2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review By Larry Nutson
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2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Auto industry sales in the U.S. for the first half or 2019 are generally down. And, that trend is forecasted to continue for the remainder of this year and into the next couple succeeding years.
Bucking the trend is Mitsubishi Motors North America. Calendar year-to-date sales through the end of June stood at 71,097 vehicles, an increase of 5.6% compared to the same period in 2018. June 2019 sales of 12,317 vehicles is a 10.5% increase over last June.
Mitsubishi says they are the fastest-growing non-premium Asian brand in the U.S. for the second consecutive year.
I recently had a week’s time to drive the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander. The last Outlander I drove was the 2017 model and it was good for us to become reacquainted.
More specifically this Outlander was the 5-seat PHEV plug-in hybrid electric variant which was introduced in the U.S. last year. For sale first in Japan back in 2013, Mitsubishi says the 2019 Outlander PHEV is the world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid.
I previously mentioned Mitsubishi’s sales claim as a non-premium brand. Surprisingly, my first impression of the Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC test vehicle I would be driving, with its Alloy Silver Metallic exterior finish and 18-inch multi-spoke alloys, was it looked fairly premium. For 2019 the Outlander PHEV received exterior updates, some interior enhancements as well as improvements to the vehicles suspension, NVH and overall ride comfort. It appears they made some good decisions.
The Outlander PHEV is available in SEL trim priced at $35,795 and in GT trim priced at $41,495. Power comes from a 117-HP 2.0-L gasoline engine combined with twin (front and rear) 60kW electric motors for a total of 190-system horsepower. Both trims are equipped with Mitsubishi’s S-AWC all-wheel drive system.
When fully charged the 12 kWh battery provides a driving range of 22 miles. That’s enough range to allow you to drive on pure electric to run typical daily errands and short trips. An EV drive mode switch allows you to choose between pure electric driving, battery charging, or a battery charge save mode.
Battery charge save mode saves the battery power for electric driving in busy and crowded cities. Two different regen-braking positions in the gear selector slow the Outlander PHEV in stop-and-go city driving to a point where you barely need to use the brakes.
During my driving the battery ran down shortly after the Outlander’s arrival. I recharged it for about 2 1/2 hours on a level 2 charger nearby to my home. Level 3 charging can also be used that will give you 80% charge in about 25 minutes.
My overall driving impression of the Outlander PHEV is that it’s an adequate vehicle for urban use with good versatility, convenience and decent cargo capacity. If you’re into spirited driving and bonding with your car this is not the vehicle to do it with. Acceleration is modest and ride and handling will be comfortable and satisfying for the average driver.
The big plus is it’s a PHEV SUV with all-wheel drive.
I liked its exterior looks, somewhat attributable to the silver paint, and there’s a long list of standard features. The GT trim has LED headlights, sunroof, heated steering wheel, 360-view camera, dual AC power outlets (you can power your laptop or your electric drill), power-fold outside mirrors and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, for example.
In the cabin there’s plenty of room, easy entry and exit and good outward visibility. All the standard features add a premium feel however the overall execution and design of the interior left me a bit flat.
Advanced Driver Assist Safety (ADAS) features that are standard on the GT include adaptive cruise control, high beam assist, forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, blind spot warning with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.
Mitsubishi says it’s focusing on greater value, more broadly available safety systems and more attractive and convenient technology across its 2020 Model Year line-up. The 2020 Outlander PHEV is expected to arrive in September priced from $36,095 before applying an eligible federal tax credit of $5,836 and any eligible state rebates or credits.
A new new Premium Interior Package is added to GT trim for $400, offering a more upscale appearance and increased ambiance. Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning and Automatic High Beams become standard on the SEL trim. There are also some seat comfort improvements, along with new audio display, HVAC knobs and a new Mitsubishi Power Sound System (MPSS) replacing the Rockford-Fosgate audio unit on the GT.
We’ll be seeing more and more EVs, HEVs and PHEVs coming to market from many different auto makers. The lack of adequate battery charging infrastructure remains a challenge. For me, I wouldn’t own any electrified vehicle unless I had convenient daily access to a level 2 charger. That is somewhat of a challenge in a high-rise, multi-unit condo or apartment building. For folks with their own garage, the solution is quite easy.
Of note, the Outlander PHEV was awarded Green Car Journal’s 2019 Green SUV of the Year, and in 2018, the Automotive Science Group (ASG) named it a “Best 5 All-Around Performance™ award winner, praising the Outlander PHEV for raising the bar in environmental performance at an affordable cost for consumers.
By the way, the Outlander PHEV is not available in green.
© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
Learn More About Mitsubishi Vehicles
- Mitsubishi Buyers Guide | Reviews, Specs, Prices, Reviews, Video and Comparisons 2019-1997
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- Mitsubishi Brand News and Video Archive (96,217 Annotations)