The Updated Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Is Expensive but Well-Executed
- Trim Tested: Outlander PHEV SEL S-AWC
- Price as Tested: $50,880 (including destination charge)
- What We Like: Enough range for electric commuting, with gas for long trips; nice interior
- What We Don’t: Expensive
Behold, the Outlander PHEV, the plug-in hybrid version of Mitsubishi’s popular small SUV. The Outlander is one of the only compact SUVs available with 3 rows of seating. It also comes with Mitsubishi’s excellent 10-year powertrain warranty.
Getting the hybrid version of the Outlander adds $12,000 to the base price. Ours was over $50,000 with options and the destination charge. That makes the Outlander PHEV by far the most expensive vehicle Mitsubishi sells. Is the Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid worth the money? We drove it for a week to find out.
How It Drives
The Outlander PHEV is powered by two electric motors: one for the front wheels and one for the back. That gives it all-wheel drive (AWD), or as Mitsubishi calls it, Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC). A third electric motor acts as a generator. A 2.4-liter gasoline engine provides power when the Outlander PHEV’s 38-mile battery range is depleted.
Acceleration isn’t brisk, but the electric motors add a lot of low-end torque from a stop, giving it a peppy enough feel. There is no conventional transmission in the Outlander hybrid, which livens up the throttle response. Selecting Sport Mode helps further.
The battery can plug into a Level 2 outlet or a DC Fast Charger. The Fast Charger connection is the less-common CHAdeMO type, used mainly by Nissan and Mitsubishi products. CHAdeMO is harder to find at public charging stations.
The Outlander has a growing number of competitors in the small plug-in hybrid SUV space: The Kia Niro, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota RAV4, Mini Countryman, Kia Sorento, and Jeep Grand Cherokee are all available as plug-in hybrids, not to mention several luxury SUVs. The Outlander is one of the cheaper options among those vehicles and one of the few with a third row of seats. It is about midpack when it comes to power.
Interior Comfort & Quality
The interior of the Outlander is similar to that of the Nissan Rogue, which makes sense because they’re on the same platform. The materials and build quality are upscale – a step up from Mitsubishis of the past.
The Outlander is one of the few small SUVs with a third row. However, “small” is the operative word here. That third row is tiny, suitable only for kids. The second row is more accommodating, with heating and separate temperature controls for the ventilation system. The front seats are quite nice for the class; heating and massaging are built in, on top of the expected power adjustability.
Despite having more seats than most compact SUVs, the Outlander doesn’t have an appreciable edge when it comes to cargo space. The 64.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo room is behind the Honda CR-V Hybrid and Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV. It’s about on par with the Toyota RAV4 Prime.
Technology & Usability
Like most vehicles in this price range, the Outlander PHEV is loaded with screens. A 9-inch touchscreen, mounted high on the dashboard, is the centerpiece of the infotainment system. It has wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, and straightforward graphics, making settings easy to change. Volume, radio tuning, and temperature all get their knobs, so you don’t need to rely on the screen for simple adjustments. Augmenting the central screen is a 12.3-inch digital gauge and a 10.8-inch heads-up display on the windshield.
There is a prominent drive mode selector for the outdoorsy types with gravel, snow, and off-road modes. That’s on top of the multiple hybrid modes: traditional hybrid, electric, battery charging, and battery saving. Once you’re at the campsite, a 1,500-watt household-style outlet provides enough juice to power a blender and a big-screen TV at the same time, should you get tired of listening to the birds chirp or not having a margarita in your hand.
Safety technologies include the standard assortment of collision avoidance features, plus Mi-Pilot Assist. Based on Nissan’s Pro Pilot Assist, Mi-Pilot Assist can accelerate and brake the SUV automatically in stop-and-go traffic and steer for short distances.
Read our full 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander review for more specs and information about the entire Outlander lineup.
Carfax vehicle reviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.
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