Next Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will have more range, three rows of seating

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Mitsubishi confirmed on Thursday that its next-generation version of the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid is coming soon—bound for its home market of Japan by the end of the first quarter of 2022, and headed to the U.S. in the second half of 2022. When it arrives it will have at least one significant advantage over the Toyota RAV4 Prime: third-row seating. 

Teaser for next-generation Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Teaser for next-generation Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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If there’s a global greatest hit in the current Mitsubishi lineup, it’s the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid. For several years last decade the five-seater was the top-selling plug-in SUV in the world, and in 2020 it remained the top-selling PHEV in Europe. As of earlier this year the Japanese automaker sold a cumulative 270,000 Outlander Plug-In Hybrids globally; it arrived in Europe in 2013 and first went on sale in the U.S. for the 2017 model year, after a long series of delays mostly due to the model’s strong popularity elsewhere. 

Mitsubishi promises improved motor output and increased battery capacity versus the current model, resulting in “more powerful road performance” and greater range. The new Outlander, including the PHEV model, is built on the same platform as the Nissan Rogue. 

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

The current Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is EPA-rated at 24 miles of electric range and 26 mpg as a hybrid after that. It was just upgraded for 2021 to a higher hybrid-system output of 221 hp—31 hp more than before. That includes a stronger 70-kw (94-hp) motor at the rear wheels, a 60-kw motor carried over at the front, and a bigger 2.4-liter inline-4 engine making 126 hp. Most of the time the engine runs an 80-kw generator, but it can also be clutched in to help drive the front wheels. 

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2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

Its 13.8-kwh battery pack can be recharged in just 4.0 hours at 240 volts. Versus other plug-in hybrid models, the Outlander PHEV was way ahead of its time and currently maintains two other major advantages: With CHAdeMO DC fast-charging, it can be charged back up to 80% in just 25 minutes. And despite a rather ancient pedigree at this point, the PHEV and its CHAdeMO charge port offer the potential of bi-directional charging that the parent company baked in from the start. Let’s hope such thinking remains a starting point for the new model.

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