Mitsubishi Outlander, a crossover manufactured by the Mitsubishi Motors since 2001. It was launched for the first time in Japan as Mitsubishi Airtrek, its original name. It was based on the Mitsubishi ASX concept that was revealed in North American International Auto Show in 2001. The Active Sports Crossover (ASX) characterized the company’s approach towards the wide XUV trend for keeping the all-season and off-road capabilities offered by high ground clearance and 4-wheel drive, while still aiming to achieve levels of emissions, economy and size like a car.
As of name, the Airtrek name of the vehicle was picked out to “give an account of the vehicle’s ability to transport its passengers on adventure-packed journeys in a ‘free-as-a-bird’ manner”. It was a combination of two words “Air” and “Trek” to convey the idea of adventure-filled, free and happy motoring pleasure. The name was later replaced by “Outlander” expressing the “feeling of traveling around to distant, unexplored lands in search of adventure.”
In 2005, the second generation model appeared with the new name Outlander. The first generation model remained in production as well alongside second generation. The company’s GS platform was used for the vehicle and a wide range of engines offered developed by different companies including Volkswagen, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mitsubishi. Both PSA’s Citroen C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007, developed by Mitsubishi are regarded as the badge engineered versions of the Outlander.
First Generation (2001-2008)
On June 20, 2001, the first generation Airtrek was launched by Mitsubishi in Japan with price ranging from ¥1.7 to ¥2.3 million. Initially, the car was available with a 126 PS (93 kW) 4G63 2.0-L or a 139 PS (102 kW) 4G64 2.4-L GDI engine, both of which were paired with a standard INVECS-II 4-speed semi-automatic transmission. It was offered in both front- and all-wheel drive versions. Open differentials were offered for front and rear axles in all-wheel drive version while viscous coupling unit was present for center differential. In 2002, a high end version was released with a detuned version of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s 4G63T 2.0-L turbo, generating 240 PS (180 kW) and 343 Nm (253 lb-ft).
In 2003, the first Outlander was launched with a revised front grille and headlights. In the beginning, a version with 4G64 powerplant was offered which later in 2004 followed by a 4G69 2.4 L SOHC MIVEC I4 developing 120 kW (160 PS) and 220 Nm (160 lb-ft), and the turbocharged 4G63T versions. All the three models were offered with an option of front as well as all-wheel drive.
The vehicle was sold as Montero Outlander in many South American regions with a view to associate it with the best-selling Mitsubishi Montero Sport.
Second Generation (2005-Present)
The second generation Outlander was introduced by Mitsubishi on October 17, 2005. The original Airtrek name was discontinued in the Japan and the global name adopted. The new generation model came equipped with a new DOHC 2.4-L 16-valve MIVEC engine. The other prominent features include an INVECS-III continuously variable transmission (CVT), Mitsubishi’s AWC system which features electronically controlled four wheel drive and stability control. The North American version received the new 6B31 3.0- L V6 SOHC MIVEC engine which was revealed for the first time at the New York Auto Show in April 2006 and formally launched in the October.
The Euro NCAP car safety performance assessment program gave the Outlander featuring the Mitsubishi’s RISE safety body a four star rating.
The Outlander had a huge market in Chile as well. When second generation model was revealed, it was badged as Outlander K2 to distinguish it from the first generation model as both the models were sold in parallel.
The Outlander remained the best-selling SUV in the Japanese market from October 2005 to March 2006. As of November and December 2006, the vehicle achieved 1694 and 2108 sales respectively in US. The company aims to achieve the 4000 sales per month in US market.