I felt very mixed when I reviewed the Mitsubishi Outlander last year, There was a lot to like about the crossover, but the list of negatives pushed me towards recommending it if you could find one at a good price. How would I feel when I drove the Outlander PHEV? Spoiler: About the same.
(Author's Note: If you're looking for thoughts on the interior, I will direct you to my Mitsubishi Outlander review from last year as the PHEV shares all of the positives and negatives from the standard model.)
- Not much is different from the standard Outlander I drove last year to the PHEV except for the various hybrid badging around the vehicle, and additional fuel filler door on the rear passenger-side fender housing the charging outlets.
- The hybrid system is comprised of 60kW electric motors mounted on each axle providing 80 horsepower. The motors draw their power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery. A 2.0L inline-four acts as the generator for the battery and can power the wheels in certain situations. Total output stands at 190 hp.
- The driver has three different drive modes for which the Outlander can operate. EV which makes the Outlander PHEV only run electric power; Battery Save which turns on the engine to power the wheels to save charge; and Battery Charge where the generator charges up the battery. Most of my week, I found myself using Battery Save and Charge when driving on the freeway. Around town, it was left in EV or automatic mode.
- When the Outlander PHEV is running on electric power only, it provides enough grunt to get out of the way of traffic when leaving a green light. But begin to climb in speed and you realize this isn’t a quick car. Despite the instantaneous torque, the Outlander PHEV does take its time getting up to speed. Some of this can be attributed to the curb weight of 4,222 lbs.
- Not helping is when the engine comes on to charge/power the wheels. When the engine is put under a load, it sounds very harsh and under a lot of stress.
- EPA figures for the Outlander PHEV are 74 MPGe (electric and gas combined) and 25 MPG (gas only combined). My average for the week landed around 35 MPGe, which is well under the EPA figure. But I will cut it a fair amount of slack as it arrived during one of the coldest weeks Michigan experienced.
- For electric-only range, Mitsubishi claims 22 miles. I saw between 16-18 miles which isn’t bad considering the cold temps.
- On recharging, Mitsubishi says that the Outlander PHEV takes about 13 hours when plugged into 120V/8A outlet, or 8 hours for a 120V/12V outlet. In my testing with 120V charging, it took about 8 hours to fully charge a depleted battery.
- The Outlander PHEV feels at home on long stretches of road where it shows off one of its strongest attributes, a smooth ride. On some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Outlander glided over them like it was nothing.
- On a winding road, the Outlander PHEV feels slightly out of its depth partly due to very num steering. What is surprising is that the PHEV doesn’t have as much body roll as the standard model when put into a corner.
- I feel conflicted on the 2020 Outlander PHEV as on the surface, it is a pretty competent crossover with the ability to run on electric power only. But the gas engine needs a bit of NVH work and performance could be slightly better. Also, it has several issues that I talked about in the previous Outlander. The final nail is the price; $43,600 for the top-line GT seen here. Yes, it does qualify for a federal tax credit of almost $6,000 that drops the price to under $38,000. But that still a fair amount of money for what is an old crossover.
- If you can find one at a decent price, around $35,000 or less, then I would say take a closer look at it. Otherwise, wait to see Ford and Toyota’s entrants into the PHEV crossover market.
Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Outlander PHEV, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Model: Outlander PHEV
Engine: 60kW Electric Motors (Front and Rear Axles), 2.0L MIVEC DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Single Speed Reduction Gearbox (Front & Rear), All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 80 @ 0 (Electric), 117 @ 4,500 (Gas), 190 (Total)
Torque @ RPM: 101 @ 0 (Front Electric Motor), 144 @ 0 (Rear Electric Motor), 137 @ 4,500 (Gas)
Fuel Economy: MPGe/Gasoline Combined - 74/25
Curb Weight: 4,222 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
Base Price: $41,495
As Tested Price: $43,600 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
GT Premium Interior Package - $400.00
Pearl White Paint - $395.00
Carpeted Floor Mats and Portfolio - $145.00
Charging Cable Storage Bag - $70.00