According to the latest news, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the U.S. will finally get an update, which was introduced in Europe in 2018.

Autoguide reports that the 2021 VIN system submitted by Mitsubishi to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a new code for "a previously unseen hybrid setup".

The new 2021 model year of Outlander PHEV is poised to get a bigger engine (2.4L instead of 2.0L), more power (both from the engine and from two electric motors), as well as more energy capacity (13.8 kWh instead 12 kWh).

After reading the article, it's clear to us that the Japanese manufacturer is finally introducing a minor update that was first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018 and then entered the European market during the second half of 2018.

Here is a list of changes for the 2019 model year version in Europe (from our 2018 article):

  • A 2.4 Atkinson cycle petrol engine replaces the previous regular Otto cycle 2.0 liter (135hp – up from 121hp). It allows for higher torque (211Nm vs 190Nm), smoother operation, and overall higher efficiency
  • The generator output is increased by 10%
  • The rear motor output is increased by 10% (95hp)
  • The drive battery capacity is increased by 15% (13.8 kWh instead 12 kWh)
  • The drive battery output is increased by 10%
  • 28 miles (45 km) of all-electric range (WLTP)
  • WLTP combined fuel economy of 139mpg
  • New Sport mode (sharper throttle responsiveness and more grip via the Super All-Wheel Control system)
  • New Snow mode (improve low-grip launching and cornering abilities on slippery surfaces)
  • The front and rear shock absorbers have been revised to improve its low-speed ride
  • The steering ratio has also been revised and the power steering ECU re-mapped to offer more responsiveness and feel, while larger front brake discs boosts stopping power
  • Inside: quieter and more refined, with more comfort and supportive front seats, new switchgear, a revised instrument cluster, the addition of rear ventilation vents, and more convenient USB ports
  • Outside: In terms of exterior style, there’s a new front end with a redesigned grille with honeycomb mesh, new bumper extension and new headlamp design with LED hi-beams. The rear is enhanced with a new rear bumper extension lower extension and a large roof spoiler while new, two-tone contrasted 18-inch multi-spoke alloys complete the exterior revisions.

Those minor changes slightly improved Outlander PHEV right before the switch from the NEDC to the WLTP test procedure. It allowed the Japanese plug-in hybrid to stay in the game with great sales results in Europe, as most of the other plug-in hybrids were wiped out. Although, not everything went as smooth as Mitsubishi wanted, because incentives for PHEVs in the UK were cut.

The new version of the Outlander PHEV was sold also in Japan, but not in North America. Both the 2019 and 2020 model year are equipped with a 12.0 kWh battery.

We assume that the 2021 model year will finally be upgraded, which will translate to:

  • slightly higher available federal tax credit
  • slightly more range (from 22 miles EPA to hopefully at least 25 miles EPA).

It's not much (especially since the original spec is from 2013), but maybe it's all Mitsubishi can do now (at no/low cost), before the new platform for plug-in hybrids (for the entire Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance) will be ready.


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