Geneva debut for updated plug-in hybrid SUV

Mitsubishi has unveiled the facelifted Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) ahead of its Geneva motor show debut, but there's no guarantee it'll come to Australia.

The biggest changes to the PHEV have been wrought under the skin, where Mitsubishi has swapped the 2.0-litre engine in the current car for a 2.4-litre Atkinson cycle unit for "higher torque, smoother operation and overall higher efficiency".

A new 13.8kWh battery offers 15 per cent more capacity than before, while the 66kW rear electric motor is 10 per cent more powerful than before. There's no mention of changes to the front electric motor, however.

More information about all-electric range will be unveiled in Geneva, but we'd suggest the new car will offer a mild improvement on the current 54km claim.

The all-wheel drive system gains Sport and Snow modes to join the existing Normal and 4WD Lock options. Both are fairly self explanatory: Sport is designed to make the car feel sharper, Snow is aimed at delivering traction on slippery surfaces like, er, snow.

Along with the under-the-skin tweaks, the 2019 PHEV has been treated to an exterior refresh. There are LED headlights, rectangular fog-light bezels, a bigger grille and a new skid-plate up front. There are also new 18-inch alloy wheels filling the arches.

Behind the wheel, Mitsubishi has added quilted leather seats (described as hip-hugging, no less) and new switchgear. Fresh instruments, new air-conditioning controls and revised rear air vents are also part of the 2019 upgrade.

We'd expect to see the same interior and style tweaks to be fitted across the range, but we'll have to wait for full confirmation when the car is launched.

Australia

"The MY19 Outlander is not due until the 2nd half of 2018 in Australia, we are currently finalising local specifications," said Karl Gehling, communications boss for Mitsubishi's local arm.

"The updates mentioned in the Geneva show release are currently unique to the European and Japanese markets – 2.4L is one example. While we will not see all of the changes announced adopted in Australian specification vehicles, we are considering some of them for future updates."

It's worth bearing in mind, Mitsubishi recently shuffled the 'MY18.5' Outlander lineup, adding a base, five-speed manual ES to the range.