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." 
As part of the third generation line-up, Mitsubishi launched in January 2013 a plug-in hybrid model called Outlander P-HEV. Cumulative global sales passed the 100,000 unit milestone in March 2016. As of December 2016[update], Europe is the leading market with more than 80,000 units sold, followed by Japan with about 35,000. As of December 2016[update], the top European markets are the UK and the Netherlands, each country with about 26,000 units registered. The Outlander P-HEV was the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in Europe in 2014 and again in 2015, and has ranked as Europe's best-selling plug-in hybrid car for four years running. Both in 2014 and 2015, it also ranked as the world's top selling plug-in hybrid, and as the third best selling plug-in car after the all-electrics Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf. As of December 2016[update], with almost 120,0000 units sold globally, the Outlander P-HEV ranked as the world's all-time second best-selling plug-in hybrid after the Chevrolet Volt, and the world's fourth all-time top selling plug-in electric car.