A short article on the development of Mitsubishi’s Outlander model.
The Mitsubishi Outlander was originally marketed as the Mitsubishi Airtrek upon its initial release in Japan in 2001. The vehicle was based upon the previous Mitsubishi ASX concept model that was released at the North American International Auto Show. The car represented one of the first moves that Mitsubishi made towards the commercial SUV market. The original Mitsubishi Outlander featured high ground clearance, four-wheel drive and reasonably low levels of emissions.
The first phase Outlander models were available with both front wheel and four wheel drive with a 4-speed semi-automatic transmission. A more advanced high performance model was released in 2002, this model utilised a detuned version of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s 4G63T 2.0L turbo engine. In 2003 the vehicle underwent a slight design change with modified headlights and a new front grille. In South America the first phase Mitsubishi Outlanders were marketed as the Montero Outlander because the company owned the highly popular Mitsubishi Montero Sport franchise in the region.
In 2005 the second generation Mitsubishi Outlander was released. It featured a new DOHC 2.4 L 16-valve MIVEC engine to improve performance. INVECS-III continuously variable transmission was also added to the phase two models as well as electronically controlled four wheel drive and stability control. In 2009 Mitsubishi unveiled an Outlander GT prototype at the New York International Auto Show. During 2010 the Outlander received a major overhaul of its design with the introduction of new components such as a colour MFD dashboard and new leather interiors.