Mitsubishi’s current SUVs are known for certain attributes – value, reliability, off-road cred – but the company says its new “flagship” Outlander brings something else: a bit of premium feel.
By extension the company’s Australian arm hopes its newest product will attract people who have never shortlisted a Mitsubishi before, while bringing existing owners along for the ride.
Launching November 1, the new Outlander migrates to a shared Nissan-Renault platform (it’s closely related to the 2022 X-Trail), and in terms of driver-assist features, cabin screens, and interior design is a real generational leap.
While that means price increases as detailed here – now between $34,490 and $49,990 plus on-road costs – the company contends “the value is there, but ‘value’ and ‘cheap’ are two different things”.
Those are the words of Mitsubishi Motors Australia product planning chief Owen Thompson, who called the new model “a signal of where we’re pivoting the brand”.
“This car infuses all those traditional Mitsubishi characteristics – durability, quality – but we’re now overlaying a more premium-feel product that really captures people’s attention,” Mr Thompson added.
“It is a game-changer for the brand, which is the term the parent company is using, and we really feel that way. And the response we’re getting is, people are really starting to reconsider Mitsubishi.
“ …What we’re really thinking is this car is actually going to attract a whole raft of new buyers who have never previously considered Mitsubishi.”
This tactical shift comes in the context of emerging Chinese brands MG and Haval taking greater market share at the cheaper end with their respective MG HS and Haval H6 models (10 points for original naming…).
They compete in similar waters to the old Outlander which was usually available at discounted drive-away prices, but the new Outlander in turn aims right for the top-selling Toyota RAV4 and all the rest in the market’s most crowded segment.
Medium SUVs account for close to one-in-five new vehicle sales so there’s plenty of scope for Mitsubishi provided the new Outlander resonates here – as indeed it has in the U.S market, where the brand is revitalised.
Headline aspects of the new Outlander include:
Reduced body weight coupled with a stiffer structure; overhauled suspension and electric steering, a new 2.5-litre engine with CVT; upgraded Super All-Wheel Control AWD with swifter coupling of the rear axle; new fully digital instruments and a large head-up display; and more active safety tech.
The new longer-range plug-in hybrid Outlander arrives in early 2022.
We’ll have a review on the new model coming soon.