Mitsubishi will enhance design, technology and active safety features on its 2021 and 2022 models.
Mitsubishi Motors Canada (MMCANS) has announced major revamps of their full 2021 model line-up.
The RVR will be available in late 2020 as a 2021 model and has benefited from significant design changes both internally and externally. The RVR is Mitsubishi’s best-selling vehicle in Canada and was listed in the top three in the U.S. JD Power IQS study in the Small SUV class.
Following on the heels of the RVR will be the 2021 Mirage that will be released in the first quarter of 2021. Canada’s most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle will have comprehensive styling and trim changes as well as having active safety features made available.
The 2021 Outlander PHEV will benefit from a new drive train that will include a larger engine that will produce more horsepower. The electric drive system has been upgraded and will increase the range of driving on full electric power. This should ensure that it stays the best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV in Canada and the world.
The Eclipse Cross will appear in early 2021 as a 2022 model with a newly designed front and rear end taken directly from Mitsubishi’s next-generation design language.
The 2022 next-generation Outlander will be introduced in the first quarter of 2021 as a 2022 model year. The all-new Outlander is being touted by Mitsubishi as being “bigger, bolder and better than ever before and will be the quietest and best-equipped Mitsubishi ever sold in Canada” The Outlander will arrive with extensive technology and interior upgrades that will complement the new bold exterior styling.
More information will be made available on the new Outlander will be made available after the global launch in early 2021.
Mitsubishi Motors was ranked sixth overall in the recent J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Mitsubishi was the top-ranked Japanese brand in the industry, and the Mitsubishi RVR (Outlander Sport in the U.S.) tied for third in the Small SUV category.
As one of 33 brands evaluated across the industry, Mitsubishi experienced the greatest year-over-year improvement in ranking, moving from 30th in 2019 to sixth in 2020, as J.D. Power redesigned the IQS study to focus more on in-vehicle technology.
“The 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study results recognize our focus on quality, reliability and value in all Mitsubishi vehicles, which is particularly important because our customers also tell us these are key purchase reasons here in Canada,” said Juyu Jeon, president and CEO, Mitsubishi Motors Canada.
In addition to Mitsubishi’s improvement in the IQS brand ranking, the Mitsubishi RVR (Outlander Sport), which underwent a significant redesign for the 2020 model year, ascended to the top-three rankings in the Small SUV category, placing third alongside the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax.
Mitsubishi’s IQS results follow a similarly strong performance in the J.D. Power 2020 Customer Service Index (CSI) study released in March, and are the latest in series of successes for Mitsubishi Motors Canada as it reinvents its brand and business ahead of a new product initiative that will help strengthen sales in Canada. For calendar year 2019, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada achieved its third record sales year in a row.
The annual J.D. Power IQS Study, now in its 34th year, examines problems experienced by owners of new 2020 model-year vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership.
Mitsubishi knows that as a small player in the market, its vehicles have to stand out.
Stylistically, the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV may not stand out as the most modern SUV on the market, but it’s still one of the most affordable plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUVs on the market. Add to that all its best-in-market characteristics – it’s the roomiest and offers the quickest recharging times and standard all-wheel drive – and it’s a standout among its kind, even if it looks pricey next to its gas-only sibling.
The Outlander PHEV looks largely identical to the conventional Outlander, with an extra fuel door that hides connectors for both Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations and unique badging serving as the biggest hints of what’s hiding inside. (In certain provinces, special licence plates or stickers also set it apart from regular Outlanders, as well as provide some perks like carpool lane access when driving alone.)
The Outlander has been around for a while, and despite some LED lighting and other visual updates, it clings to a traditional SUV shape that’s modernized mostly by its large starfish-shaped grille, whose large black sections stood out more on our white tester than on darker paint shades. The interior design of the Outlander PHEV also falls heavily on the traditional side.
Most of the features one would expect in a $50,000 small sport utility are present – especially in this fully loaded GT tester. Heated front seats and steering wheel, a power tailgate and sunroof, and supple quilted leather seats and accents are all included with the top trim. There’s also a useful 360-degree camera system that’s easy to access thanks to a button on the steering wheel. A household-style three-pronged outlet in the rear cargo area allows for a cooler or vacuum cleaner to be plugged in.
The Outlander PHEV is one of the largest and roomiest plug-in hybrid SUVs on the market – especially compared to the likes of the Kia Niro PHEV, Quebec-only Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, and Mini Countryman SE All4.
Climbing in and out is easy thanks to the tall roof, and there’s a calming familiarity with the overall layout, with few of the future-forward controls often found in other electrified vehicles. Rear seat room is also impressive, a by-product of the Outlander’s generous length. There are no rear window sunshades, but second-row passengers benefit from cup holders, and USB and three-pronged outlet power.
The suspension does a good job of minimizing bumps in the road, although there is some squishiness on highway ramps when driven aggressively.
Likely the most appealing aspect of this plug-in hybrid SUV is the 35 km of smooth and silent all-electric range provided by a full charge, especially if it’s charged nightly. And, thanks to the placement of electric motors in the front and rear, it’s one of the few PHEVs to come standard – or even offer – all-wheel drive. Granted, that estimated all-electric range will fluctuate depending on driving style, and it’s well short of the 62 km predicted range of the upcoming Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV.
During early springtime testing, the Outlander PHEV provided between 25 and 30 km of electric driving, though it’s nearly impossible to quantify EV range exactly as the gas-powered engine kicks in occasionally at cooler temperatures. The Outlander PHEV becomes much less efficient when predominantly burning gas in hybrid mode, its 2.0L four-cylinder engine varying between 7.3 and 11.0 L/100 km over the week I spent with the tester.
Driving Feel: 7.5/10
The engine isn’t coarse when it comes on, but it’s much louder than the electric motor alone. There’s a healthy initial hit of torque in all-electric mode, but don’t expect adrenaline-pumping acceleration here. The steering wheel-mounted paddles do a good job of at least occupying the involved driver, increasing regeneration with a few flips of the left paddle, which feels like downshifting as it slows down quicker and regenerates a few more electrons for the 12-kWh lithium-ion traction battery.
For one-pedal driving enthusiasts, it’s possible to do so in urban areas, although the regen is not quite strong enough to bring the Outlander to a full stop – even at the highest regeneration level.
The Outlander PHEV’s combination of spaciousness, quietness, and all-weather capability makes it a practical family hauler – particularly for those with access to a garage or parking space with a plug. There’s also a handy smartphone app that allows the cabin to be conditioned remotely, a handy feature before heading off.
When it comes to cargo room, the shorter but wider RAV4 has slightly more cargo space than the plug-in Mitsubishi’s still sizeable 861 L with the rear seats up. There’s no available third-row seating here as there is in the conventionally powered Outlander, though that space is much better used for cargo.
Plus it’s rated to tow, another rarity amongst vehicles that plug in – as much as 680 kg (1,500 lb) in this case. It will be interesting to see how the Outlander PHEV’s towing and cargo numbers line up with the RAV4 Prime that’s scheduled to go on sale this year.
User Friendliness: 7.5/10
Though all the features of the Outlander are generally easy to comprehend and use, there are some ergonomic foibles here. The single USB port up front is right above the cup holder closest to the driver, so plugging in renders it all but unusable.
The infotainment system features an eight-inch touchscreen and is easy to control with the steering-wheel buttons, but it really needs an actual volume knob. One other notable omission from the Outlander PHEV: there’s no built-in navigation system. Even in this fully loaded tester, drivers will need to rely on the standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for directions.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), the world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle1, was honoured as the first-ever 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™ by Green Car Journal.
Presented for the first time at the 2019 San Antonio Auto & Truck Show on November 21, 2019, the all-new 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™ award recognizes the increasingly important role that environmental performance plays in the family vehicle market.
The Outlander PHEV was recognized for its blend of environmental performance and family-friendly versatility in a popular crossover package. The publication further recognized the Outlander PHEV for its unique offering of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) efficiency and sport utility capability.
The Green Car Awards™ at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show highlight the best environmentally friendly new model year vehicles to help make purchase decisions easier. The Outlander PHEV was recognized for ‘green’ attributes and how it rose above its many competitors on the market, earning the magazine’s recognition as a 2020 Green Car Product of Excellence™.
“The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers family-friendly functionality, satisfying ride and handling, and welcome plug-in hybrid operation that enhances environmental performance,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCarJournal.com. “It’s an exceptional crossover offering the technology, driver assist systems, and capabilities so desired by families today, at reasonable cost.”
The Outlander PHEV brings together the superior efficiency of an electric vehicle, the utility of a crossover as well as stability and handling provided by Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. The PHEV includes a 35-km all-electric driving range mated to a gas motor to combine for a total range of 499 km. The S-AWC system was modified specifically for the Outlander PHEV’s unique twin electric motor configuration to allow maximum performance and superior traction and safety, especially in harsh weather conditions.
Last year, the Outlander PHEV also received Green Car Journal’s 2019 Green SUV of the Year.
Outlander PHEV also has the distinction of being Today’s Parent Approved by Today’s Parent Magazine following testing by families and editors in Canada. In Canada, Outlander PHEV is Canada’s top-selling plug-in hybrid SUV. In 2018, Outlander PHEV accounted for one in four plug-in hybrid sales in Canada.
The compact SUV and crossover segments have become the most crowded of the industry over the past few years with almost every manufacturer under the sun launching their versions of what urban utility should look and feel like. The segments are so aggressive that some companies have even ditched sedans and hatches to focus entirely on SUVs. Mitsubishi is one of them.
The entry-level in Mitsubishi’s SUV lineup is the RVR, a model that’s easy to overlook since it hasn’t been the centre of Mitsubishi’s attention in a decade. Yes, you read that right. The model has remained virtually unchanged for 10 years.
Of course, it’s gone through a few rounds of updates with the latest one dating from 2019 which finally made the RVR look like it belongs in the family. Its platform, however, is the same as the one introduced at the beginning of the last decade. Despite the lack of innovation, Mitsubishi Canada confirmed the RVR was their top seller in 2018. Aged doesn’t mean bad.
So the 2020 upgrade included a new, more modern design, as well as a larger touchscreen, which in theory sounds nice, right? Once you see and interact with it, though, disappointment is quick to follow, especially if you’ve started your car shopping spree at Hyundai or even Toyota.
The infotainment system cruelly lacks pizzaz and is basic beyond belief for a 2020 model year. Considering some of Mitsubishi’s competitors seem to take pride and pleasure in designing appealing interfaces, the RVR’s system is drab at best in comparison. Mitsubishi also follows the trend of limiting the number of options to the benefit of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems (which is optional). That means that despite driving the top-of-the-line GT, I didn’t have access to any form of navigation unless I plugged my smartphone in.
As for the dashboard, let’s call it “classic and straightforward.” It certainly won’t win any design awards since the layout is almost as old as the platform itself. But I’ll hand it to Mitsubishi: it’s efficient and user-friendly.
I also noted some quality issues in the unit I drove. For instance, my driver seat shimmied in its tracks, noticeably so while driving in the city and alternating between braking and accelerating. The cabin’s poor soundproofing emphasized road noise and road bumps caused some mild, plastic-y rattles. I wasn’t overly impressed with the experience, especially considering the $36k price tag that comes with the GT trim level.
The model isn’t all bad. It has gained an enviable reputation for being highly reliable over the years. Plus, Mitsubishi continues to offer the longest warranty in the industry with coverage on the powertrain spanning 10 years.
The 2.4L, four-cylinder engine is also relatively cooperative. It won’t win you any races but takeoffs are responsive enough and the CVT isn’t too nightmarish to deal with, which is likely due to the fact that the expectations aren’t high, to begin with.
The vehicle also features the all-wheel control system, which is the company’s part-time all-wheel drive. Simply put, that means that by default, the power is sent to the front wheels, which is easier on gas. Once you press the comically big “AWC” button located on the console, the rear wheels get looped in, and the vehicle turns into a proper, snow blasting, all-wheel drive. Considering most life situations don’t require to have the AWD activated at all times, having control where the power is sent is a plus in my opinion.
I really wanted to like the 2020 Mitsubishi RVR because I know what Mitsubishi is capable of. The Outlander — more specifically the PHEV version — is, in my opinion, one of the best plug-in hybrids currently offered on the market. The problem is that the company is working with an outdated structure with the RVR. It’s not a bad vehicle but it needs a whole lot more than a facelift to keep up with its competition.
Model: 2020 Mitsubishi RVR GT AWC
Engine: 2.4L, I-4, 168 horsepower, 167 lb.-ft. of torque
Transmission: CVT, all-wheel drive
NRCan rating (L/100km city/highway): 10.3 / 8.3
Length: 4,365 mm
Width: 1,810 mm
Wheelbase: 2,670 mm
Weight: 1,495 kg
Price: base, $25,015 as tested, $36,013 including freight
Competition: Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Ford EcoSport, Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-3, Subaru Crosstrek, Hyundai Kona, Kia Sportage, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Compass
Standard equipment: Active Stability Control, Traction Control Logic, Brake Assist System, Hill Start Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Mitigation, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, All-Wheel Control with drive mode selector, Heated front seats, six-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free cellular phone interface, FAST-Key keyless entry with push-button start and panic alarm, SiriusXM satellite radio, Rearview Camera, Steering wheel-mounted audio controls, Heated steering wheel