This is my third crack at a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and I have to say my original opinion stands…. great idea, a touch expensive, short EV (electric vehicle) range and takes too long to recharge it.
The benefit of an EV like this is that you could potentially drive it for free if you have a solar array to tap into and can recharge the car in the daytime. You’d have to work close to home and stay exclusively on EV mode otherwise you’ll start using petrol.
But the PHEV takes about 6.5 hours to fully recharge and for that you get, real world, about 50km of full EV driving then it’s back to the 2.0-litre petrol engine acting as either a generator to replenish the battery pack which in turn powers the front and rear electric drive motors or alternately, driving the car as a parallel hybrid – like a Corolla hybrid with primary power from the petrol engine and the electric motors chiming in as-needed.
Gets a bit complex doesn’t it.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a medium size, five seat SUV, basically the regular Outlander with a sexy, petrol/electric powertrain.
It was recently upgraded in terms of front and rear styling and gained more kit into the bargain.
Three PHEVs are available with the top of the range Exceed driven. It ticks all the feature boxes.
The Outlander PHEV now has the imposing family Mitsu’ face with a so-called diamond blade look presenting heaps of chrome and a flush front with high mounted headlights. They changed both bumpers earlier this year and fiddled with external body hardware including the 18-inch wheels.
It’s a distinctive device with an assertive look from all angles spoiled in my opinion by the old-school, multi spoke alloys.
Funky LED headlights feature on the Exceed version which also gains a large sunroof and bright metal finish roof rails.
Inside is standard upper level Mitsubishi with a stylish dash in soft feel material along with 5 leather seats (improved for comfort). The centre of the dash has the obligatory 7-inch touch screen with app driven functions.
All the usual stuff is contained therein… smartphone streaming, chassis and luxury controls and vehicle set up options. A decent trip computer is also in the cluster with plenty of info available while the wheel offers multiple functions. The load space is large and there is room in front of that for all passengers in a good looking cabin space.
The PHEV Exceed scores plenty of goodies covering luxury and safety. It retails for $54 grand so, measured against potential non-EV competitors at less money, it would want to be generous.
The leather is soft, the audio is sharp and the ambience is pleasant. In Exceed you get:
- Lockable AWD
- Rear climate control outlets
- Leather seats (heated in front)
- Multi info display
- Eco driving score
- Smart Key
- CVT transmission with paddles
- Multiple drive modes
- Electric park brake
- Premium audio
Drive and Engine
This is where it becomes interesting because the PHEV actually goes pretty well. Despite tipping the scales at 1860kg, the little 2.0-litre petrol engine out of Lancer, combined with the twin electric motors shove PHEV along with adequate punch.
It’s not that quick off the line but the CVT transmission harnesses all available power and strong torque for a given application (even towing up to 1500kG) and feeds it to the wheels requiring propulsion.
The whole system operates seamlessly and smoothly and you can barely hear or feel the petrol engine kicking in. If you use the throttle to excess, PHEV does like a drink.
It has a sporty feel as do most of the current range of Mitsubishi SUVs, something I noticed in the past 6 months. Including this vehicle, they deliver sharpish steering response, good braking power and a controlled but supple ride. All Outlanders from the middle of this year have significantly revised suspension with larger components along with a stiffer chassis using more structural bonding (glue).
I played with the drive modes and the paddle shift and found using different set-ups changes the vehicle’s behaviour noticeably.
Outlander scores a five star ANCAP rating but with the most recent upgrade came a full suite of advanced driver assist technology as standard on the Exceed, optional on lesser models.
This includes lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, radar cruise, autonomous emergency braking, auto high beam, forward collision warning, 360 degree camera and other handy stuff.
I found the AEB a touch on the pessimistic side, applying the brakes when I personally wouldn’t have judged their application necessary. Oh well, it’s the rise of the machine….
- Can cost zero to run if you have solar array availability
- Goes smoothly for a complex drive system
- Practical shape and size
- Well equipped with luxury and safety kit
- At times silent running
- Surprisingly agile
- Tows up to 1500kg
Not So Good Bits
- Getting expensive
- Range in EV mode too short
- Takes too long for full recharge
- Weighs a lot
- Some over intrusive safety technology
Hmmm, would I?
It’s too much tech for me and the price is getting up there. Personally, I would buy the diesel and leave it at that. The PHEV’s 2.0-litre uses a fair bit of petrol when it’s operating, kind of defeating the purpose….
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Exceed
- Engine: 2.0L four-cylinder hybrid petrol/electric producing 120kW/332Nm
- Transmission: multi-speed CVT
- Warranty: 5 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $53,990