PHEV SUV pioneer Mitsubishi is introducing a smaller plug-in SUV to complement its electrified Outlander.
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Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid range is about to expand.

The Japanese automaker was the first to introduce a plug-in hybrid SUV, the Outlander PHEV.

Soon, the Outlander will be joined by a new, smaller PHEV SUV.

Mitsubishi Europe CEO Bernard Loire told Automotive News Europe the new SUV will arrive in the second half of 2020 alongside a redesigned Outlander.

The new Outlander (above), set to use a platform shared with alliance partners Renault and Nissan, will again feature a PHEV variant.

Mitsubishi is abandoning diesel powertrains on the continent. Loire confirmed that, like the diesel version of the ASX, the Eclipse Cross diesel will be axed in 2020 due to low sales.

The oil-burner accounted for only five per cent of Eclipse Cross volume in Europe. It was never offered here, while the diesel ASX was withdrawn from the Australian market in 2018.

Despite being at the end of its life cycle, Outlander PHEV sales are increasing in Europe, the figures for 2019 more than double those of 2018.

Rivals are only just now catching up to Mitsubishi in introducing PHEV SUVs.

Toyota, for example, recently revealed its RAV4 Prime PHEV that’ll go on sale in the US in mid-2020. Unfortunately, it won’t be coming here.

The new PHEV Ford Escape, however, will make the trip.

While the upcoming Outlander will adopt styling cues of the Engleberg Tourer concept, we don’t yet know what this new, smaller SUV will look like.

It’s possible it could take some cues from the adventurous Mi-Tech concept (below).

The Mi-Tech concept was a PHEV, however it resembled a beach buggy and used a gas turbine mated to an electric motor. Neither aspect is likely for production.

Loire confirmed Mitsubishi is investing in hybrids, PHEVs and EVs. That includes a replacement for the i-MiEV electric micro car that’s been withdrawn from many markets.

In Australia, Mitsubishi is down to just one passenger car: the Mirage. In his interview, Loire said that, despite its age, the Mirage is selling well and Mitsubishi will continue making it.

He added, “We will even have a product update in the near future.” It’s unclear if he was referring to the already revealed 2020 refresh.