Buyers in North America will be able to get their two- or three-row new-gen Outlander in Black Edition – paving the way for future global limited-run variants
Much like the black-out treatment that has permeated Mitsubishi’s Australian model range, this move could pave the way for future limited editions – such as a ‘sporty’ Outlander GSR – for this Toyota RAV4 rival.
The fourth-generation Mitsubishi Outlander has so far performed strongly in Australia, accounting for 11.7 percent of the midsize SUV segment so far in 2022. But it is also performing strongly in the United States – making up 33 percent of the Japanese carmaker’s sales since it hit US showrooms.
At the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, Mitsubishi displayed an Outlander Ralliart concept with a rear diffuser and 22-inch forged alloy wheels, though without confirmation of enhanced engine specs beyond the adoption of the Outlander’s forthcoming plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain.
Mitsubishi has also vowed to return to rallying, though not with a turbocharged Lancer Evolution replacement, but rather a pumped up Triton dual-cab ute for the Asia Cross Country Rally series.
This announcement was accompanied by a rollout of Ralliart accessories in Japan such as mudflaps and trim pieces for the Outlander, ASX and Eclipse Cross SUVs, as well as the Delica people mover not sold in Australia.
As for Mitsubishi’s current aspirations in Australia, product and public relations manager Adam Davis told Chasing Cars that the brand’s “current focus remains on delivering the finalised range, specification and pricing of Outlander PHEV, which is due in the middle of this year.”
But Mr Davis added that the brand’s Australian arm is “constantly looking ahead and working with [Mitsubishi Motor Company] on new or updated models that suit the Australian market. We’ll have more on these products as we progress these discussions.”
Taking the Ralliart concept as the furthest Mitsubishi is likely to go – especially with previous arch-nemesis Subaru refocusing its STI performance arm on EVs – and America’s Outlander Black Edition as a mild trim tweaking, a future Australian GSR model would likely sit somewhere in between.
The black grille and 20-inch alloy wheels add a sinister edge to the US-market Black Edition, while the cabin sees minor changes such as a dark-coloured headlining and A-pillar trim. But it uses the same 135kW/245Nm 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder as the rest of the range.
With the Australian release of a plug-in hybrid Outlander just around the corner, it’s likely a hotter GSR version would adopt that powertrain – as per the previous generation with its black badging, microsuede seat trim and Bilstein dampers. At least that GSR model’s firmer suspension tune captured the ethos of the three letters that have adorned various sporting Mitsubishi products since the 1970s.
But a new-gen Outlander GSR may also follow the trend set by the ASX GSR, Triton GSR and Pajero Sport GSR in that it’s nothing more than blacked-out trim pieces, some interior tinsel and gloss-black alloys..
Inside, expect a future Outlander GSR’s cabin to feature the Alcantara-centred seats of the current mid-spec Aspire grade, perhaps lifted with some contrasting red stitching, and even a touch of suedecloth on the steering wheel.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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