Many customers might have overlooked Mitsubishi lately because of its shortage of new models, but the arrival of the latest Outlander demonstrates that Mitsubishi is still present and prepared to compete with its rivals. Our test of the new Outlander left us mostly impressed with the enhancements, which can also be partly credited to Mitsubishi’s collaboration with Nissan. The Outlander and Nissan Rogue are closely linked. However, Mitsubishi is elevating its version of the compact crossover to new levels with the debut of a new plug-in hybrid edition. The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is an exceptional plug-in hybrid crossover that is ideal for families looking for some EV driving capability without breaking the bank.
The previous generation Outlander PHEV was one of the initial non-luxury plug-in hybrid crossovers. Now there’s a lot more competition, such as the Ford Escape PHEV and Toyota RAV4 Prime. Where the Outlander PHEV shines is that it has three rows of seats. All of its closest rivals only offer two rows of seats, making the Outlander PHEV more appealing for families that require three rows. Although space in the third row is not abundant.
In addition to introducing a third row, Mitsubishi also implemented some powertrain updates. Its lithium-ion battery pack is now 20 kWh compared to 13.8 in the previous version. The front electric motor produces 114 horsepower, while the rear generates 134 hp. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder also receives a bit more power with 131 hp compared to 126 hp. In total, the plug-in hybrid powertrain generates 249 hp and 332 pound-feet of torque. That’s slightly less power than the RAV4 Prime with its 302 hp on tap. The Outlander PHEV offers a 38 mile EV range compared to the RAV4 Prime’s 42 mile range. Thanks to its gas engine, the Outlander PHEV has a total driving range of 420 miles.
On the road, the Outlander PHEV performs admirably. The powertrain delivers more than enough power to propel the family down the road. As anticipated based on the specifications, the RAV4 is quicker off the line, but the Outlander PHEV is no slouch. The electric motors are continuously powered up, providing it with full-time all-wheel drive. In urban settings, the powertrain is exceptional with its smooth acceleration, although at higher speeds, it lacks power.
There are also different EV modes. The normal mode focuses on achieving the perfect balance between the electric motors and gas engine. EV priority mode uses the electric motors as much as possible, although the gas engine will engage when extra power is required. There’s also the useful Save mode, which enables maintenance of the battery’s state of charge. This mode is ideal for highway driving where electric motors are less efficient, then when you exit the highway, you can utilize the saved battery to power the electric motors. Lastly, there’s the Charge mode, which employs the engine to charge the battery, although it’s best to simply plug it in.
Using a DC fast charger, the Outlander PHEV’s battery can be charged from 0-80 percent in only 38 minutes, while it will take 6.5 hours to fully charge it using a 240-volt charger. It’s worth noting that the RAV4 Prime and Escape PHEV don’t support DC fast charging, like the Outlander. With 38 miles of EV range and the ability to fully charge it in the evening, you’ll barely need to use the gas engine during your daily commute. There are different regenerative braking modes that can slow the Outlander PHEV when you remove your foot from the pedal, but the system will not bring you to a complete stop, so there’s no one-pedal mode here. It can also tow up to 1,500 pounds.
There are also seven different drive modes that can be selected via the rotary dial on the center console.
Moving beyond the electrified powertrain, the Outlander PHEV is nearly indistinguishable from the gas version. Externally, the only way to truly recognize it as the PHEV are the Plug-in Hybrid EV emblems. This is true for the interior as well, which is a positive with its 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 9-inch touchscreen. The Outlander PHEV’s cabin exudes a more premium feel than the prior version and it’s comfortable and quiet. The massaging front seats are also a plus.
On the safety front, the Outlander PHEV comes standard with lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
The pricing for the 2023 Outlander PHEV starts at $41,190, including destination.
In the end, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the ideal plug-in hybrid for families who aren’t quite prepared to transition to a full EV. Offering space for seven passengers, it makes more sense for slightly larger families, although that third row is best suited for children. With its refined powertrain, comfortable interior, and respectable EV range, the Outlander PHEV is the superior choice compared to the gasoline-powered version.
Image Source: Ned Snowman / Shutterstock