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Mitsubishi Outlander set to challenge Chevrolet Volt

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid (Credit: Handout)

A totally new Mitsubishi Outlander is coming for the 2013 model year, and with it comes the brand's first U.S. plug-in hybrid SUV. The Outlander PHEV will debut at the 2012 Moscow International Motor Show. The carmaker has revealed a bit more information about the model and Mitsubishi's unique approach to building hybrids.

The Outlander PHEV will be one of the first that can run in EV-only, serial hybrid or parallel hybrid modes, depending on operating conditions. Mitsubishi says the model gets a combined 143 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) under Japanese testing cycles. But since Japan's testing cycles produce figures that are more optimistic than our own, don't expect the same results from the EPA. The model will have a total range of about 550 miles, the company says.

According to Mitsubishi, the Outlander's 12-kWh lithium-ion battery results in a total estimated electric range of 35 miles in Japanese testing, which means the model won't beat the Chevrolet Volt's mileage (38 miles), but it should beat the Ford Fusion Energi (20 miles), Ford C-Max Energi (20 miles), Toyota Prius Plug-In (11 miles) and the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid (15 miles).

The SUV will have a four-wheel-drive system powered solely by two electric motors, one for the front wheels and one for the rear wheels.

The Mitsubishi Outland Plug-in hybrid will arrive in the U.S. early next year.

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