The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has now been on sale in Europe and Japan for more than two years, but U.S. buyers will still have to wait a while to get their hands on the plug-in crossover.
While a refreshed 2016 Outlander is set to arrive here in June, the plug-in version may not follow until almost a year afterward--likely as a 2017 model.
Mitsubishi will hold the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid until the second quarter of 2016, according to Automotive News (subscription required).
At that time, it will be joined in the automaker's U.S. lineup by a four-door sedan version of an updated Mirage minicar.
In the meantime, the company will launch redesigned versions of the Lancer and Outlander Sport before the end of this year.
Shortly afterward, the next-generation Mirage hatchback will arrive at U.S. dealers next spring.
That inexpensive minicar has been an unexpected success for Mitsubishi, selling roughly double its projected first-year volumes.
As for the mid-size SUV, both the standard 2016 Outlander and 2017 Outlander Plug-In Hybrid are expected to feature the revised styling previewed by the Outlander PHEV Concept-S from last year's Paris Motor Show.
While it first went on sale in its home market back in 2013, the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid's U.S. launch has been delayed multiple times.
The plug-in crossover was pushed back first to Fall 2014, then 2015 because of production constraints related to its lithium-ion battery pack.
So while it was the first plug-in hybrid crossover or SUV in production, the Outlander will have plenty of competition when it hits U.S. shores next year.
That includes plug-in versions of three German luxury SUVs plus a brand-new Swedish entry.
Those are the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (nee M-Class), and Volvo XC90--all far more upscale brands than Mitsubishi.
The Japanese maker is now offering more upscale trim levels for its plug-in hybrid utility, however. The GX5hs model includes heated leather seats and adaptive cruise control, among other features, in the U.K.
Still, it's a stretch to compare the Mitsubishi to the German and Swedish plug-ins in terms of brand prestige.
Instead, it's possible that the Japanese maker could instead position the Outlander as a less-expensive alternative to those prestige SUVs.
With plug-in crossovers from more mainstream brands entirely missing for the time being, Mitsubishi would have that niche to itself.