With a new owner in Renault-Nissan, new style language and a new crossover in the oven, Mitsubishi is a brand in transition. But while Japan’s oldest auto company prepares its new menu, it’s not ignoring its bread-and-butter products — the Outlander and Outlander Sport crossovers which make up 65 percent of the company’s U.S. sales.
Ahead of Chicago Auto Show media days this week, Mitsubishi is introducing a Limited Edition package for its best-selling Outlander Sport compact utility vehicle.
Though it shares a name with its bigger brother, the five-passenger Outlander Sport is a more athletic, shorter-wheelbase offering than the three-row, seven-passenger Outlander. The Sport Limited Edition will be positioned directly above the ES base model. While sharing a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission drivetrain with the ES, the Sport Limited will be distinguished by design and technology upgrades.
You’ll know it by its Limited Edition badge, alloy fuel door, black-painted mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps and high-intensity discharge headlamps. Inside, the Limited Edition gets a custom design with black fabric and red stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob and brake lever. Other interior features include aluminum pedals, heated front seats, backup camera and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
Look for the Sport Limited Edition at dealers later this month starting at $21,995. True to its Limited badge, it will only be available through the end of the model year.
“As the brand sales leader, Outlander Sport does an exemplary job of offering consumers unmatched value at an attractive price,” Don Swearingen, Mitsubishi North America executive vice president, said in a statement. “We’ve now taken that approach one step further by integrating additional standard equipment and technology into the Limited Edition at a price point that is unprecedented within the broader CUV segment.”
Mitsubishi also sells the subcompact Mirage hatchback — boasting best-in-industry mpg for a non-hybrid vehicle — and the Lancer compact sedan. But the Lancer will end production this year as the company focuses on more sport utility offerings to slake Americans’ thirst for all things CUV.
To that end, Mitsubishi will show a new compact ute at the Geneva auto show in March. That vehicle will debut the brand’s new “Dynamic Shield” design as seen on the eX electric sport coupe and the GT plug-in hybrid concepts briefly shown before the Detroit auto show in January.
Mitsubishi, however, did not rent floor space in Cobo Center, choosing instead to attend auto shows in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York that are closer to its 360-dealer U.S. network. Mitsubishi hopes to celebrate its 100th year producing automobiles by going over the 100,000 U.S. sales mark for 2017.
The Outlander Sport Limited Edition is an appetizer to whet buyers’ appetites.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.