Mitsubishi retuned the Mirage’s shocks and stiffened its front end in an attempt to improve its driving dynamics, which had drawn complaints from car reviewers. Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay will be standard on all but the base ES trim level, in an overture to tech-savvy young people buying their first new car.
Aside from the new front-end design, Mitsubishi left the 2016 Outlander Sport largely untouched; it features richer materials for the steering wheel and seats and includes an upgraded infotainment screen and power-folding side mirrors.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to end Outlander Sport production at its assembly plant in Normal, Ill., at the end of November, having failed to find a buyer for the factory. When the updated Outlander Sport goes on sale, Mitsubishi will import the small crossover, its best-selling model in the United States, from Japan.
Mitsubishi also gave the Lancer sedan, now entering its ninth year in production, a mild front-end overhaul for the 2016 model year. It revealed the design in October.
The reworked cars are evidence that Mitsubishi sees North America as a “vital market,” Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said in a statement.
Despite a scant lineup and razor-thin profit margins, Mitsubishi has staged a modest turnaround since the 2013 launch of the budget-priced Mirage, posting 20 consecutive monthly sales gains. It sold 80,683 vehicles in the U.S. through October, up 25 percent.
“We expect this momentum to carry on,” Swearingen said, “as we debut vehicles that are better looking and packed with more value.”