NEW YORK – Mitsubishi left few surfaces untouched when it redesigned the Outlander for 2016.
The SUV boasts more than “100 engineering and design improvements,” announced the carmaker today, revealing the 2016 Outlander at the New York Auto Show.
Updates extend from a refreshed look across the front –incorporating new headlights and added chrome trim to frame the slotted grille – to higher quality of materials used throughout the cabin.
“With its long list of engineering upgrades, the new Outlander literally looks, drives and feels like an entirely new vehicle, making it an even more compelling value than before,” said Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Don Swearingen.
When Will A Plug-In Version Arrive?
The modification list for the 2016 Outlander may be extensive, but it’s still missing one thing: information on a plug-in version for the U.S.
After originally anticipating a release to the U.S. in 2014, Mitsubishi has delayed the PHEV several times.We reached out to Mitsubishi to find out more.
“At this point we haven’t really released any information on the U.S.-spec Outlander PHEV, but I can tell you that it will have the new Outlander’s styling, and is expected to come Spring 2016,” said Laura Conrad, the senior specialist for Mitsubishi’s public relations team.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., the Outlander PHEV has been well received by consumers. Last month, it became the region’s most popular plug-in, with running sales totals posting higher than all other PHEV and EVs currently available.
The 2016 Outlander Marks A New Styling Direction For Mitsubishi
Many of the features debuting on the 2016 Outlander will later move to the company’s other models, said Mitsubishi.
The Outlander’s new front fascia is part of the brand’s “Dynamic Shield” styling. Inspired in part by the bumper side protection previously seen on the Montero, Mitsubishi said it will be applying this concept across its fleet.
Improvements have also been made to the way the Outlander handles. Mitsubishi listed some of the upgrades as:
“Increased body and suspension structural rigidity, redesigned suspension and Electric Power Steering, noise-isolating windshield and rear door glass, more sound insulation throughout the vehicle, new dynamic front suspension and rear differential dampers, and improved weather stripping and engine compartment trim (all models).”
While the engine and transmission options will stay the same, Mitsubishi said the continuously-variable transmission will have better acceleration, emulating the gearbox of the smaller Outlander Sport.
Deliveries for the 2016 Outlander will begin in the U.S. in July. The 2016 Outlander Sport will come later, with a release date schedule in November.
A Small Contender In The SUV Market
Company execs are hopeful that this new Outlander will translate to a better footing for Mitsubishi in the SUV market. Sales were stronger after the current generation was released two years ago, but still far from where the brand wanted to be.
“From a U.S. perspective, we oversold the product,” Swearingen said of the 2013 Outlander. “It had a lot of great features, but it wasn’t to the same level of all of our competition.”
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The final tally for last year revealed a total of 13,068 units sold in 2014. According to Timothy Cain, who devotedly tracks auto sales in the U.S. and Canada for GoodCarBadCar.net, Outlander sales are far below the competition. The best-selling Honda CR-V posted 335,019 sales last year. Even the Toyota 4Runner, the last model on the list of 25 top selling SUVs in 2014, came through with 76,906 sales last year.
Year-over-year figures are steadily climbing for the SUV, however. From 2013 to 2014, Outlander sales increased by 6-percent. Swearingen said he expects to see the new Outlander continue to push these numbers upwards.
“Mitsubishi’s outstanding sales momentum is carrying into the new-year and with the arrival of the 2016 Outlander crossover we are well positioned to sustain our growth,” said Swearingen.