The 5-seater 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the only compact crossover that comes with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Luxury models – Volvo is one of them – have considered moving into this market, but haven’t done so yet. At the moment, this car has the field to itself.
Awards for the crossover are numerous. In 2018, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV received the prestigious Best 5 All-Around Performance award from the Automotive Science Group (ASG) in their 2018 Automotive performance Index (API) study. The Outlander platform was chosen out of 372 competing models in the SUV segment. It outperformed “the average SUV” by an astounding 22%. ASG's Best 5 All-Around Performance award is presented to the top five automobiles in each vehicle class that the organization determines to achieve the highest combined environmental, economic and social performance scores.
In 2019, it was named the New England Motor Press Association’s Best Green Vehicle Hybrid/PHEV. It also received the 2019 Green Car Journal’s Green SUV of the Year Award.
From October 2016 onwards, Mitsubishi has been 34% owned by Nissan, and is thus a part of the Renault-Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance. Mitsubishi is not a well-known automotive brand in the United States. And yet, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, a global automobile company based in Tokyo, Japan, has created a competitive edge in SUVs and pickup trucks, electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles worldwide. Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Outlander PHEV are especially popular in Europe and Canada. Outlander PHEV is the world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV.
Auto.com reviewer Derek Boshouwers sums it up this way: “Hybrid technology is invading the automotive sector, and no segment seems immune. For now though, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV sits virtually alone in the category of plug-in SUVs. Which makes it less surprising than it might seem for a smaller manufacturer like Mitsubishi to own the best-selling hybrid vehicle in Europe, and a particular favourite of Canadian consumers who want some serious fuel economy to go with the advantages a utility model provides. Clearly, the principal selling point of the Outlander PHEV is that it’s an SUV you can plug in and run on electric power. Its interior layout and size makes it versatile, and you’ll like how much less you pay in gas per month.”
The PHEV system uses two 60kW electric motors at the front and rear axles, for heightened efficiency and instant torque. All-electric driving is powered by the high-capacity 12kWh lithium-ion main drive battery, developed specifically for the PHEV system. When more power is needed, Outlander PHEV switches to hybrid driving, utilizing a clean and efficient 2.0L gasoline engine.
The crossover is available in two trims: SEL ($36,890 MSRP) and GT ($42,590). The Outlander plug-in hybrid has an EPA rating of 74 MPGe and boasts a pure electric battery range of 25 miles. Recharging a depleted battery on a 240-volt supply takes about four hours, while a fast-charging facility can bring it up to 80% in 25 minutes. Outlander PHEV is the only plug-in hybrid CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) that offers Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charging. Both trims are eligible for federal tax credits of up to $5,836.
The Outlander plug-in stands out for its roomy 5-seat interior and its solid handling; a direct result of its standard All-Wheel Drive.
Mitsubishi has updated its exterior and interior for 2019. The independent suspension has been tweaked to provide better handling and improve ride comfort, and cabin noise has been reduced. The front seats have been redesigned to provide more comfort and support. Illuminated controls and automatic up/down window controls are now standard. Rear seat passengers will benefit from new seats that slide and decline and new air conditioning vents. There are now 2 USB ports in the cabin, and when the back seats are folded down, 60+ cubic feet of space becomes available. The exterior has been “freshened” with an updated grille and headlamps, a new 18-inch alloy wheel design, and body enhancements that give the vehicle a simpler, more sculpted look.
Both trims are powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine working in conjunction with two 60 kW electric motors, one working on the front wheels and another on the back wheels.
Standard on the SEL are: 18-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/start, a powered remote lift gate, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer, automatic on/off headlights, LED taillights, a color driver information display, hill start assist, heated side mirrors, full power accessories, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, slide/recline/split/fold (60/40) rear seats, leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear vents, a self-dimming rearview mirror, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, voice control, Bluetooth, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 6-speaker CD audio system, an HD/satellite radio, dual USB ports, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration.
The GT trim adds chrome exterior trim, full LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED fog lights, a heated steering wheel, a multi-view camera system, a powered glass sunroof with sunshade, power-folding mirrors, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, two 115-volt AC outlets, and a 710-watt/9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system.
Infotainment-wise, Outlander PHEV is equipped with a 7.0-inch center smartphone link display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The infotainment system also includes digital HD radio, standard 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel audio, phone and voice controls and a 3-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.
Safety-wise, the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid comes with standard blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. There are seven air bags including a driver’s side knee airbag. Also standard are active stability control, traction control, hill start assist and lane change assist. Available features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation.
Options include blue LED cabin lighting, front/rear parking sensors and a towing package. Outlander PHEV is the only plug-in hybrid rated for towing. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is covered by an impressive, fully-transferable 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, as well as a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that includes battery coverage.
REVISED JULY 2019
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