The Mitsubishi Outlander is a mid-size crossover manufactured by Japanese automaker Mitsubishi. It was originally known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek when it was introduced in Japan in 2001, and was based on the Mitsubishi ASX concept vehicle exhibited at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. It was sold at Mitsubishi Japan dealership chain called Car Plaza. The ASX (Active Sports Crossover) represented Mitsubishi’s approach to the industry wide SUV trend for retaining the all-season and off-road abilities offered by a high ground clearance and four-wheel drive, while still offering car-like levels of emissions, economy and size.
The original Airtrek name was chosen to “describe the vehicle’s ability to transport its passengers on adventure-packed journeys in a ‘free-as-a-bird’ manner”, and was “coined from Air and Trek to express the idea of footloose, adventure-filled motoring pleasure.” The Outlander nameplate which replaced it evoked a “feeling of journeying to distant, unexplored lands in search of adventure.”
The second generation of the vehicle was introduced in 2005 and all markets including Japan adopted the Outlander name, although production of the older version continued in parallel. It was built on the company’s GS platform, and used various engines developed by Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA’s Citroën C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007, which are manufactured by Mitsubishi in Japan, are badge engineered versions of the Outlander.
As part of the third generation line-up, Mitsubishi launched in January 2013 a plug-in hybrid model called Outlander P-HEV. As of August 2015, the plug-in hybrid model is sold in 48 countries and about 70,000 units have been sold worldwide, with Europe as the leading market with 40,000 units sold through May 2015, followed by Japan with almost 25,000 units sold through July 2015. The top European markets are the Netherlands with 18,577 units registered by the end of July 2015, and the UK with 14,000 units sold by August 2015. The Outlander P-HEV was the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in Europe in 2014, and also ranked that year as the world’s third best selling plug-in car after the all-electrics Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf. Accounting for cumulative global sales since 2009, the Outlander P-HEV ranks as the fifth top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the world ever as of May 2015.