Looks like: A future for the plug-in version of the big and aging Outlander SUV
Defining characteristics: It’s big and boxy in the mold of such current new SUV designs as the Kia Telluride.
Ridiculous features: The silly floating storage pod on top that overlaps the windshield like a 1950s visor; the built-in light bar might be useful, but making pod only big enough for your snowboards is not
Chance of being mass-produced: With some toning down for production and a real interior, this could be the future of the Outlander.
Mitsubishi has unveiled the Engelberg Tourer concept, a stylish and squared-off plug-in hybrid SUV that could preview a redesign of its aging plug-in hybrid variant of the Outlander SUV. The Outlander PHEV has been a very successful product for Mitsubishi in Europe but has not made much noise in the U.S. despite it being in my experience (and in the experience of fellow Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman) a good alternative for families needing a big SUV.
Related: More 2019 Geneva Motor Show Coverage
The Engelberg Tourer name refers to a Swiss ski resort because, well, they did unveil it in Geneva. But the clunky name seems silly if they are going to show it elsewhere. (Will they rename it the Lake Placid Tourer if it shows up in April at the 2019 New York auto show?) Mitsubishi said the name is meant to highlight the PHEV’s ability to handle adventure trips to places lacking handy EV charging.
The concept is no wild show car, though it does have a silly roof box that looks plopped on top, which can’t help the EV aerodynamics and is only big enough to hold snowboards. But minus the box, huge wheels, video mirrors and show-car seats, The Tourer doesn’t look that far from a production-worthy SUV, with a boxy style not unlike the new Kia Telluride (which, coincidentally, also is named for a ski resort).
And the Engelberg Tourer has key improvements that, if produced as an Outlander, could boost that SUV’s appeal to more buyers. Like the current Outlander, the Tourer’s powertrain includes a gasoline engine and an electric motor on each axle for an electronic all-wheel-drive system with no mechanical connection between front and rear. The system has the ability to shift torque from front to back and side to side as well as selectively brake the wheels to improve handling.
The gasoline engine functions, similar to a Chevrolet Volt, mostly as a generator to charge the battery, but it also provides extra power when needed for acceleration or passing. But the Tourer gets a larger 2.4-liter gas engine (up from a 2.0-liter in the Outlander PHEV) and a different battery. Power output and battery size were not specified, but Mitsubishi estimates the vehicle’s range at about 43 miles on Europe’s more generous world harmonized light vehicles test procedure cycle, which still should be close to 40 miles in the U.S. That would be a substantial boost over the 22-mile EPA electric range for the current Outlander PHEV, which has a 12-kilowatt-hour battery.
The boxy shape and packaging of the battery under the center floor give the Tourer a roomy interior that offers ample cargo space as well as room for a family-friendly third row, something lacking in the current Outlander despite its size.
More From Cars.com:
- 5 Reasons I Actually Don’t Hate the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport to Stop in Geneva on Way to U.S.
- First Drive: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Is Style Over Substance
- 2020 Kia Telluride: A Family Ski Lodge on Four Wheels
In addition to the Engelberg Tourer, Mitsubishi in Geneva unveiled the Dendo Drive House home charging system that incorporates solar panels and a battery to store energy to charge an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. The bidirectional charging system, which will be sold through Mitsubishi dealers, also lets the vehicle’s battery be tapped for power to the home.
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