2019 Outlander PHEV New Car Test Drive
It's been a while since Mitsubishi had big news, so they are making the most out of the 2018 news, that there is a new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (perfectly designated the PHEV). It's the only plug-in-hybrid SUV in its class with all-wheel drive, and the only one with fast charging. And it can travel as much as 22 miles on electric power. So it brings together the environmental efficiency of an electric vehicle, the functionality of a crossover, and versatility of an all-weather vehicle with Mitsubishi's S-AWC, or Super All-Wheel-Control.
The standard DC Fast Charging capability can charge up to 80 percent capacity in 25 minutes, using a commercial station. At home with your 120-volt outlet it will fully charge in eight hours; or half that time with a 240-volt outlet.
The new PHEV advances the technology of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV small electric car. It uses two high-output 60 kW electric motors mounted at the front and rear axles, to instantly send torque to all four wheels via S-AWC. Its permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that drives the front axle is smaller, lighter and more powerful than that in the i-MiEV.
The PHEV system in the Outlander was tested and developed at races like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2014 (prototypes placed first and second), and at the Baja Portalegre 500 off-road rally in 2015. The gasoline engine that supports the motors (or do they support the engine?) is an efficient 2.0-liter.
The Outlander is known for bringing efficiency, comfort, and space, if not style and performance, for a lower price than the competition. It's close in size to the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester, but it feels roomier inside. It seats seven, with a small third row.
This generation began in 2014, updated in 2016 with sleeker styling, better interior materials, more sound deadening, suspension changes to improve ride and handling, and a better-but-still-not-good-enough transmission. It got Apple Car Play and safety upgrades in 2017. For 2018 the base infotainment system is upgraded with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity.
The base engine is a 166-horsepower, 2.4-liter four cylinder mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission that's barely adequate.
The Outlander GT features a 224-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6, but it isn't much faster than the four-cylinder. It accelerates from zero to sixty in about 8.0 seconds, slower than rivals. However it increases the towing capacity from 1500 to 3500 pounds, and has a pleasing exhaust note.
Two all-wheel-drive systems are offered. The base Outlander ES gets a system with a locking center differential. Standard on the Outlander GT and optional on the other models is a system with an electronically controlled center coupling, an open rear differential, and an active front differential, but no low range.
The EPA rates the Mitsubishi Outlander at 25/30 miles per gallon City/Highway, or 27 mpg Combined for the 2.4-liter with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive models with that engine are rated 24/29/26 mpg. That's among the highest mileage vehicles with third-row seating.
The GT, with V6 and all-wheel drive, gets 20/27/23 mpg, on Premium gasoline.
On a fast drive over mountain roads, we got 21 mpg in the four-cylinder, and 20 mpg in the V6, both AWD.
The Outlander gets top results in every category of the IIHS tests, to achieve the insurance industry agency's Top Safety Pick+ status. From the NHTSA, it gets four stars overall for front-drive models and five stars with AWD.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander comes as the new PHEV, or as the old ES, SE, SEL and the V6 GT, with front- or all-wheel drive. The PHEV is priced at $34,595.
Outlander ES ($23,945) comes standard with cloth upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, six-speaker 140-watt audio system, 60/40-split folding second-row seats, 50/50-split third-row seats, power locks, windows, and mirrors; under-floor rear storage, rain-sensing wipers, leather-wrapped steering-wheel and shift knob, three 12-volt power outlets, USB port, 6.1-inch touchscreen HD radio, rearview camera, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Outlander ES S-AWC ($26,445) comes with all-wheel drive.
Outlander SE ($24,9455) adds satellite radio, Apple Car Play, and Android Auto. It also comes with fog lamps, heated seats, and high-contrast instruments. Outlander SE S-AWC ($26,945) gets the upgraded all-wheel-drive.
Outlander SEL ($26,145) upgrades with leather seating surfaces, remote power liftgate, and Rockford Fosgate Audio with satellite radio. The SEL also gets a power driver's seat, power-folding mirrors, roof rails, gloss-black interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener. Outlander SEL S-AWC ($28,145) gets all-wheel drive.
Outlander GT 3.0 S-AWC ($32,245) gets the V6, the 710-watt, nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, the heated steering wheel, automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights. The GT Touring package adds the multi-view camera system, forward collision warning with emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control.
Options include a rear-seat DVD player, remote engine starting, and additional cargo solutions. Available safety features include lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Those items can all be had together on the mid-range SEL, as can three new features: blind spot monitors, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alerts.