Substantially updated 2021 Outlander PHEV is the last model year to be built on this platform

Substantially updated 2021 Outlander PHEV is the last model year to be built on this platform

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Mitsubishi Motors North America announced pricing and availability of the updated, end of line, 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) crossover which will be on sale for only a couple of months before a completely redesigned model arrives in the US in April.

The latest Outlander PHEV - one of a number of new or updated models not coming to Europe following MMC's recent strategic decision to withdraw from this region - was "substantially upgraded for 2021", according to the automaker, and features a significantly revised powertrain, an enlarged battery pack offering extended all electric range, and increased performance from a new, more efficient, 2.4 litre I4 petrol engine and higher-output rear electric motor.

US suggested retail price remains the same as the 2020 model, at US$36,295 before state and federal tax incentives.

The original Outlander PHEV, out now for several years, was long top of European and UK hybrid sales charts and MMC's decision to withdraw from the region, especially with this 'all new' model (and others) on the way, seems inexplicable. But there was a hint today, the automaker may be, at least in part, reconsidering its approach.

For the US market Outlander PHEV, the previous 60kW rear axle mounted electric motor has been replaced with a more powerful 70kW unit. Combined, total system output is increased to 221 hp, up 31 hp from the previous model.

Main drive battery capacity also grows from 12kW/h to 13.8kW/h, resulting in an increase of all electric range from 22 to 24 miles. This also increases top speed of all-electric operation from 79mph to 83mph.

The powertrain also has updated software for improved synchronisation between battery and engine, and improvements that reduce overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Also new for 2021 are Sport and Snow driving modes. All US models have Mitsubishi's claimed 'unique' Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system.

Combined fuel economy on US test cycles is 74MPGe and 26MPG.

The new, larger-capacity battery pack, makes the latest Outlander PHEV eligible for additional federal tax incentives for 2021 - $6,587 - an increase of $751 versus the 2020 model year.

It also might be eligible for additional increased state and local clean-vehicle incentives.

The US model line is available in three trim levels: SEL, Limited Edition (LE) and GT.

Next April, the genuinely 'all-new' 2022 Outlander, now sharing its platform with Alliance partner Nissan's recently redesigned X-Trail, will make its debut in the US, the first market to get the model.

Its styling introduces Mitsubishi's 'Dynamic Shield' front face and design language, with muscular fenders, bold proportions and available large diameter 20-inch wheels. Inside, there is seating for seven in the segment's only standard equipment third row, available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and nine-inch centre screen, and also newly available wireless smartphone charging capability with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

The 2.5-litre I4 petrol engine is new and combined with Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control system. A new drive mode selector allows performance and grip to be tailored to the conditions through six settings, increasing both on-road and off-pavement performance. Two-wheel drive models get a five mode selector.

Standard equipment on the 2022 Outlander includes 11 airbags, USB-A and USB-C charge ports and 18-inch wheels.

Depending on trim level, the new model can be fitted with 20-inch wheels, the MI-PILOT Assist driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control and lane-keep, semi-aniline leather seating, integrated navigation, a windshield-display 10.8-inch full-colour head-up display (HUD), Mitsubishi's claimed industry-leading Connect smart-car system, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system.

"Mitsubishi Motors North America is in the midst of introducing a full showroom of redesigned, re-engineered or all-new vehicles, and the 2022 Outlander is the culmination of that programme, the automaker said, as part of a recent virtual launch of the new SUV line.

"This much-anticipated vehicle is here, and the game-changing launch is well under way. The all-new 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander is set to break boundaries, reset expectations and demand attention."