Mitsubishi Offers First Performance Vehicle in 15 Years for 2024
Mitsubishi was once building performance versions of its most popular vehicles. The Lancer EVO, Galant VR-4, and Eclipse GSX models are just some that come to mind. But then Mitsubishi fell off the face of the earth, not only regarding performance products but products in general. But with the success of the Mitsubishi Outlander SUV, the automaker sees enough sales to warrant a performance variant.
Will the inside of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Outlander be as good as the outside?
According to Japan’s Best Car, Mitsubishi will release a performance version of the Outlander PHEV in 2024. Called the Outlander Ralliart, after its famed Ralliart racing arm, is receiving a gang of performance upgrades. These improvements run from modified suspensions to more power and aerodynamic aids.
These images of the Vision Ralliart concept give us a taste of what a Mitsubishi Outlander might look like. And to add to the picture, Ralliart division head Hiroshi Masuoka’s recent comments tell of significant upgrades for the Raillart SUV. He said a prototype is being tested, with the goal of being a genuine on- and off-road product.
Why did Mitsubishi stop doing performance variants?
Masuoka mentions three motors for all-wheel drive. One motor is in the front with two in the back. He estimates just under 400 hp and higher torque figures than that. Air suspension and torque vectoring, similar to the EVO, are also part of the performance package.
For years enthusiasts, and even Mitsubishi shareholders, have waited for the Lancer EVO to make a comeback. But the automaker’s overall health dictated trying to climb its way out of a deep rut. Rumors of the company shutting down were echoed by various pundits.
Why is Mitsubishi doing a performance of Outlander now?
But the Mitsubishi Outlander seems to have infused the company with a lot more energy. The revised 2016 SUV started the rise in sales, but the all-new fourth-generation 2021 Outlander began the rise in sales. Part of that is because it is, and always has been a seven-seat SUV.
Both the styling and interior upgrades got much attention, from both buyers and the motoring press. Last year sales reached 41,000. That’s nowhere near what the Toyota Highlander sells, which is well over 200,000 for years, it pushed sales enough for Mitsubishi to call it a success.
How about other performance versions?
It makes sense that with SUVs being such strong sellers, the automaker would look at its own to consider a performance version. But there are other Mitsubishi vehicles worth of performance models too. Like the Eclipse Cross, for instance. Its size alone almost seems like a better starting point.
Except that the Eclipse Cross has had a hard time breaking past 10,000 units per year sold over the last several years. That’s why the Outlander has a better chance of seeing a Ralliart performance variant.
At this point, we don’t know how much of the prototype’s modifications will see production. But the fact it exists, combined with the Vision Ralliart Outlander concept, paints a clear picture that the spirit of the EVO lives on in an SUV.