With the steady stream of dire climate change projections influencing legislative and regulatory trade policy across the globe, major automakers have been ramping up production of hybrid and fully electric vehicles (EVs) for years. Indeed, some automakers have announced plans to manufacture nothing but EVs for certain brands soon. While early hybrids were widely derided two decades ago, the hybrid category is quite popular – and crowded – today. To compete in this segment today requires a model that truly stands out in quality and performance. Now, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV seems prepared to make its mark in the EV market.
Mitsubishi’s Foray into EVs
Like many of its competitors, Mitsubishi has scaled up EV, plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV), and hybrid vehicle (HEV) production. According to Inside EVs, in late 2020, the company announced plans to increase EV sales to 50 percent of its total. This effort will support Mitsubishi’s longer-term goals to reduce its CO2 emissions to net-zero by 2050 and new car emissions by 40 percent.
By doing so, Mitsubishi is not only striving to help mitigate the global impact of climate change. It’s also striving to meet the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly vehicles. As per Pew Research, the number of U.S. drivers owning EVs, PHEVs, or HEVs has tripled between 2016 and 2020. And as notable as that growth is, demand for these vehicles is far higher in most of the developed world.
The largest growth in EV sales has been in Norway, which has increased sales by 74.8 percent (compared to 2 percent in the U.S.). Other countries with high EV adoption include Iceland (52.4 percent), Sweden (32.3 percent), and the Netherlands (25 percent). Other EU nations and the U.K. boast double-digit adoption rates, while high-density countries like China also have experienced notable growth. Mitsubishi is not merely boosting EV production to market to millennials more effectively, but instead to meet the surging demand of the moment.
Mitsubishi competing in the EV segment
To stake a position in the growing EV market, an automaker needs a solid crossover SUV. SUVs have grown more popular than sedans in recent years, in part given that consumers perceive them to be safer vehicles. Consumers also generally appreciate the added cargo room that SUVs provide, including more generous legroom and headroom, as well as storage space. Additional features like greater off-roading capabilities and towing capacity make SUVs even more attractive.
In recent years, PHEVs have also grown in popularity. PHEVs have much larger batteries than standard hybrid models, allowing drivers to drive longer on pure battery power. Because of its increased battery size, a PHEV must be plugged in to charge. However, their longer electric-only range makes them ideal for regular short commutes, allowing drivers to substantially reduce fuel costs over time.
PHEV SUVs are offered by many major auto manufacturers, from Audi to BMW. The Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has also competed in this space for almost a decade with the Mitsubishi Outlander. Now, the 2022 model may have the biggest impact yet.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander PHEV
The new Mitsubishi Outlander shares a lot in common with the Nissan Rogue, such as a similar wheelbase, suspension, and cut lines. This is perhaps unsurprising given the partnership between Mitsubishi and Nissan. That said, the exterior and interior of the Outlander are quite different from those of the Rogue, with the Outlander’s exterior far bolder and chrome-heavy. Compared to the 2021 model, the 2022 model is also 2 inches wider and taller by 1.5 inches. According to Car and Driver, the PHEV is expected to surpass the 2021 model’s battery range of 24 miles. Additionally, as per Mitsubishi, the PHEV model will come equipped with a four-cylinder 2.4L engine, AWD, and achieve a rating of 74 MPGe.
Given the larger size of the Outlander, there’s also more passenger legroom. Furthermore, unlike the Rogue, the Outlander sports not two rows but a three-row seating configuration, marked with aluminum and semi-aniline leather trimming that gives it a luxury feel. The vehicle comes with a 7-inch cluster display, an 8-inch touchscreen, and several advanced safety systems, such as a rear cross-traffic alert system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, and blind-spot warning.
Combined with its other standard features, the base model 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander alone provides serious competition to other PHEV SUVs. Its many available options are also an impressive component of Mitsubishi’s long-term fleet electrification plans.