The Mitsubishi Outlander was one of many first small, reasonably priced plug-in hybrid SUVs, but it misplaced floor lately with the introduction of sturdy choices from Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Kia. The principle cause was that the common Outlander wasn’t particularly aggressive, so as soon as the PHEV lastly had firm, there was nowhere to go however down. Effectively, there’s an all-new and dramatically improved Outlander now, and eventually, its plug-in hybrid model is right here to make up that misplaced floor.
Just like the gas-only model, the brand new 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV impresses with a classy, spacious and suitably fashionable inside, and customarily snug and quiet demeanor. The plug-in hybrid goes important additional, although, with extra energy and refinement, plus a robust electrical vary. There are a pair weak factors that preserve it from being best-in-class (just like the gas-only model), however relying in your wants, the Outlander PHEV may nonetheless be the inexperienced compact SUV for you.
The Outlander PHEV has a powertrain that is extraordinarily just like its predecessor. A naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder now makes 134 horsepower quite than the earlier mannequin’s 148 horsepower. Whereas it could possibly present direct energy to the wheels, it’s most frequently employed as a motor generator for the entrance and rear electrical motors (a lot as a Honda hybrid operates). Each of these motors are additionally stronger than earlier than. The entrance motor picked up 20 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque to make 114 ponies and 188 lb-ft. The rear makes 40 extra horsepower for 134, although torque stays the identical at 144 pound-feet. The result’s a grand whole of 248 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. That is greater than the Ford Escape PHEV, and extra torque than the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage plug-ins. The Toyota RAV4 Prime’s 302 horsepower bests all of them.
Along with extra energy, the Outlander PHEV can now go 38 miles on a cost –14 greater than earlier than due to a pack that has grown from 13.8 kilowatt-hours to twenty kWh. As soon as once more, that’s extra vary than Ford, Hyundai and Kia, although lower than the Toyota. Mitsubishi additionally presents an uncommon characteristic not out there on these rivals: DC quick charging. We’re undecided how needed a DC quick charger is on a car that may run on fuel in a pinch, however in case you’d like a topped-up battery and don’t wish to wait in a single day to get it from the plug in your storage, why not? The one catch is that it makes use of the older CHAdeMO connector that’s grow to be the HD DVD (bear in mind these?) participant of EV charger choices. DC quick charging can also be solely out there on the SEL trim and above, which additionally goes for the helpful 1,500-watt auxiliary energy port that allows you to use the battery to energy family home equipment.
Regardless of all these enhancements, the Outlander PHEV has nonetheless gotten worse in a single key spec: general effectivity. Mixed gas economic system is 64 miles per gallon-equivalent or 10 mpg-e worse than the outdated mannequin. That is additionally a significant deficit in opposition to these rivals: Toyota (94), Kia (84) and Hyundai (80). The Ford achieves 105 mpg-e however is barely out there with front-wheel-drive. The Outlander’s drawback is probably going as a result of fuel engine merely not being very environment friendly. Numbers for the fuel engine alone on the brand new one aren’t out there, however the outdated one solely acquired 26 mpg, so the brand new one is probably going worse. Additionally, in case you’re searching for most effectivity, you may want to judge your driving wants. If most of your driving might be served by the 38-mile vary, the Outlander can be nice. For those who’re incessantly logging extra miles than that or can’t cost as incessantly, you may wish to have a look at the competitors.
That is sufficient of the powertrain specs, what’s the Outlander like in observe? Usually fairly good, with only a few gripes. With energy coming primarily from the 2 electrical motors, it’s totally easy in supply, and has nice pickup at low speeds. On the flip facet, it does begin operating out of motivation when closing in on freeway speeds, notably in full electrical mode. When operating in hybrid modes, the fuel engine kicks in to assist complement the motors at these greater speeds. Along with being very easy, the electrical motors have a pleasant energy break up that feels pretty even entrance and rear, with maybe a bit bias towards the rear. It feels a bit Subaru-like powering via corners with out as a lot understeer as you’d anticipate out of your common compact crossover with a front-drive-based all-wheel-drive system.
The fuel engine was fairly loud after beginning the Outlander within the chilly, with a high-pitched whine that modified quantity based mostly on engine rpm. It quieted down considerably because the automobile warmed up, changing into largely unnoticeable, and certainly, the engine normally turned notably quiet thereafter (or at the very least well-insulated from the cabin). Given the commonly low ranges of different noise, the cabin was largely serene as soon as beneath means.
The Outlander presents a whopping seven drive modes, which have an effect on energy supply and steering effort. You may as well select to run in EV, hybrid, battery save and battery replenish modes. We hardly ever complain about selection, however there are lots of caveats with these modes. If you wish to drive in EV mode, you’ll be able to’t use the Energy or Tarmac modes – they’re going to kick the Outlander again into hybrid mode. Additionally, to get most regen in EV mode, you have to use the One-Pedal mode (activated by a button subsequent to the ability mode button) versus calling it up utilizing the paddles as you’ll be able to in varied different PHEVs and EVs, comparable to these of Kia. As an alternative, the paddles work extra like selecting decrease gears for happening hills, and it engages the fuel engine. Annoyingly, the One-Pedal mode additionally reduces the regen dramatically approaching a cease. The aim is to permit for creeping, however it makes for some awkward stops as you are taking over from the automobile. Lastly, as a result of the Energy and Tarmac modes cannot be utilized in full EV, you’ll be able to’t have the heavier steering really feel in that mode, since there isn’t any customized or particular person mode that allows you to combine and match preferences. Mainly, there’s a variety of selection, however they might be higher decisions.
This does deliver us to the Outlander’s journey and dealing with, which can be this SUV’s spotlight. It is extremely supple and easy. I may carry stunning velocity over probably the most rutted, cratered roads I may discover, and achieve this comfortably, even on 20-inch wheels. And its aplomb over terrible asphalt would not end in sloppy dealing with. The sunshine, numb steering and average physique roll would not construct confidence immediately, however when you be taught to belief the Outlander, you’ll be able to benefit from the fast and correct turn-in, impartial steadiness and spectacular stability. It truly might be fairly enjoyable.
After which, there’s the Outlander’s different massive benefit: its inside. Granted, our tester was a loaded SEL Premium, however there are lots of constants throughout the line-up that make it an excellent place to drive. The devices and infotainment are shared from latest Nissans (the Outlander is mechanically associated to the Nissan Rogue), and so they’re shiny, crisp and run shortly. Massive icons and easy menus make it notably straightforward to make use of the display. It is also backed up by a slew of handy bodily buttons for local weather management, quantity, tuning and shortcuts. The knobs specifically have pretty knurled textures and strong motion. The good-looking sprint appears to be like premium notably on our check mannequin that had contrasting orange leather-based, diamond stitching and even some actual aluminum trim.
The seating place is nice, too. It is doable to sit down surprisingly low, making the Outlander virtually car-like if you need, whereas nonetheless reserving the choice for a excessive, commanding perch. Thickly padded seats with ample lumbar and bolstering make for snug, fatigue-free driving, at the very least up entrance. The second row is equally spacious to the entrance, although with flatter cushions. The third row is, properly, extant. It is actually not appropriate for adults in virtually any situation, although children may in all probability be fairly snug supplied the second-row occupants sacrifice their very own legroom. It’s at the very least straightforward to arrange and take down the third row, however it might be good if there was a third-row delete possibility. Many purchasers would in all probability choose having a bit extra cargo house, or heck even a spare tire. The truth is, that will be good on the common one, too, because the third-row is necessary there, too, and no spare is on the market. That is to not say the Outlander is small on the within. It has the identical cargo house because the non-hybrid, so meaning 11.7 cubic toes behind the third row, 33.5 behind the second, and 79.7 behind the entrance row (78.3 on sunroof-equipped fashions). That most cargo house is bigger than every other small plug-in hybrid SUV.
Worth-wise, the Outlander PHEV is on the upper finish of the spectrum beginning at $41,190 – about $1,000 greater than the Kia and Ford, and about $2,000 lower than the RAV4 Prime. You additionally received’t have entry to federal tax credit because it’s in-built Japan, in contrast to the American-made Ford (the Toyota RAV4 Prime could or will not be eligible in 2023).
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is not an outright champion of the compact plug-in hybrid phase. Its disappointing general effectivity and a few minor driving quirks maintain it again. However there are nonetheless many causes it might be an excellent match for a purchaser. For those who’re searching for a great deal of house, consolation and electrical vary, with out sacrificing dealing with or paying an excessive amount of, the Outlander PHEV is properly value a better look. Maybe extra realistically, although, in case you’ve struck out in your seek for a kind of hard-to-come-by PHEV rivals, don’t be afraid to provide the Mitsubishi a glance within the first place. You ought to be pleasantly shocked.