Kiwis can now order the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander... but where's the PHEV?
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Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand (MMNZ) is working towards the watershed moment of an all-new Outlander SUV - a complete renewal of a hugely popular model that dates back to 2012 - by opening an online reservation system ahead of cars arriving in "late 2021".
That means full access to pricing and specification for the new model in LS ($41,990-$44,990), XLS ($44,990-$49,990) and top VRX ($49,990-$54,990) versions, all in either FWD or AWD.
All can be secured by a fully refundable $500 deposit via the MMNZ website.
The new Outlander reflects new Mitsubishi's alliance with Nissan and Renault. The exterior styling is unique, but what lies beneath owes a lot to its partner brands.
That includes the 2.5-litre Nissan-sourced petrol engine that powers the Outlander models currently on preorder, as well as much of the incidental interior hardware and software.
Standard across the range is phone projection, embedded sat-nav, dual-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control.
The XLS adds "synthetic leather" upholstery, 20-inch alloys (the base car rides on 18in wheels) triple-zone climate control and wireless phone charging.
The top VRX steps up with leather interior, Bose sound system, hands-free tailgate, 10.8in head-up display, 360-degree camera system, adaptive headlights, power panoramic sunroof and 12.3in digital driver display. Grey interior trim is a $1000 option.
What's conspicuous by its absence is the new Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) model. While the timing would seem to be ideal for the PHEV version as the NZ consumer landscape becomes immersed in the Government's Clean Car Discount programme through the rest of 2021, Mitsubishi has consistently said that the PHEV would not appear globally until at least 2022.
In fact, little has been confirmed about the specification of the Outlander PHEV to date.
While the conventional versions pick up an engine from the Alliance, it's likely the PHEV will retain a version of the current model's plug-in AWD powertrain. There's nothing obvious that could transfer from Nissan or Renault's plug-in ranges, as both tend to specialise in pure-electric vehicles (BEVs).
There has been much speculation about a dramatically increased electric-only range for Outlander PHEV (55km in the current model). Expect the new model to retain the ability to DC fast-charge as well as using AC power - a unique PHEV-feature of the current model when launched, although some other makers are now offering similar capability.
Its natural that the new Outander PHEV will also be a more expensive proposition. The new petrol models are a large step up from the outgoing version (currently $32,990-$45,990 on "special offer").
The new Eclipse Cross PHEV (using the same powertrain as the current Outlander PHEV) is $49,990-$57,990, placing it very close to the outgoing Outlander plug-in at $52,990-$59,990. There's clearly room for the next-generation Outlander PHEV to move upmarket; there's a $14k premium for the PHEV powertrain in the current/outgoing VRX model, so it's possible the all-new Outlander PHEV could cost up to $70k in flagship form.
Mitsubishi has been on a roll in NZ, posting its highest monthly sales figure since 1985 in June: 2116 registrations, led by the bargain-priced ASX SUV. The Outlander remains the number one passenger vehicle in the NZ market year-to-date.
MMNZ says it also has a huge order bank (nearly 300) for its plug-in models: the new Eclipse Cross and outgoing Outlander, as buyers race to claim the $5750 Government rebate for PHEVs.