Mitsubishi executives recently made it clear that the Japanese automaker was striking out in a different direction, ditching sedans and sports cars for SUVs and plug-in vehicles. The revised 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander is the vanguard of this new direction, and it will make its American debut at the New York International Auto Show next month with an expected PHEV version.
Mitsubishi had originally intended to bring its hot-selling Outlander PHEV to US shores at least two years ago, but there were concerns that pickier American consumers would want a higher-quality interior that Mitsu was initially offering. The 2016 revision of the Outlander should solve those issues with over 100 engineering improvements that make adjustments to ride quality, road noise, throttle response, and of course interior quality.
So what will it look like? A pretty good hint was dropped last year when the Outlander PHEV S a sportier and more aggressive take on the full-size SUV. The expected PHEV version should also be a big hit with US buyers, just like it is proving to be in Europe, offering legitimately exceptional fuel economy to people who need the versatility of a SUV. It also won’t be limited in range like the upcoming Tesla Model X or carry a hefty luxury premium like the 300-mile Audi electric SUV (though it’ll still cost a pretty penny I imagine). However, it also won’t come to market until mid-2016 at the absolute soonest.
Things have finally turned around for Mitsubishi, the automaker is building momentum for a full-fledged comeback. The new Outlander needs to be a hit in America though, and the PHEV version even more so, if Mitsubishi wants to regain its foothold in the Land of the Free.