2022 Mitsubishi Outlander white parked

The History of the Mitsubishi Outlander

The legacy of Mitsubishi is championed by the Mitsubishi Outlander. While a multitude of other models has come and go, the Outlander is a capable SUV with a strong identity and lots of name recognition. It stands out as the flagship for the brand and has done so for years. The history of the Mitsubishi Outlander is unique, and its future may be just as interesting.

When was the Mitsubishi Outlander First Built?

First Generation

Starting under the name Mitsubishi Airtrek, the Outlander was first put into production in 2001. This crossover promised the ability to take its passengers on big adventures and experience the world with a blend of SUV capability and car-like economy. The Airtrek wouldn’t arrive in North America until a few years later, and with the Outlander name. The first generation would last about 5 years before being redesigned.

Second Generation

The second-generation standardized the Outlander name worldwide. A new engine would carry this version of the Outlander on until early in the next decade.

Third Generation

The third generation of the Mitsubishi Outlander saw the beginning of the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV would break new ground for the hybrid movement and a niche for the Outlander that to this day continues to be an important part of the model’s identity.

Fourth Generation

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander white view of back and side
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander interior white front cabin

After rocky times for a lot of automakers including Mitsubishi, the company decided it was time to redesign the Mitsubishi Outlander, reassessing its priorities and making an Outlander that could survive the rapid technological enhancements of another new decade. The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander will kick off another generation of the Outlander and pave the way forward for the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup with its new design and direction.

What Does the Name “Outlander” Mean?

The Outlander name is meant to communicate the adventurous nature of the vehicle. Associations with “outdoors,” “highlands,” and other terms help convey the idea that the Outlander is meant to bring its passengers to new territories and back home again.