The recent introduction of hybrid cars into the market will, in no time, reduce man's dependence on purely fuel-driven automobiles. To aid the transition from fuel-guzzling engines to emissions-free electronic motor-generators are the hybrid cars, which are a little mix of both. The combination of petrol engines with electric generators has taken the world by storm.
The Mitsubishi Outlander ushered in the future of hybrid cars. Though it debuted as a fully petrol-operated vehicle in 2001, its production journey has seen the vehicle morph into the current-day plug-in hybrid SUV that we know and love. From sporting a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder 4G63 double overhead camshaft engine coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox to a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder MIVEC petrol engine combined with two 60kW electric motor generators, the story of the Outlander has been an amazing one.
First Generation 2001-2005
The Outlander first appeared in 2001 from Mitsubishi's Okazaki plant in Japan. It was a compact SUV ready to tackle dirt roads.
At its launch, it came with a 2.0-litre 4G63 engine producing 93kW or a 2.4-litre 4G64 petrol direct injection system that generated 102kW. Both engine versions came with INVECS-II 4-speed semi-automatic transmission and were available in front and rear-wheel-drive models.
In 2002, Mitsubishi released its performance model named the Turbo R. This version used a downscaled version of the 2.0-litre 4G63T inline-4 turbo engine from the Lancer Evolution. The Turbo R originally made 180kW of power and 343Nm of torque, but Australian versions produced a reduced 149kW and 303Nm version to comply with emission regulations.
Second Generation 2006-2012
The Outlander's second generation rolled out of the Okazaki factory gates in 2006, sporting Mitsubishi’s GS platform. This new release featured a 2.0-litre 4BII double overhead camshaft MIVEC inline-4 engine. Later productions, however, sported engines from Volkswagen and Peugeot.
The 2006 release featured a 2.4-litre 16-valve MIVEC engine coupled with INVECS III continuously variable automatic transmission. It also combined with Mitsubishi Lancer's all-wheel control system, which was an electronic four-wheel-drive system.
The Outlander enhanced its safety features with Mitsubishi's RISE body construction and a flap-fold tailgate fitted into the bumper. In 2008, the Outlander got a new grille facelift on its front fascia design.
Mitsubishi's R&D department worked to put out the concept version of the Outlander in 2007, dubbed as the Evolander. It came with a 240kW-powered supercharged 6-valve 6B32 engine and also featured improved suspension, interior design, and sporty body kits.
In 2009, Mitsubishi integrated the Lancer Evolution X's front grille in its second show car, which served as an inspiration for the Outlander's next-generation releases. In 2010, the new version featured a multi-functional display system for the first time, and high-level trims came with leather interiors.
Third Generation 2013-present
In 2013, the Outlander's 3rd generation was born, coming with a significant facelift. Its release featured a lighter body frame that trimmed 90kg off its weight. It also featured improved fuel consumption with the introduction of a reduced drag coefficient. The version saw interior improvements that included soft-touch material, restyled seats, and better acoustic sound insulation. Its improved front suspension featured Macpherson struts and an anti-roll bar while its rear suspension sported a multi-link system fitted with a stabilizer bar.
The Outlander came with electric power steering and newly-installed disk brakes on all four wheels. It also saw improved safety features like forward-collision mitigation system, lane departure warning system and new knee airbags that cushioned the driver in the event of a crash. The Outlander also came with state-of-the-art safety features like anti-locking brake system, electronic brake-force distribution, traction control logic, active stability control, and hill start assist features.
In July 2015, Mitsubishi introduced a heavily redesigned Outlander in the Australian market. It came with Dynamic Shield design, LED daytime running lamps, and the interior got a revised steering wheel with new rear folding seats and door control design.
2019 saw the inclusion of a new twin-blade grille with black inserts, restyled front and rear bumpers, and sporty 18-inch alloy wheels.
The electric vehicle craze did not miss out on the Outlander with its introduction in 2012. The PHEV came with a 2-litre 4-cylinder MIVEC petrol engine mated to an electron powertrain from the all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV. These were two electric motors on the front and rear wheels that produced 60kW each, while the petrol engine charged the motor system.
The hybrid featured at 12kW/hr lithium-ion battery enabled it to run 53km on electric power. It comes with charging socket for regular and quick charging options. Standard charging offers a full charge in 5 hours while the fast charging option in 3.5 hours.
In 2019, the battery was upgraded (from 12 to 13.8 kW/hr), increasing its coverage to 65 km. The Outlander PHEV comes in 3 driving modes - the EV drive, series hybrid drive, and parallel hybrid drive. Its drivetrain automatically chooses one of the modes to optimize performance and efficiency. In EV mode the car goes all-electric with zero emissions, while the series and parallel modes utilize electricity generated by the engine to power the motors.
It also features three driver-activated modes – ECO, battery save, and battery charge. The ECO mode reduces fuel and electricity usage for a less sporty drive. The battery save mode runs the engine to provide necessary power that charges the electric motor generators, while the battery charge mode forces the vehicle to be in hybrid charging mode while at rest.
The Outlander PHEV became the top-selling hybrid in Australia in 2014.
Outback’s story has been a tale of success and reliability. With its sales smashing the 200,000-unit milestone in April 2019, the SUV was recognized as the world’s all-time best plug-in hybrid vehicle by Jethro Dynamics. It also claims the top spot as the best-selling hybrid vehicle in Europe from June 2015 to 2018.
If you have any generation of the Outlander and are looking to sell, or you are restoring one and need auto parts, look us up at Carpart.com.au.