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2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV - FROM $

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander will probably still handle better than most compact crossovers. A plug-in hybrid model will also be new. But softer, more refined bodywork blunts some of the Outlander's edge.

2014  Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

What's New for 2014

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander will be fully redesigned and will include a new plug-in hybrid variant.

Introduction

We expect to see the redesigned 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander sometime next spring. The bodywork is all new, with the previous taut angles and wide mouth giving way to a smoother, more streamlined shell. The overall effect classes up the Outlander, but at the expense of the style and attitude that characterizes the current model.

More of an unknown will be what kind of engine the new Outlander will use. The base drivetrain for Europe will be a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) -- not likely to be a popular option with American buyers. An improved carryover of the current 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine, also with a CVT, may be only slightly more palatable. Mitsubishi could also reprise the 3.0-liter V6 in the current Outlander, but the old engine design isn't terribly efficient and doesn't mesh with the company's new focus on fuel economy and alternative energy. Whichever engine arrives, we expect it will still be capable of powering all four wheels.

Bigger news is set to follow, perhaps as much as a year later, when the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid rolls out to dealers. Official specs aren't yet available, but when Mitsubishi showed it in concept form a few years ago, the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid displayed a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with dual electric motors powering both front and rear wheels.Like other plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in, the Outlander should offer traditional hybrid advantages along with the ability to extend all-electric operation by charging at home or at a dedicated charging station.

Inside, the new Outlander's optional third-row seat has grown in size and quality; it's not like the flimsy contraption of the current model. We still won't call it roomy, but now it's a normal 50/50 fold-flat setup. A new one-piece liftgate replaces the current "clamshell" design, which we have preferred because of the utility it offers for loading or even as an occasional seat while parked for tailgating.

Optional features could include adaptive cruise control, a collision warning system, a lane departure warning system and xenon headlights.

The small crossover segment is already packed with great choices, including the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4. Overall we're not expecting the new Outlander to set any new bars, though the plug-in hybrid could be a competitive offering in the nascent plug-in crossover segment. We expect the new 2014 Outlander to arrive in the United States near the end of 2013 or sometime in the spring of 2014. Check back for a full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.