Latest on Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

It seems like there's a new update regarding Mitsubishi's newest electric vehicle, the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, each day. Despite being available overseas for some time, the anticipated United States model has seen continual delays. However, we may have finally gotten a definitive answer for when the electric vehicle will be making it's North America debut.

Have you been considering purchasing an electric vehicle, and have you always been fascinated by Mitsubishi's dedication to luxury, durability, reliability, and power?

Before you head down to your local Mitsubishi Outlander dealership, check out our guide below. It may convince you to hold off on your purchase for a while…

PhevDate-2 The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid has been a hit in other countries for months now, as anyone living in Europe or Japan could have had their hands on the innovative vehicle for some time.

Despite the overseas popularity, the release of the car in the United States has continually been delayed.

These delays have taken so long, Stephen Edelstein of GreenCarReports.com notes that "the model has actually undergone a thorough mid-cycle refresh during the time it has taken Mitsubishi to schedule the plug-in hybrid for U.S. distribution." Sure, this isn't promising news, but there's no reason to fear.

The brand will reportedly launch the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid in the United States next May, a source told Gabe Nelson of AutoNews.com.

Edelstein expects the US model to look similar to the Outlander lineup shown during April's 2015 New York Auto Show. He clarifies that while the cars shown during the event were 2016 models, the plug-in hybrid may instead be a 2017 model.

Featuring a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, two electric motors and a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle is expected to deliver a 32.5-mile electric-only range (although Edelstein warns that European projections are often very generous and optimistic).

For those curious, one of the two electric motors "can be clutched to the gasoline engine," assisting in the function of the front wheels, while the other motor will assist with the rear wheels.

Among the changes, we can expect to see a revamped powertrain control system, which Edelstein predicts could potentially yield "a slight increase in actual range by the time the Outlander…arrives in the U.S." Furthermore, Mitsubishi may not limit themselves to the Outlander, as Edelstein guesses that the company could be looking to produce additional plug-in hybrids.

The writer cites Mitsubishi's showing of the XR-PHEV concept, which he takes as an indication that the brand is looking to add more electric vehicles. PhevDate-4 This past July, it sounded like that PHEV would be making it's way to the states in time for spring of 2016.

In fact, Steve Gooding, the direct of The Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring (known as the RAC Foundation), made it sound like a release was relatively imminent.

While the typical apprehension around electric vehicles would be in regard to their price tag, Gooding made sure to note that their vehicle would be reasonable priced and would offer low maintenance costs.

“The [popularity of the] Mitsubishi Outlander…suggests that if the industry can offer the style of vehicles motorists want at a competitive price, they will vote with their wallets,” he said (via Brad Berman of PluginCars.com).

The differences between a current Outlander PHEV and a standard 2016 Outlander are few and far between. The vehicle's badging will be the first change that casual car enthusiasts notice, but dive a little deeper and you'll find a variety of differences.

It of course starts underneath the hood, as the drivetrain has been replaced. In it's place is a 230Kg Li-ion battery pack (which, as Alun Taylor of The Register points out, was taken directly from Mitsubishi's iMiEV), two 60kW electric motors (with, as we previously mentioned, each motor hooked up to one axle), and, as Taylor describes, a "119bhp/89kW two-liter petrol engine that’s connected to the front wheels by a GKN eTransmission with a hydraulic clutch."

Sounds impressive, right?

As Taylor notes, this revamped configuration means the PHEV can operate in different ways. It can function by utilizing the electric motor and main-source power from the 12kWh drive battery, or it can pair the electric motor with the petrol engine, which will essentially serve as a type of "generator." PhevDate-3

Taylor calls the handling "tidy and predictable," noting that drivers can experience the body roll that typical accompanies a tall vehicle (although, nothing excessive). The suspension has been designed to deliver "comfort and ground clearance," which Taylor says has taken precedence over the "outright cornering ability."

While we should expect to see some changes to the interior by the time the Outlander hits North America, we can still refer to those cabins seen in the European and Japanese versions.

There's new and updated upholstery material, an optional brown leather trim (available to the G Premium Package) and an updated four-spoke steering wheel design. Zachary Shahan of Gas2.org also pointed out the comfy, luxurious seats, comparing them favorably to those in a Mercedes or BMW.

To put the icing on the cake, there's a center infotainment center. While some pundits have complained about the screen being a bit too small for their liking, he still commended the system for it's innovative technology.

When the screen wasn't being used, it would display "visualizations" on the dash, which we would presume is supposed to mesh with the 'Zen' feeling that accompanies a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Having recently been released in Japan, the Mitsbushi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid is selling for the equivalent of $29,317. That price may be a bit optimistic, however, as some estimates have put the PHEV's United States starting price around $40,000 to $50,000.

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The price is generally reasonable, but it's tough to compare considering the lack of similar electric vehicles on the market.

Since the Outlander PHEV is one of the few hybrid SUVs available, there's really no other way to go if that's what you're seeking.

Unfortunately for the brand, they won't be the first electric car on United States highways. Edelstein notes that the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid could be joining BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Volvo XC90, and (potentially) the Audi Q7 among electric vehicles.

As you've read, it'll still be some time before you can get your hands on the brand's new electric vehicle.

Can't wait? If you're in the Miami Lakes, Florida area, head down to Miami Lakes Automall today. The helpful staff will hook you up with your ideal Mitsubishi.