Improved 2021 Outlander PHEV On the Way

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2021 Outlander profile
Outlander PHEV gets powertrain upgrade for 2021 (2020 model shown).

Plug-In Won’t Immediately Benefit from Upcoming Outlander Redesign, Though

Mitsubishi Motors has confirmed that the U.S. version of the 2021 Outlander PHEV will brought up to par with current European and Asian versions.

That means a new, more powerful gas engine, larger electric motor and bigger battery. The new powertrain will boost performance and all-electric driving range.

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Mitsubishi says the plug-in hybrid crossover will go on sale this winter and will remain in production on its present platform at least through the ’22 model year, when it will be sold alongside a completely redesigned gas-only Outlander.

More Power, More EV Range

As we reported earlier, the 2021 Outlander PHEV will get a 2.4-liter gas engine to replace the current 2-liter four-banger. It also will get a beefier electric motor for the rear wheels and a 13.8 kWh battery to replace the present 12 kWh pack.

If there are no other changes to the specs filed with regulators earlier this year, the 2021 Outlander’s engine will produce 126 horsepower up from 117 hp, while the new rear motor will jump to 93 hp from the present model’s 80 ponies. The dual-motor PHEV’s front motor will remain at 80 hp.

The combined system output in the present plug-in Outlander is 190 horsepower; expect the 2021 model to deliver at least 205 hp.

Mitsubishi hasn’t provided any guidance on all-electric range except to say that it will increase. 

The present model delivers an EPA-estimated 22 miles on electricity alone, and the sweet spot for PHEVs seems to be somewhere north of 30 miles these days.

Toyota’s RAV4 Prime delivers an EPA-estimated 42 miles, almost double the Mitsu’s, while the new Ford Escape PHEV is rated at 38 miles on electricity alone. Both have larger batteries than the ’21 Outlander plug-in hybrid, but the updated Mitsubishi SUV should deliver at least 30 miles.

New Gas-Burner for ‘22

The redesigned 2022 Outlander arrives less than a year later, but won’t embrace PHEV technology in its first year.

Engelberg concept – named after Swiss ski area – foreshadows new Mitsubishi design language.

The plug-in hybrid will retain its current platform and body styling at least through the 2022 model year, a Mitsubishi spokesman told TheGreenCarGuy.

There are plans to bring the PHEV system onto the new platform, but not until sometime after the ’22 model year.

That means that for one year at least, there will be three Outlander models, each with their own look – the redesigned full-size Outlander, the downsized Outlander Sport and the Outlander PHEV.

The standard ’22 Outlander will be an all-new model, built on a new platform, larger than the current Outlander and “the quietest and best-equipped Mitsubishi ever sold in the U.S.,” the company said in its announcement.

The ’22 Outlander is expected to take its design cues from Mitsubishi’s Engelberg PHEV concept, which debuted at the 2019 the Geneva Motor Show

Published spy photos of a prototype ’22 Outlander test model show the same squared nose and vertical lozenge-shaped headlight housings as the concept.