Given that it looks virtually identical to the regular Outlander, the new generation of which debuted here last year, we were already familiar with the appearance of the plug-in version of Mitsubishi’s compact SUV. Big bold – some would say busy and cluttered – front end, overhauled back end, etc. But tonight Mitsubishi officially presented the next Outlander PHEV for its home market, so now we know more details about the model that will make its way to our market next summer.
The 2023 Outlander PHEV is built using a new-generation PHEV system, which promises increased power and more battery range on a full charge. Other upgrades are designed to improve safety and ride comfort in all weather conditions – good news for Canadian motorists, who have made our market one of the hottest in the world for the Outlander PHEV.
The improvements to the PHEV system involve an updating of the components, allowing for a 40 percent increase in the output delivered by the front and rear motors and drive battery. This in turn means drivers can stay longer in EV mode, even when accelerating hard and moving at higher speeds. That new drive battery now has a 20-kWh capacity and increased the battery-drive range to 87 km (by the WLTC test cycle - we’ll have to wait and see what official range the model gets when it debuts here). To improve overall range of the vehicle, the gas tank has been made larger.
Beyond that, the front motor’s drive unit is now equipped with a booster function that increased driving force by sending more voltage to the motor. The redesign of the components has meant gaining enough additional floor space to allow for a third-row seating configuration. Mitsubishi says the change will furthermore help reduce high-frequency noise for a quieter ride.
We can also say hello to single-pedal driving, or so Mitsubishi promises. A new pedal operation mode makes it possible to both accelerate and decelerate just by controlling the accelerator pedal, which can exert proper braking force with no need to switch to the brake pedal when decelerating.
Of course, the next Outlander PHEV inherits the highly regarded S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system, based on a twin-motor 4WD system with one drive motor in front and another in the rear. To it has been incorporated a new active yaw control function for the rear wheels, which allows the system to distribute the driving force to the front and rear wheels optimally according to road and driving conditions, while torque vectoring by controlling the brakes on the left and right wheels is also possible for the front and rear wheels.
Drivers will be able to choose between seven drive modes to suit the conditions and/or their mood. Normal is the basic mode, optimized for normal driving on paved roads. Tarmac mode delivers brisk acceleration response and high-cornering performance on dry paved surfaces; Gravel mode focuses on balanced operability and road handling ability on unpaved or wet paved roads; and Snow, Mud, Power and Eco modes are pretty self-explanatory.
One more word RE the new platform. It has increased front body rigidity and steering stability, according to Mitsubishi, and so should ensure not just improved handling but improved safety. To that end, buyers will find in the plug-in SUV the latest versions of Mitsubishi’s active safety technologies (for instance, the MI-PILOT single-lane driver assistance technology for highways, which integrates adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist to assist the driver in maintaining distance between vehicles while keeping in the center of the lane. It also detects speed limit signs and automatically adjusts the set speed accordingly).
As mentioned, we’re already familiar with the exterior design of the new-generation Outlander, so won’t belabour that point. Suffice to say that buyers will have to make up their own minds regarding that modified front end, derided by some as an overly busy monstrosity and lauded by others as innovative and bold. Your call…
As for the product offering, we’ll skip the details on that for now as well, given that the model presented tonight is the Japanese-market version. Details on what our product offering will look like should be made known in the spring as the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s summer 2022 North American debut approaches.