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The Mitsubishi Outlander is a mid-size crossover manufactured by Japanese automaker Mitsubishi. It was originally known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek when it was introduced in Japan in 2001, and was based on the Mitsubishi ASX concept vehicle exhibited at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. It was sold at Mitsubishi Japan dealership chain called Car Plaza. The ASX (Active Sports Crossover) represented Mitsubishi’s approach to the industry wide SUV trend for retaining the all-season and off-road abilities offered by a high ground clearance and four-wheel drive, while still offering car-like levels of emissions, economy and size.
The original Airtrek name was chosen to “describe the vehicle’s ability to transport its passengers on adventure-packed journeys in a ‘free-as-a-bird’ manner”, and was “coined from Air and Trek to express the idea of footloose, adventure-filled motoring pleasure.” The Outlander nameplate which replaced it evoked a “feeling of journeying to distant, unexplored lands in search of adventure.”
The second generation of the vehicle was introduced in 2006 and all markets including Japan adopted the Outlander name, although production of the older version continued in parallel. It was built on the company’s GS platform, and used various engines developed by Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA’s Citroën C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007, which were manufactured by Mitsubishi in Japan, are badge engineered versions of the second generation Outlander.
On 17 October 2006, Mitsubishi launched the second generation model, dropping the Airtrek in Japan in favour of adopting the global name. It features a new DOHC 2.4 L 16-valve MIVEC engine; INVECS-III continuously variable transmission (CVT), Mitsubishi’s AWC system which features electronically controlled four wheel drive and stability control, on a stretched Mitsubishi GS platform. The North American version, powered by a newly designed6B31 3.0 L V6 SOHC MIVEC was shown in April 2006 at the New York Auto Show prior to its release in October the same year. Due to the availability of a V6 engine, Mitsubishi returned to offering a shorter version of this vehicle, and reintroduced the Mitsubishi RVR 17 February 2010. The usage of a four-cylinder engine under 2.0 liters offers Japanese buyers a vehicle that was in compliance with Japanese regulations concerning exterior dimensions and engine displacement, which has tax advantages, giving buyers the ability to purchase a vehicle capable of seating seven people without paying the tax penalty of a larger engine.