Spy shots of the refreshed, 2016 Outlander sitting at port in Japan show the crossover with a new nose very similar to last year's Concept-S. The update officially debuts at the 2015 New York Auto Show in early April.
Poor exchange rates put a stop to Mitsubishi's plan to import a South Korean-buit midsize sedan from the Renault-Nissan Alliance into the US. However, the Japanese brand is not giving up on selling a future four-door here quite yet.
Mitsubishi has been busily clawing its way back from the brink of irrelevancy in the US market for several years. One of its most important models in that mission is the Outlander CUV, and as we can see from these spy photos, it's upcoming refresh is coming along nicely.
Mitsubishi is recalling 165,923 vehicles in the US because it's possible for the drive belt to detach from their engines, potentially causing a stall. Specifically, the campaign covers 2008-2011 model-year examples of the Lancer, Lancer Evolution (pictured above) and Outlander as well as the 2009-2011 Lancer Sportback and 2011 Outlander Sport. All of the affected models use some version of the brand's 4B1 four-cylinder engine.
Sometimes you need a second chance to get things right. Technologically, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a pretty cool vehicle, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and additional electric motors providing more thrust. However, the CUV never really looked the part for all of its innovation. The Mitsubishi designers are taking another crack with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept-S at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and the vehicle shows what a massive improvement some tweaks can make.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is rumored to finally come to the US next fall as a 2016 model. In the meantime, the Japanese brand is showing off a concept for an Outlander plug-in at the Paris Motor Show in October with a massive improvement in styling and material quality that the automaker calls the "Sporty and Sophisticated" design theme.
Mitsubishi has a big secret to keep under wraps when it comes to the looks of its refreshed Outlander crossover. Our spy shooters recently caught it testing in Germany, and the CUV had enough buckles, straps and snaps covering up the front end for the vehicle to fit in at an S&M party for cars. The rear was hidden just as thoroughly, too.
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.
It seems every time the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV makes the news the information concerns a delay, and the reason always centers on its batteries. Four months ago the culprit was restricted battery supply from Lithium Energy Japan, pushing the arrival to 2015. This time it's no different, with Automotive News reporting that a battery-related request made by California state regulators will push the Outlander PHEV arrival back to "late 2015 or early 2016."
For UK buyers who are interested in a plug-in hybrid SUV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV just got a little bit sweeter. The reason is that the base model of the vehicle will be available with or without a plug for the same price at the base diesel model.
Mitsubishi is getting more and more forthcoming about its plans for the US market. Among the tidbits revealed during a chat with Edmunds at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, MMNA Executive Vice President Don Swearingen said that "We are committed to huge investments in capital as well as huge investments in R&D." The marquee product of that investment could be a new Montero for the 2017 or 2018 model year, suggestions of which were raised with the Concept GC-PHEV at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show and a
Talk about a Dutch treat. Mitsubishi says sales of its Outlander Plug-in Hybrid are brisk in Europe, helped in a big way by plug-in vehicle tax incentives in the Netherlands that are getting more people there to buy the world's first production plug-in hybrid CUV.