Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid quick drive (European model)Enlarge Photo
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has been on sale in Japan and Europe for quite some time now, but its U.S. launch has been delayed repeatedly.
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.
Now a report confirms that the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid likely won't appear in showrooms before a spate of plug-in SUVs from luxury carmakers.
Mitsubishi will begin selling the selling the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid here next May, according to industry trade journal Automotive News (subscription required).
When it does, the plug-in SUV will likely feature similar styling to the rest of the Outlander lineup, first seen at the 2015 New York Auto Show back in April.
The refreshed non-hybrid Outlander is a 2016 model; the plug-in hybrid may be a 2017 model.
2016 Mitsubishi OutlanderEnlarge Photo
No major changes to the powertrain are expected, meaning the Outlander will continue to use a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, with two electric motors and a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
One motor can be clutched to the gasoline engine to help drive the front wheels, while the second drives the rear wheels.
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The current Outlander Plug-In Hybrid is rated at 32.5 miles of electric-only range, albeit on the notoriously optimistic European testing cycle.
Mitsubishi is expected to make some changes to the powertrain's control system, potentially yielding a slight increase in actual range by the time the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid arrives in the U.S.
By the time it does, the Outlander will be sharing the roads with at least small numbers of several plug-in hybrid utility vehicles from more upscale brands, including versions of the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Volvo XC90, and possibly the Audi Q7 as well.
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander (left) and 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander (right)Enlarge Photo
Mitsubishi is also rumored to be working on more plug-in hybrids.
The company has shown multiple versions of its XR-PHEV concept, which is thought to foretell a plug-in hybrid version of the next Outlander Sport.
Mitsubishi also showed the Concept GC-PHEV at auto shows earlier this year, hinting at a possible new version of the discontinued Montero SUV.
If it ever becomes available in the U.S. again, that could also feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain.