2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: Mitsubishi’s Comeback?

    Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 6 months ago
    As an automaker, Mitsubishi has had both a storied and troubled history. From its many forays into motorsport and numerous collaborations with other automakers, the brand has had a number of highs. But perhaps at its worst, the company ended production in North America completely following poor sales, economic downturns and scandals. But the company has continued to soldier on and this new hybrid offering could signal the start of a comeback for the brand. 

    The Outlander PHEV has actually been on the market since 2013, but now 5 years later, Mitsubishi is launching it in Canada. The company claims the Outlander PHEV is the world’s best selling plug in hybrid SUV, so 5 years later, is it worth the wait? We put it to the test to find out. 
    Under the hood of the Outlander lies a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine – pretty standard fare. What makes the PHEV trim special though, is the inclusion of two 80-horsepower electric motors, essentially giving the vehicle an all-electric AWD system. The AWD system is also Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control system, lifted from the former Lancer Evolution. The AWC system can transfer power from front to back like a typical AWD system, but it also transfers power from side to side. This is especially useful in tight cornering and body roll management.

    Mitsubishi claims a range of 35 kilometres of pure electric driving. While this figure isn’t going to be easy to replicate during your day to day commute, it’s unlikely you’ll be driving in pure EV mode on a daily basis. The range is heavily dependent on your driving style, route, road conditions and use of amenities like heating and air. But luckily the pair of electric motors play very nicely with the Outlander’s engine. If you like a more electric-forward approach, such as when you drive through slower city streets, the gasoline engine can power a generator, providing charge to the batteries. 
    For the most part, we drove the Outlander PHEV as we would our own vehicles. Without outwardly making an effort to maximize fuel economy and drive with a more ‘green’ mindset, we still saw an excellent return on fuel economy with the Outlander PHEV. The vehicle switches between its electric and gasoline motor seamlessly and non-intrusively. And while it’s a far cry from cars like the Lancer and the 3000GT of yonder, the Outlander PHEV is actually surprisingly nimble and even fun to drive – largely due to the Super All-Wheel-Control system and weight distribution of the batteries and electric motors.

    With the aforementioned range of 35km on electricity alone, it’s fair to say that the Outlander PHEV has a small battery capacity. During driving, we found the vehicle makes good, efficient use of its green energy. And while the range isn’t much to write home about, there is an advantage to it. Because of its relative smaller size, it’ll recharge in a considerably shorter time than a hybrid or EV with a large capacity. With a standard 120v outlet, the Outlander PHEV can be replenished in about 8 hours. Charge it overnight when you get home from work and it’ll be good to go for tomorrow. Stage 2 chargers cut that time to about 3.5 hours, while a quick-charge station should do the job in about half an hour.

    The Outlander PHEV starts at just under $43,000 in Canada. While that’s not cheap, you do actually get quite a lot of car for the money. Couple that with any rebates you might get in your province and the price starts to look a lot more feasible. Coming from the factory with Mitsubishi’s 10-year warranty, the Outlander PHEV could be just what the ailing company needs to once again establish a strong foothold in the market.
    2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Outlander, SUV, Hybrid, Green Vehicle

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