The Mitsubishi Outlander is getting some tech updates to its construction, engine, and interior.
According to a press release from Mitsubishi, the Outlander is all-new for 2014 and features a number of changes from the outgoing model. Among those changes is the use of high-tensile steel that is lighter in weight and shaped more aerodynamically than the previous Outlander.
Another notable upgrade takes place in the engine bay, where Mitsubishi says it has made key changes to the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) system of its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that, when combined with a CVT automatic transmission, the 200-lb. lighter weight, and more aerodynamic body panels should give the Outlander fuel economy that the company says will make it among the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger SUVs on the market. Note, however, that Mitsubishi did not announce what specific changes it was making to its MIVEC system or how it would impact the engine’s horsepower and torque ratings (the previous Outlander’s 2.4-liter four made 168 horsepower and 167 ft-lbs of torque), nor did it give a preliminary estimate of the Outlander’s expected fuel efficiency (the 2012 got EPA ratings of 23 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.) Guess we’ll have to wait until the model is officially on sale as a 2014 model year vehicle sometime in 2013 to learn that info.
A premium GT model will get a more powerful 3.0-liter V6 engine with a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, the release said. But here again, no details were made available in the Mitsubishi presser on power or fuel efficiency. Last year’s Outlander GT had the same engine and transmission combo and made 230 horsepower and 215 ft-lbs of torque while returning EPA fuel efficiency of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
In the interior, Mitsubishi said it has available features that include a next-generation OEM navigation system, a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, a power rear liftgate operated from the driver’s seat or via remote control key fob, and safety features such as lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. All of this wrapped in an interior package Mitsubishi says “exudes opulence” by way of its focus on ergonomics, aesthetics, comfort, and quality and its use of a soft-touch instrument panel, gloss black “waterfall” center stack, and available wood trim.
While I’m not as in-love with the 2014 Outlander’s styling showcased at the L.A. Auto Show as I was with the previous-generation Outlander’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution-inspired look, the improvements could make it more appealing to the mass market. That’s something for which Mitsubishi– now the smallest Japanese automaker in the States after Suzuki’s U.S. import arm filed for bankruptcy— is surely hoping.