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New York show: Mitsubishi outs Outlander

First look: Mitsubishi’s design chief Tsunehiro Kunimoto presents the 2015 Outlander at the New York International Auto Show last week.

Facelifted Outlander kicks off new design direction for future Mitsubishi line-up

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Mitsubishi logo6 Apr 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER in NEW YORK

MITSUBISHI unveiled its heavily upgraded Outlander mid-sized SUV at the New York International Auto Show last week, finally revealing the first production model to wear the company’s new ‘dynamic shield’ design language.

The Japanese car-maker has been touting the new look in a series of concepts spanning more than a year, but the Outlander is the first Mitsubishi to go into production wearing the new look.

As anticipated, the Outlander – which is due to be launched in Australia later this month – heralds more vehicles that will also adopt the new design language but exactly which models are yet to be confirmed by the company.

Speaking at the official unveiling of the new Outlander in New York, Mitsubishi Design Office corporate general manager Tsunehiro Kunimoto said the company was “studying” a vehicle in the C-segment (small car) and that at least two models would follow the Outlander.

“We are studying this front face (new design language) on maybe two other products,” he said. “I will introduce this time by time.

“At this moment I am introducing our new design direction, maybe later I want to be introducing several things, but I want to keep the Mitsubishi-ness and establish a Mitsubishi identity.” While Mr Kunimoto was not willing to discuss timing or details of future models, he did explain the design centre was focusing on honing a more easily identifiable look for the brand.

“Mitsubishi has past, a present and a future so we have a responsibility for all things,” he said. “Also with the new face, I am very pleased to keep our history and create new things based on our history and heritage.” In addition to the dramatic design direction change, Mitsubishi says the revised Outlander has many less obvious updates with more than “100 engineering and design improvements” accompanying the 2015 version.

In United States specification, ES, SE and SEL variants are powered by a 2.4-litre V6 petrol engine producing 124kW and 220Nm, while flagship GT versions have a 167kW/292Nm 3.0-litre V6.

Top-of-the-range GT Outlanders drive all four wheels via a six-speed automatic, while 2.4-litre versions use a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Mitsubishi says the extensive developments have resulted in a quieter and more comfortable ride as well as more rewarding handling thanks to increased structural rigidity, redesigned suspension, electric power steering and a greater use of sound-deadening materials in the cabin and engine bay.

Adding to the more striking styling, the exterior makeover has brought new 18-inch wheels rolling on 225/55 all-season tyres, LED lighting, silver-accented and colour-coordinated bumpers and grille, while GT versions feature LED headlights.

The Outlander interior has also gained features with an LCD multi-information display on all but entry-level ES variants, keyless entry/start, a six-speaker 140-watt sound system, Fuse hands-free connectivity and a greater use of soft-touch materials.

Its cabin can accommodate seven occupants but for load lugging, second-row seating splits 60/40 and the third row of two seats has a 50/50 split or folds flat.

Safety features run to seven airbags including full length curtain bags, ABS with EBD, tyre-pressure monitoring and Mitsubishi’s RISE safety cell, while GT and SEL versions have active cruise control, collision mitigation and lane departure warning systems available as an option.

The new Outlander arrives on Australian shores later this month and local pricing and specification will be made available closer to the launch date.

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