, Fedorak said "probably late November [2015] is my best guess at this time." That's almost two years later than Mitsubishi's previous plans.

We aren't the only ones anxiously waiting for it. Swearingen said he invites 12 to 15 dealers to Mitsubishi's Normal, IL plant every quarter to discuss product and what consumers are looking for. Between that and the five-city tour of MMNA product for dealers, he said the second-most-common question was, "When can we get the Outlander PHEV?" The subject of the most popular question? "Trucks."
Those dealer confabs have apparently paid dividends as recently as the 2015 Outlander Sport. Swearingen said dealers wanted "more acceleration, better fuel economy and they said it should be quieter." All of those items were delivered when it was introduced last month, Swearingen telling us that before company engineers had received the dealers' input, "We had two out of three of them." He's in discussions to bring over the 2.4-liter engine for the Outlander Sport – currently it can only be had with a 2.0-liter – and dealers are being quizzed on what they believe it would need in order to distance itself from the 2.0. The early consensus seems to be that it will definitely need more punch for overtaking maneuvers.

When Fedorak told us, "We're probably more evolving into an SUV-/crossover-type company," that got us thinking about one thing: a Montero. Look for it to arrive in Fall 2015 as perhaps the marquee example of the new SUV/crossover design language. Hints of that are probably contained in the faces of the GC-PHEV and XR-PHEV concepts.

Even so, there will still be more cars than crossovers in the near term. As they move into their next generations, the cars will get a family design language distinct from the crossovers, which we'll see on the next Lancer and the "sleek, aerodynamic reskin" coming for the 2016-model-year Mirage hatchback. Speaking of the Mirage, Swearingen said, "The magazines beat us up about it," (Consumer Reports is the latest) "but with just 400 dealers, we're outselling the [Mazda] Mazda2 and the [Toyota] Yaris." The Yaris is actually ahead this year, but only by 265 units through the end of June. It appears all but done that the Mirage sedan will come here, under the G4 name it employs in Canada instead of the Attrage moniker it uses elsewhere.

It is Francine Harsini, MMNA's director of marketing, who's working on getting the word out. After doubling the marketing spend last year to introduce the Outlander and Mirage, Swearingen said he told dealers that it would stay at the same level this year even without any launches, and adding "I would expect to grow that." Harsini said MMNA doesn't have the dollars to push each model line individually, so later this year they'll launch a new campaign for the brand using the "Find your own lane" tag that was created for the Outlander, and push the brand pillars of, "Progressive technology, spirited design and safety, value and reliability." We were told it would also be "going more into lifestyle" advertising.

Fedorak - who's been in the job eight weeks and whose resume includes work at Subaru and Kia - believes feature-per-dollar is an important part of Mitsubishi's pitch; comparing the feature set on his personal vehicle, a German luxury crossover, to those on his company Outlander, he says of the Mitsubishi, "There are strong reasons to buy."


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  • 27 Comments
      FordGo
      • 9 Months Ago
      You iron all the kinks out in Europe, and they you don't sell us the car?!?
      icemilkcoffee
      • 9 Months Ago
      I am amazed to hear they still have 400 dealers in the US. They only sell about 7000 cars a month. So each dealer would only sell about 17 cars a month. Not even 1 car a day. How do they stay in business?
        A TK
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Not to sound like a jerk or know it all, but I am a race-car driver. I own two lancer evolutions (VI and VIII) and both are fantastic monsters. Every year I attend mitsubishi owner's day at the headquarters in Cypress, CA. This year was different. I am also an investor in MMNA. I found out so much about mitsubishi that I never knew. The reason why they have many dealers and why they'll NEVER go out of business or leave the US is because they're owned by a private bank... what that means is They could drop their entire line down to one car if they wanted to for 10 years and then explode into the market with 15 new models. Depending on how the new Supra does and the Toyobaru twins sale, You can look forward to a new Eclipse or 3000gt within the next 5 years as well. As far as the evo goes, Don't get your hopes up for an evo XI any time soon....however, I will say KEEP YOUR EYE very closly on the i Evo vehicles.... Their continued successes and record breaking is what the new Evo will be built upon. just a little insider information for the community. :]
        Scooter
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Idk either... My local Mitsu-only dealer is a depressing ghost town of overpriced Evos and dated old Lancers.
          AWD Terror
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Scooter
          The Evo is definitely not overpriced, unless you are referring to a markup your local dealer is applying to his stock.
        Vincent Wolf
        • 2 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee

        Who says they are going to stay in business?  Their business model is failing.

        DaveMart
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Probably by being dealers for other manufacturers too, if the system is the same as it is here in the UK for the minor brands.
        djrroar1
        • 9 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Many are duals, the top stores deliver 125-150 new a month.
      FREEPAT75014
      • 9 Months Ago
      Hope they could make their Outlander PHEV larger and more impressive too. Even for Europe it looks to small and too "casual", hence why I discarded it so far for my next car replacement due by next year, while all the rest is perfection, especially its unique 50M full EV range, combined with the only good "all electric mode" on the market, with decent electric motor power, that can allow do all Local commutes in full EV more with no more than one charge per day. Plus its pricing is very competitive too here. This said my "best dream" PHEV should allow one charge every 2 x days so a good 3000 x cycles battery can last for 20 years instead of 10Y with one per day here, so reselling used value is excellent instead of average here. That would require at least a 30KWH battery. But it's the best available PHEV SUV in Europe today.
        Jazzor
        • 9 Months Ago
        @FREEPAT75014
        There's a Montero/Shogun PHEV in the works. That might be the car you're looking for... No word from Mitsu yet on specs though
      Vincent Wolf
      • 2 Months Ago

      It's a darn shame that Mitsubishi decided to pack the battery into the 3rd row seat of the Outlander and turn it into a 5 seater.  They should have redesigned the floorplan and put the battery down low instead of up high for better handling.  Anyone putting a battery above the axle line is nuts.

      Koenigsegg
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yawn another ugly ev, took 1 second to determine i liked it and it looks like ****
        Actionable Mango
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Koenigsegg
        Looks are a matter of person taste, but the looks have nothing to do with being an "EV". The PHEV and conventional versions of the Outlander both look the same.
      AcidTonic
      • 9 Months Ago
      Who cares give us the next Evo already..... I know they have the pedigree to build such nice sports cars but the Evo stopped evolving when the prior models were refreshed and received new model roman numerals every few years. If they kept the old pace, the Evo X already would have turned into the Evo 11 in 2010, and the Evo 12 in 2013. They flew through 1-9 in roughly 10 years. Then we sat on 10 from 2008 to now (6 years). Then we watch the UK get models with 330/360/400/440 horsepower yet all we get in America where horsepower matters to people a lot more is the 300hp model. Even then the used Evo X prices are ridiculously expensive. The car is so good that even with a botched execution and no advertising people are keeping the value high through demand. South Coast Mitsubishi is still selling a 2006 Evo IX with under 10,000 miles for $40,000. It wasn't even that much new.
      dukeisduke
      • 9 Months Ago
      And yet it will still be junk.
        djrroar1
        • 9 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        You are either dumb or uniformed about Mitsubishi's plan for the US and the world. Which one is it? Dumb or uninformed?
      Spec
      • 9 Months Ago
      Make the design look a little better. This vehicle is destined to be a big hit here.
        Jazzor
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Look up the 2015 model already for sale abroad. It looks better than the 2014, still a little weird looking, but definitely not nearly as bland as this one.
      Levine Levine
      • 9 Months Ago
      Mitsubishi is the Rodney Dangerfield of Japanese auto makers. It can barely make reliable ICE car. Its i-Miev is a failure and a disgrace in the EV market. Don't expect their PHEV to be anything better.
        Buehler
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        It would seem you are either biased or sorely misinformed. The Outlander PHEV is selling very well and garnering excellent reviews in the markets that it is already on sale. Mitsubishi's engines are very reliable. Just ask any of the Aussies that take their Pajeros (Montero) into the outback or the Filipinos that abuse their Lancers in Manila traffic.
        Jazzor
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Quit misinforming people with your senseless babbling you dumb troll
      • 9 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      Ben Crockett
      • 9 Months Ago
      I suspect that they may be deferring release due to lack of supply and high demand in other markets. They would want strong supply before committing to the US - given of course the larger vehicle market. There was definitely a supply issue before - haven't heard what the latest is in this regard. I am surprised to hear they will be doing a major update so soon - as the current model is quite a big departure from the last model.
      Smoking_dude
      • 9 Months Ago
      I don't get it... does this battery monitor law only apply to the outlander phev? or are the prius plug-in and volt also affected? Could this be the reason for the prius 4 delay? it is really a pity, the outlander phev is a top seller in europe. there are lots of them on the dutch and norwegian roads. it can tow a trailer and I bet a lot of US customers would like it.
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