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Mitsubishi Shows off Outlander PHEV Rally Car in New York

Plug-in CUV needed special classification to compete

Frank Markus
Mar 24, 2016

In order to help prove the durability and functionality of the Outlander's two-motor multi-mode parallel/series hybrid CUV, as Mitsubishi readied a new variant for sale in North America, it applied for and received a special invitation to enter the 29th running of the Baja Portalegre 500 off-road rally on October 22-24, 2015, in Portugal (the invitation was needed, as there is no classification for PHEV drivetrains). Mitsubishi is a frequent participant in such events, and ran several Pajeros alongside its Outlander PHEV in this one.

The bodywork and suspension are clearly altered and optimized for rally duty with Tein competition dampers and other components, and the wheels and tires were upsized (to 235/85R16), but the drivetrain components are pretty close to what you'll find in the stock vehicle. The major powertrain and PHEV changes include an increase in battery capacity to 16 kWh, altering the electric-motor controllers so they can send more power to the motors, and moving the charging port to inside the rear cargo area. The threshold for turning on the gasoline motor was also raised from 70 to 100 mph.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Rally Racer rear three quarter Photo 2/39   |   2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Rally Racer rear three quarter

Entry number 651, the Outlander, placed third in the first leg of the national rally, then finished second in the super special stage, and came in third in the second selective section. The resulting combined time had the team in third place overall heading into the final stage of the rally. Torrential flash-flood-inducing rains plagued day two, but the S-AWC electric all-wheel-drive system performed flawlessly in such conditions (the car will reportedly run until the battery is depleted through water as deep as the headlights).

We'll get civilian models this fall, and final specifications of that model are being tweaked relative to the European- and Japanese-market variants that have been on sale. Stay tuned to learn how those shake out, and what the price will be, later this summer.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV picured below.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV front three quarter 03 Photo 3/39   |   2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV front three quarter 03
By Frank Markus
18 Articles

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