When the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was first introduced, it quickly became a hit for the Japanese brand. At the time, it was the only plug-in hybrid crossover SUV without going into luxury car territory. Now, Mitsubishi is following up with their success with the 2nd generation Outlander PHEV. However, this new crossover has more direct competitors such as the Kia Sorento PHEV and Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV.
Engine – The 2.4L naturally aspirated engine in the Outlander PHEV produces 131 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque (98 kW & 195 Nm) on its own. But it has help from two electric motors; one helping the engine in the front and one powering the rear wheels. The front motor produces 114 hp & 188 lb-ft of torque (85 kW & 255 Nm) while the rear motor produces 134 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque (100 kW & 195 Nm). The total output of the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is 248 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque (185 kW & 450 Nm).
That’s a lot of numbers but all you need to know is that the Outlander PHEV can accelerate from a stop to 100 km/h in just under 7 seconds in the “Max Power” mode. This is pretty good for something that tips the scales at 2,155 kg (4,750 lbs). In this power mode, throttle response is quick and you get a nice feeling of strong acceleration. In the normal mode, throttle response and power delivery is a bit calmer for smoothness. With the engine off, the Outlander’s electric motors have more than enough power to get the SUV moving from a stop to highway speeds at the same rate of acceleration as the cars around it. In normal driving conditions, the Outlander PHEV can tow up to 1,500 lbs.
As in other plug-in hybrid vehicles, the Outlander PHEV has different drive modes. By default, the car will start in Hybrid mode. This mode uses the battery power in conjunction with the gasoline motor more frequently, particularly when accelerating quickly. The aforementioned Max Power mode provides a more sporty feel and drive. EV mode allows the SUV to drive just using electricity. There’s also battery hold mode which will keep the battery’s charge at whatever state it is at. In this mode, the car drives primarily on the engine but at parking lot speeds, it will use the battery. And finally there’s battery charge which will charge the battery as you drive along. However, this mode will have a big impact on the car’s fuel economy.
Fuel Economy – If you drive the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with a depleted battery and use the engine only, then it should return 9.2 L/100km (25.5 MPG) in a city and 8.7 L/100km (27 MPG) on a highway. But if you can continuously plug in the SUV, then you can average fuel economy numbers as low as 0.8 L/100km (294 MPG) which is what I was able to average over almost 150 km (93 miles) of driving the Outlander during my week with the SUV.
Battery & Charging – The Outlander PHEV has a large 20 kWh battery pack mounted in the floor. Mitsubishi claims an electric only driving range of 61 km (38 miles). But this range can vary depending on your driving style, ambient temperature, terrain, and climate control use. I noticed when the climate control was working really hard to heat up the cabin, it would impact about 5 km (3 miles) of the overall driving range. However, with regenerative braking and smooth driving, the trip computer calculated that the car could go for almost 75 km (46 miles) just on electricity.
Charging the 2023 Outlander PHEV is a unique process because not only can it be done from a wall outlet or a level 2 charger like many other PHEVs, but it can also be recharged from a level 3 DC fast charger. From a standard household power outlet, it will take anywhere from 12 to 16 hours to recharge from 0% to 100%. From a level 2 charger, it can take up to 6 hours to recharge, depending on the power supplied by the charger. From a level 3 DC fast charger, it will take approximately 40 minutes to reach 80% from 0%. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV still uses a less common CHAdeMO plug for DC charging.
In the United States, this DC fast charging capability is only available on the higher trim levels which include the SEL and 40th Anniversary Edition. In Canada, DC fast charging is available on all trim levels.
Braking – The brake pedal feel is on the light side in the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander however it firms up the harder you push on it. It is easy to modulate for smooth stops and automatic emergency braking is a standard feature on the Outlander.
It uses regenerative braking to recoup some electricity for the battery and the transition between regen baking and the physical brakes is smooth. You can also adjust how much regen braking you get by using the steering wheel mounted paddles. The Outlander PHEV also has a semi-one-pedal-drive mode. This mode slows down the car gradually and quickly when lifting your foot off the throttle pedal. But for the last 10 km/h (6 mph), the brake pedal is still required. So it’s not a true one-pedal-drive mode that you’d find on an EV.
Handling – This new Mitsubishi Outlander is a bit more enjoyable to drive than the outgoing model. Steering weight is a bit heavier but not so much that it makes parking the SUV feel like an exercise at the gym. The SUV feels more planted around corners but it’s far from being a sporty SUV like the Mazda CX-5. The seating position is high up so you get good visibility but the car feels a lot wider than it actually is from behind the steering wheel. On paper, it is physically larger by a few centimeters over its Rogue cousin but it’s about the same size as the Kia Sorento and that SUV didn’t feel quite as big from behind the steering wheel.
Ride Comfort – The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a compliant ride over most bumps and poorly maintained roads. It’s not the most plush ride but it’s not the most firm ride either. However, it’s the seats that provide the most comfort with plenty of support for your back in addition to soft and well padded cushions. This GT-Premium trim also comes equipped with a massage function for the front seats. It’s not the best but it does help alleviate some sore back pain on long journeys or stressful commutes.
Interior Space – The Outlander has more space for both front and 2nd row occupants than its Nissan Rogue cousin. In fact, it has a similar amount of space as slightly larger SUVs such as the Chevrolet Blazer or Nissan Murano. Additionally the Mitsubishi Outlander also has a 3rd row. But that 3rd row should only be used if you find yourself in a pinch. If you plan on using the 3rd row more often, you should consider a larger 3-row SUV such as the Honda Pilot or move to a minivan like the Toyota Sienna. Tiny does not begin to accurately describe just how little space there is in the 3rd row of the Mitsubishi Outlander.
Behind the 3rd row seats, the 2023 Outlander has 332 L (11.7 cu-ft) of cargo space. Folding down the 3rd row allows for up to 872 L (30.8 cu-ft) of space. That is a bit less than the non-hybrid version but not by much. With all rows of seats folded, the Outlander PHEV has 1,832 L (64.7 cu-ft) of space. Again, less than the non-hybrid variant.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The Outlander is relatively quiet on highways when it comes to wind and road noise. Not much intrudes into the cabin. But the engine gets very noisy when accelerating – especially above 2,000 rpms – and it is not a pleasant sound.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV starts at $46,538 CAD ($39,845 USD) for the ES trim. This GT Premium trim will cost you $57,048 CAD ($49,995 USD, 40th Anni.). Here in Vancouver, the Outlander PHEV is eligible for up to $7,000 CAD in rebates. These will differ in your region.
Gadgets – Just like many other crossover SUVs on the market, the 2023 Outlander PHEV has a long list of convenience features depending on which trim you choose. As standard, there’s dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, cloth upholstery, 12.3” driver display, 8” infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity (wired), keyless entry, and push button start to name a few.
Move up to this top spec GT Premium and it adds the aforementioned massage function to the front seats, heated seats in the back and a heated steering wheel, quilted leather upholstery, 8-way power driver’s seat and 4-way power passenger seat, surround view cameras, 10.8” head-up display, a larger 9” touchscreen with built-in navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay (but still wired Android Auto), and a Bose 9-speaker audio system.
Interior Design – At first glance, the cabin of the Outlander is nearly identical to that of the Nissan Rogue. But there are a few differences. It’s like that old saying in school, “Yes, you can copy my work but make sure that it’s different enough so that the teacher doesn’t notice”. The Mitsubishi Outlander, has the same general dashboard layout, same 9-inch touchscreen, same buttons on the steering wheel, and a similar shifter. But the gear selector feels more robust in the Outlander as does the drive mode selector. Other slight changes include the fabulous orange and black leather on the seats, center console, and door panels.
Exterior Design – The exterior of the Mitsubishi Outlander is not so much of a copy & paste job but rather an original idea. It looks better than the Rogue in my opinion. Also it’s a design that stands out a bit more than other SUVs. There is a large badge on each front door that at first glance looks like it says “EV” but there’s “Plug-in Hybrid” in much smaller lettering above it.
Safety – There are not too many optional safety & driver aids on this Premium trim that the base trim doesn’t already have. There’s standard automatic emergency braking and collision mitigation, lane departure warning, blind spot sensors, rear parking sensors with rear cross traffic alert and rear emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane change alert, hill start assist, hill descent control, and a bunch of airbags throughout the cabin. Moving up the trim levels adds features such as lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop/go function, front parking sensors, and traffic sign recognition.
Warranty – Like all other Mitsubishi vehicles, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is covered by a 5 year / 100,000 km new vehicle warranty and a 10 year / 160,000 km powertrain, high-voltage battery, and PHEV components warranty. In the United States, it’s 10 years / 100,000 miles for the powertrain & PHEV components. The new vehicle limited warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – As I stated in my non-hybrid review of the Mitsubishi Outlander, this car benefits greatly from the Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi Alliance. It feels more refined, in particular on the inside, than the previous generation and the hybrid powertrain is just as smooth and efficient as other brands. But if you plan on using this as a 3-row SUV, you need to look elsewhere. The Honda PIlot or Hyundai Palisade are great contenders. But as a 2-row PHEV, this 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV punches its way right up with the Kia Sorento PHEV and even the Toyota Rav4 Prime.
Thank you to Mitsubishi Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mitsubishi-Motors.ca