Mitsubishi can finally start pulling its weight in the Alliance.
Mitsubishi recently released the all-new 2022 Outlander, based on the same platform and running gear as the 2021 Nissan Rogue. The Japanese automaker also sells an Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, but it's still based on the outgoing generation with some updates for the 2021 model year. Electrification is clearly part of Mitsubishi's future, as the company recently teased the upcoming 2023 Outlander PHEV. We aren't sure if this new model will use an engine from Nissan or Mitsubishi, but we hope its hybrid technology makes its way to the Rogue.
Currently, the Rogue is only available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 181 horsepower, delivering up to 27-mpg in the city and 35-mpg on the highway. Since the all-new Outlander uses the same platform and engine, we wouldn't be surprised if the upcoming PHEV variant borrows this 2.5-liter engine as well.
The Outlander PHEV previously used a 2.0-liter Mitsubishi engine before upgrading to a 2.4-liter engine earlier this year. This larger engine only produces 126 hp on its own but delivers 221 hp when combined with the two electric motors. Assuming Mitsubishi mates its hybrid system with Nissan's more potent 2.5-liter engine, the 2023 Outlander PHEV could end up with even more power, while retaining a 24-mile all-electric driving range.
Though the base powertrain in the Rogue feels adequate, we believe Nissan is currently missing out on a huge market by not offering a hybrid model. The RAV4 Hybrid now outsells the gas-only version, proving that shoppers are willing to spend a premium to get a quicker, more efficient drivetrain.
Nissan previously offered a Rogue Hybrid up until 2019, but the model proved to be unpopular at the time. With gas prices rising, we think it's time to bring this model back as a plug-in. Toyota is the only outside competitor with a PHEV in this segment with the RAV4 Prime, meaning there is plenty of room for Nissan to enter the fray. Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV could be an in-house competitor, but it offers the unique benefit of a third row.
A while back we predicted the Rogue might get Nissan's cool e-Power technology, which uses a gasoline generator to charge the batteries rather than drive the wheels. This technology may prove too difficult to certify in the US, but we believe a PHEV system essentially serves the same use purpose for buyers that aren't ready to embrace all-electric vehicles.