EV Review: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Mitsubishi’s lineup has been stale for the past few years, dropping popular nameplates like the Eclipse sports car and the Lancer Evolution. The introduction of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is their attempt to liven things up again and become a relevant brand for the future. While no one expects the Outlander PHEV to be the best-selling model in the showroom, it does show that the Japanese automaker can re-invent themselves to become sustainable as the industry changes.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a long time coming. First introduced in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show, it became the first plug-in hybrid crossover in foreign markets in January 2013. Nearly five years later, it has arrived in North America. The question is whether the plug-in hybrid technology is up to current standards, which change quite quickly. And if it is up to the task, are the 2018 Outlander PHEV’s equipment and features attractive, or are they mundane and dated like the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup?
It isn’t Mitsubishi’s first crack at an electrified vehicle. Thankfully, they chose to use a popular design, unlike the i-MiEV. The Outlander body is almost unchanged for the Outlander PHEV model except for a few small things. It has classy chrome trim that looks thoughtfully placed, a gloss black lower grille, and a deliberate, intentional SUV shape that allows for great cargo and passenger volume inside.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has subtle differences like special 18-inch two-tone aluminum-alloy wheels, PHEV badging on the side and rear, and a second fuel door for its charging ports. It’s appreciated that Mitsubishi decided against using blue exterior accents to signify its hybrid status, aside from on the badging.
Fit and finish interior
The Outlander PHEV reuses the standard Outlander interior. It’s a shame because the Outlander is a few years behind the times compared with the rest of the automotive world. Its dash, door panels, and console area are bland, although everything is functional and well-placed. The Rockford Fosgate audio system goes through an app-style 7-inch touchscreen display that is far short of the standard in today’s market.
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Seating is comfortable with heated leather seat surfaces as standard equipment. As you’d expect, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity are standard also. There’s nothing wrong with the Outlander PHEV’s equipment or design per se, but they are current as of about three model years ago.
As for comfort, Mitsubishi did a great job with the Outlander. You can take long road trips without getting overly fidgety as the seats feel as natural as you can get. Materials are soft-touch inside the vehicle and it’s evident that the Outlander series is much quieter than previous generations, even when the gas engine is running.
Driver-assistive safety features are available in the Outlander PHEV, but aside from standard Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, you’ll have to upgrade from the SEL to the GT trim level. The $6,000 bump in price nets you Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam headlights, Forward Collision Mitigation, and Lane Departure Warning.
The Outlander PHEV’s performance is its highlight. While not supremely powerful by any means, it is more than capable of holding its own in a daily driver capacity. The dual electric motors and 2.0-liter gas engine combine for a good driving experience. Electric motor torque gives the Outlander PHEV instant acceleration, a feature that’s missing on the standard 4-cylinder gas-powered Outlander.
It’s a pleasant surprise that the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is so intentionally economical. It has three driving modes to accommodate different driving styles. EV Mode is meant for short hauls of up to 22 miles on electric power alone. Series Hybrid Mode uses primarily electric power with an added boost from the gas engine operating as a generator. In Parallel Hybrid Mode, the gas engine is the main power producer with S-AWC assist from the dual electric motors. In gas-only mode, the Outlander PHEV gets 25mpg. That pales in comparison to its combined gas/electric economy of 74MPGe.
Something Mitsubishi has perfected is the AWD system. Super All-Wheel-Control (S-AWC) is the same style of system previously used in their Evolution rally cars. Combined with Active Yaw Control, ABS brakes, and the like, it’s perhaps a contender for the best AWD system in use today. It makes the Outlander PHEV’s driving experience feel completely controlled and confident.
|Electric Range||22 miles / 36 km|
|Total Range||310 miles / 500 km|
|Time to Charge||3.5 hours (Level 2)|
|Electric Motor||60 kW front plus 60 kW rear|
|Battery Capacity||12 kWh|
|Top Speed||105 mph / 170 km/h|
|Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles or 100,000 km – New Vehicle Warranty
10years/100,00 miles or 160,000 km – Powertrain Warranty
There are great features in the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV like its three-mode hybrid capabilities, DC fast-charging feature, and exceptional fuel economy for a crossover SUV. It scratches an itch in the marketplace where hybrids aren’t common in a larger body style yet. But because it’s not a luxury vehicle and is most certainly at the top of the Mitsubishi price sheet, it’s could be a hard sell. It would function very well for a family vehicle in the city, or a short- to – medium distance commuter.
- 2018 Kia Niro PHEV
- 2018 Volvo XC60 PHEV
- 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
- 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid