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Mitsubishi facelifts Outlander PHEV

PHEVoratism: The hybrid-hungry Japanese and European markets will be first to receive Mitsubishi’s facelifted Outlander PHEV.

Australia queues behind Japan, Europe for more efficient Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

19 Jun 2015

MITSUBISHI has applied technology advancements to the flagship PHEV (plug-in electric vehicle) variant of its Outlander mid-size SUV that promises better fuel consumption, battery range and safety, plus a raft of cosmetic and under-the-skin changes bringing it into line with the major Outlander facelift launched earlier this year.

Although the heavily revised mainstream Outlander arrived in Australia a matter of days after its global unveiling at the New York motor show in April, there will be no repeat performance for the PHEV.

A local launch date for the PHEV is not yet confirmed, as Mitsubishi is prioritising the rollout to markets like Japan and Europe where plug-in vehicles account for a larger proportion of sales.

Mitsubishi says friction reductions and other hybrid system optimisations enable the upgraded PHEV to deliver an 8.0 per cent reduction in fuel consumption on the Japanese JC08 cycle, in addition to better throttle response and acceleration feel.

The same percentage improvement is unlikely to be precisely replicated under Australian ADR 81/02 testing, but would theoretically result in consumption falling from 1.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle to less than 1.8L/100km.

Mitsubishi has also squeezed 0.6km out of the updated PHEV’s battery range under JC08 testing, upping the figure from 60.2km to 60.8km – but the official Australian range of 52km for the outgoing model illustrates the difference in testing regimes and the difficulty of predicting how large the improvements will be when it arrives here.

The updated PHEV debuts new active safety systems for the Outlander range, including one designed to prevent a driver inadvertently accelerating toward an obstacle in forward or reverse gears.

There is also a 360-degree camera system providing a virtual bird’s-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings to help with negotiating tight spaces, as already seen on a number of models from other manufacturers.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited head of corporate communications Shayna Welsh told GoAuto it was too early to confirm a launch date or local pricing and specifications but hinted that the upgraded PHEV would arrive here fully loaded due to the variant’s status as a technology flagship.

Differentiating the PHEV from conventionally powered Outlanders are unique 18-inch alloy wheels in a two-tone finish plus the exclusive option of Ruby Black Pearl exterior paintwork containing contrasting red metallic flecks.

New black, grey, white and red hues also join the available colours – at least on the Japanese market.

Inside are redesigned seats with contrast stitching matching that of the padded door and instrument cluster trims, while the steering wheel is wrapped in seamless leather and features chrome-finished switchgear.

Mitsubishi draws comparisons between the black lacquer of traditional Japanese craftwork and the finish of the PHEV’s centre console.

The original PHEV hit Australian showrooms in March 2014 after delays caused by overseas demand, battery supply shortages and a production halt while the cause of a battery meltdown at a Japanese dealership was investigated.

Mitsubishi sells around 75 PHEVs per month in Australia, close to 10 per cent of its overall monthly Outlander sales tally of around 800 units.

In Japan the updated PHEV will officially launch on July 9, while Australian pricing, specification and availability details will be announced closer to arrival.

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