A bigger engine plus a bigger battery pack add up to a much more compelling plug-in crossover.
The plug-in-hybrid version of Mitsubishi's mid-size Outlander crossover is finally being shown some love in the US market, according to a report from EV Pulse. That outlet uncovered a Mitsubishi filing with the California Air Resources Board that lays out in bare detail some of the powertrain changes coming to the Outlander PHEV, and they seem to align with a batch of updates implemented recently in other global markets.
For true plug-in hybrid believers, the most important update is the battery capacity, which is reportedly set to increase from 12 to 13.2 kWh. That should lead to a decent bump in range from the current 22 miles claimed by the EPA.
Just as crucial, that bigger battery will be paired with a bigger engine, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder taking place of the current 2.0-liter unit. That engine, coupled with the same 60-kW front and rear electric motors as before, should grant the Outlander PHEV a decent amount of get-up-and-go.
In global markets, the aforementioned upgrades were paired with additional things like improved damping, a revised traction control system, upsized front brakes, and two new selectable drive modes: Snow and Sport. Those are all things that wouldn't be noted on a CARB filing, so even though that document makes no reference to them, we'd say chances are very good they'll make their way onto the US Outlander PHEV as well.
Of course, nothing will change the fact that the Mitsubishi Outlander is growing long in the tooth; the current-generation model first launched for the 2014 model year, and while it's already received two significant updates, the 2020 Outlander still looks and feels like something very much its age. The reworked damping, improved braking, and new traction control might all breathe new life into the mid-size crossover, but it's not clear at this juncture whether those tweaks would make their way into the non-hybrid models, as well - if they manifest at all. At least we know it will look the part.