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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander confirmed for 2015 NY Auto Show

For the past few years, it seems like Mitsubishi has been playing dead.

The Japanese carmaker has eliminated models from its lineup and neglected others, while keeping launches of new and updated products to a minimum.

Mitsubishi will at least show some signs of life at the 2015 New York Auto Show with the 2016 Outlander, a refreshed version of the current-generation model that debuted in 2013.

The updated Outlander will debut the “new face of Mitsubishi,” the company says. That will almost certainly be the face we saw on the Outlander PHEV Concept-S from the 2014 Paris Motor Show, which is not a bad thing at all.

Mitsubishi also claims the face-lifted crossover will feature over 100 engineering and design improvements, mostly aimed at increased refinement. The mechanical changes probably won’t be too dramatic, though.

The big news will probably come several months after the 2016 Outlander goes on sale, when U.S. buyers will finally get ahold of the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid that’s been on sale in Europe and Japan for some time now.

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Mitsubishi was the first to put a plug-in hybrid SUV on sale, but the electrified Outlander isn’t expected to arrive here until next year. That means there will already be a few plug-ins on sale, albeit from luxury brands like Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Volvo.

There is another reason to pay attention to the Outlander, though.

Mid-cycle refreshes like the one the Outlander will undergo typically aren’t a big deal, but this one might be an exception.

There have been rumblings that Mitsubishi will focus exclusively from now on. Officials have even hinted that the successor to the dearly-departed Lancer Evolution could be a crossover.

If that’s the case, the 2016 Outlander will set the tone for Mitsubishi’s entire lineup going forward.

So when it debuts in New York April 2, this crossover could show whether Mitsubishi will continue playing dead, or finally get up off the ground.