The PHEV Outlander from Mitsubishi has been on the market for a couple of years and it’s just one of many hybrids in the crossover segment, so why should you care about it any more than say, a Tesla Model X, Volvo XC60, or Audi e-tron? Well price for one, but perhaps more impressively, because for the first 22 miles of the Outlander PHEV’s trip, it runs on electric power only. Consider how many places you drive on a daily basis that are more than 22 miles?
The Outlander PHEV managed 35 mpg during a week of driving. It would’ve done even better, but I left the charger at home during a long trip. Usually that means once it’s out of juice, it’s gas only. One difference with the Outlander PHEV is charging on the go using the gas engine. A nice feature that many plug-in hybrids don’t offer, but should.
When I did remember the plug, it takes about eight to 10 hours to fully charge with the regular power outlet. This tester had the DC Fast Charge capability, which promises 25-minute charging.
I’ve to driven other gas engine Outlander models in the past and found them slow and underpowered with the base four-cylinder engine. But the PHEV model combines the gas engine and electric motor to produce about 190 hp, which is a healthy bump.
This Outlander PHEV keeps up with traffic much better than the gas-only model. The Mitsubishi has AWD, so this compact crossover handles most weather conditions without issue.
It might be pretty good off-pavement, as well, since the AWD system seems very sophisticated. The handling isn’t as good as some others in this compact crossover class; this Outlander responds best to easy driving and would rather not be pushed in the corners.
There are two trim levels of the Outlander PHEV. One version starts around $35,000, but I drove the GT trim level for close to $43,000. That is a premium in the compact crossover class.
Mitsubishi has upped its material quality, as well. The materials are nicer than before, with more soft-to-the-touch areas than I ever remember. It’s a step-up but still not as nice of an interior as some of the small crossovers in this class.
Other Outlander models offer seating for seven; the PHEV seats five. The batteries raise the rear floor so the third row doesn’t fit. While the third row was nice for this class, the Outlander PHEV seems almost spacious without that extra row.