With the Geneva Motor Show officially behind us, we’re finally starting to get previews for the upcoming 2015 New York Auto Show. Doors open in almost exactly 2 weeks, and the first Japanese car we have to look forward to (at least officially) is a new 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander.
The Mitsubishi Outlander has struggled to stay competitive in the US in recent years. Not because it’s a bad car, but because all things being equal, most drivers will choose a model they’re more familiar with like the Toyota Highlander.
Under a bigger brand, today’s budget-friendly Outlander would do just fine. After all, everyone agrees it’s a reliable model and it has excellent fuel economy for its class… Plus, pricing is right on point with a starting price of just $23,195 for a full-sized 7-seat SUV.
Still, this teaser tells us that Mitsubishi is planning something different for 2016. This fits right in line with our expectations, since we already knew Mitsubishi would be showcasing some sort of new Outlander in New York. With this teaser, we have three options for what exactly that car will be.
Option 1. Plain 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
Most other automotive blogs on the web are convinced that Mitsubishi is bringing a standard facelifted Outlander SUV to the 2015 NY Auto Show. Even though Mitsubishi did a similar refresh in 2013 for the 2014MY just a couple years ago (pictured above), many people believe they’re giving it another shot for 2016.
This option makes sense… Even after the update, the Outlander feels a little dated, especially inside the cabin. But, there are other options.
Option 2. Facelifted 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Another option would be for Mitsubishi to skip the normal Outlander entirely and showcase a facelifted version of their slightly more popular Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, aka. the Mitsubishi ASX or Mitsubishi RVR.
This option would make slightly more sense because the car hasn’t seen any major updates since the third-generation debuted in 2010. Plus, a mid-cycle facelift would be a great time to finally homogenize the Outlander Sport lineup, since the car has substantially varied specs and names across the different markets.
The only problem here is that the grille we see in the teaser image looks nothing like the grille from the current Outlander Sport. The horizontal bars tell us we’re looking at a standard Outlander, which leaves us with Option 3…
Option 3. US-Spec Outlander PHEV
We’ve been patiently waiting for a plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander for several years now. It was originally supposed to launch in 2012. Then it was definitely going to hit the US by 2014. The latest estimate is April 2016, and this one could finally be on the money.
If Mitsubishi really is ready to bring their Outlander PHEV to the US, then a New York debut makes perfect sense. And, it’s possible that they could still do Option 1 here, since execs have said that they’d facelift the normal Outlander before sending dealers the PHEV model. It’s expected to look a lot like the 2014 Paris Motor Show’s Mitsubishi PHEV Concept S, which is pictured above.
Notice those horizontal bars on the grille… Could this be the car we’re seeing in New York? Stay tuned to find out!