Luxurious new off-roader to be based on the next Outlander PHEV platform
Japanese automotive publication Best Car Web says that a Mitsubishi insider has given details of the return, including that vehicle development has already begun for what the brand aims to be a luxurious, off-road capable ‘Japanese Range Rover’.
Given the desire for a more premium on-road experience, the report states that the Mitsubishi Triton pickup platform – apparently the first contender to form the basis of the new vehicle – was ruled out as a candidate for the new Pajero, with the company now looking to the next generation plug-in hybrid electric Outlander to form the basis.
It’s notable that the Pajero isn’t the only large off-road vehicle reported to be in development and sit on the Outlander PHEV’s platform, with Mitsubishi recently showing off the Delica D:X concept that is expected to debut in production form in 2026.
While most 4WD wagons, like the Ford Everest and Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series, famously feature body-on frame construction, the Pajero (not to be confused with the Triton-based Pajero Sport) has for generations rode on a strengthened unibody platform, and yet still been renowned for its ability both on- and off-road.
The new Outlander – which only debuted its current second-generation PHEV in August 2022 – will itself reportedly ride on an upgraded version of the CMF-C/D platform that was jointly developed as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
Variations of this platform also underpins vehicles like the Nissan X-Trail midsize SUV and Qashqai small SUV. Interestingly, this means that the Pajero would not ride on a platform shared with the larger, soon-to-be-replaced Nissan Patrol large SUV, an obvious competitor.
Japanese vehicles typically operate on a five to seven year lifecycle, and the same is generally true for the Outlander, so the launch of a new-generation of the midsize SUV in 2027 isn’t out of the question.
In terms of powertrain, it’s expected the Pajero would utilise an improved version of the Outlander PHEV’s 2.4-litre inline-four cylinder engine, but potentially with the addition of a turbocharger or supercharger to bolster its performance, according to the insider.
More powerful and torquey electric motors would also likely feature, though the current model’s 185kW/450Nm is quite competitive for its class.
The Mitsubishi Pajero nameplate was synonymous with Mitsubishi for the four decades and four generations that it was produced before production ended in 2021.
In 2015, Mitsubishi debuted the Pajero Sport in Australia, although this vehicle is only related to the original Pajero by name. It is essentially a wagon version of the Triton ute, and a successor to the Mitsubishi Challenger, which is what previous versions of the vehicle have been branded in Australia.
Mitsubishi now operates as an SUV only brand in Australia, with the current Outlander the brand’s top selling vehicle last year shifting 24,263 units – enough to make it Australia’s seventh most popular vehicle in 2023.
Certainly a new Pajero would bolster Mitsubishi’s lineup in Australia, with large SUVs like the Ford Everest, new Toyota Prado and Land Cruiser all generating strong sales for their respective brands.
Additional reporting by Tom Place.
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