By David Undercoffler
10:35 PM EST, November 29, 2012
Mitsubishi used the final major press conference of Thursday's Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil an all-new version of its seven-passenger crossover SUV, the Outlander.
Yoichi Yokozawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi North America, also used the event to stress the company's investment in U.S. manufacturing, saying increased exports of vehicles made in the U.S. would help Mitsubishi's bottom line.
"This not only helps reduce our yen-dollar exchange rate challenges, [but] we are also exporting a significant number of these new models to Russia, to the Middle East, and to Central and South America," Yokozawa said.
Mitsubishi could use the help as it looks to prove that it's still a viable competitor in the U.S. market despite just 400 dealers selling 4,000 vehicles in October. The company hopes the all-new Outlander will give it a sales boost when the vehicle goes on sale in July.
The all-new Outlander will come with one of two engine choices. The base is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It will be paired with a continuously variable transmission and an all-wheel-drive system will be optional.
The more up-market Outlander GT comes with a 3-liter, six-cylinder engine that makes 224 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and the transmission is a six-speed automatic unit with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
While the Outlander GT's power figures aren't exactly intimidating, especially for a six-cylinder, this new Outlander shaves some 200 pounds off the outgoing model's curb weight.
Mitsubishi didn't release fuel economy ratings for the Outlander, but did say it expected the vehicle to be one of the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger crossover SUVs in the U.S.
The company also unveiled a special edition of its smaller Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi's smaller, five-passenger crossover SUV.
The 2013 Outlander Sport Limited Edition features unique interior and exterior trim and some engine tweaks to provide smoother performance. The vehicle will still have the same 2-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque on the standard Outlander Sport. Fuel economy will still be 31 mpg on the highway.
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