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The world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid crossover is getting a bigger gasoline engine in 2021, according to new VIN documentation.

Mitsubishi recently submitted its 2021 VIN system to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Buried within the otherwise normal code explanations is a reference to a previously unseen hybrid setup.

The current Outlander PHEV uses a 117 hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine up front and a pair of 80 hp electric motors, one at each axle. The new lineup includes a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder, slightly increasing the gas-powered pony count by nine, to 126 hp. That will once again hook up to a pair of electric motors, though the rear motor is up to 93 hp, and they’ll draw from a larger, 13.8 kWh battery (the 2020 model uses a 12.0 kWh unit). That should translate to additional power and the ability to drive further in pure EV mode. Currently, the PHEV has an electron-only range of 22 miles.

What we’re likely looking at are the specs of the next-generation Outlander. The current model is getting on quite a bit: it first launched way back in 2012. Mitsubishi has given it a pair of facelifts, once in 2015 and again in 2018, to keep the big guy looking fresh. Late last year, Mitsubishi Europe CEO Bernard Loire told Automotive News Europe that the next-gen Outlander would be touching down in the second half of 2020. He also said it would ride on an alliance platform, one shared between Mitsubishi and its partners Nissan and Renault.

We reached out to Mitsubishi Motors North America for comment. MMNA’s Jeremy Barnes responded: “Unfortunately, I can’t confirm at this time what you’ve found, as our policy is not to comment on future products.” Expect more on the 2021 Outlander PHEV later this year.

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