2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
After praising the new generation Mitsubishi Outlander and reporting on its new plug-in hybrid driveline, we finally get the chance to drive it.
While the Mitsubishi Outlander shares some of its DNA with the Nissan Rogue, the PHEV version has its own specific drive system. Yet, it retains practically everything you see in the current model – three rows of seats and its upscale design inside and out.
Does the PHEV make the Outlander an even more attractive proposition?
Unlike the previous generation model, the new Outlander PHEV looks exactly the same as its non-hybrid sibling. You will notice the Dynamic Shield grille dominates the front end, along with the three-lens headlamp units. One distinctive piece found on the Outlander is the “floating roof” profile, which you can get an optional contrasting black color up top on some models.
The Outlander PHEV looks upright, while feeling upmarket. The doors open wide for great access inside. The only way to tell whether it is a PHEV is by its badges on the front doors and liftgate.
Our SEL Touring tester adds plenty of chrome trim, a handsome set of 20-inch alloy wheels, and an LED strip of lighting on the “Dynamic Shield” front trim.
That upmarket feeling continues inside with a lovely set of light gray quilted leather seats and trim. The seats themselves are very comfortable in the first two rows. First row gets memory settings to go along with its power-assisted recline, rake, height, and lumbar adjustments.
The second-row gets manual rake and recline adjustments, as well. We found that taller passengers in the second row would have to tuck their heads into a space behind the panoramic sunroof. The third row is strictly for children, yet it carries the same interior trim as in the front two rows.
Cargo space starts with a 30.4 cubic feet space behind the second row of seats. Fold both second-row seats rows down, and you get 62.8 cubic feet of space.
Where the 2023 Outlander PHEV stands out interior-wise is right in front of the driver. All SEL models get a 12.3-inch fully-digital instrument cluster that is customizable and full of information. This was augmented by a head-up display on our tester. It was a very nice set-up overall.
We also like the other interior elements, such as the thick-rimmed steering wheel with grips from the 10-2 position down past the 9-3 position. The shifter is different using a shift-by-wire mechanism that is actually easy to use. We also like that there are dials for the infotainment system, perched on top of the center stack in a sturdy tablet-like screen holder. All other controls are also easy to use and good to the touch.
Powering the Outlander PHEV is a combination of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors – one for each axle. Both electric motors put out 248 horsepower, while the gasoline engine adds 132 horsepower to the mix. It is connected to two single-speed transmissions connected to each electric motor.
The driveline prioritizes the electric motors, and the Outlander PHEV acts like an EV first before the gasoline engine kicks in. It a seamless operation between the two. In fact, the battery does not drain as fast as in other PHEVs.
Recharging is done either through a J1772 port or a DC Fast Charging CHAdeMO port. Using the later returns quick charging times, but you would need to seek them out to recharge.
Standard on the Outlander PHEV is Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control that is controlled by a knob on the center console. You now have seven preset drive modes, along with a switchable EV button and an Intelligent Pedal control, all designed to customize your driving experience. The also did very well on winter conditions by providing enough traction in Snow mode.
Performance is better than expected. It has solid passing power and can cruise quite nicely. In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 29.1 MPG on gasoline only, while returning well over 60 MPG on combined power.
The ride quality of the 2023 Outlander PHEV is very smooth and absorbent on all surfaces. We found that maneuverability was good, and the Outlander PHEV exhibited minimal lean and roll through the corners.
The steering system offered a solid turning radius, while providing plenty of control at the wheel. On-center feel was fine, and that new steering wheel was truly the difference when it came to control. Braking was very good, with great stops in normal and panic situations.
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is offered in three trim levels, plus packages on SE and SEL trims and a 40th Anniversary edition. The ES model starts at $39,845. Our SEL Touring tester came with a sticker price of $51,525.
The second-generation Outlander PHEV certainly found a lot of competition. Currently, it competes with the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Kia Sportage and Sorento PHEV, Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe PHEV, Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, and Ford Escape PHEV.
It comes as no surprise that the outstanding Mitsubishi Outlander delivers on an encore performance with its new PHEV driveline. We love the fact that it drives like an EV before it kicks into the gasoline engine. If you’re looking for something better than any of the PHEVs in the market – the Outlander PHEV is it!
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors