The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was one of the first plug-in mainstream SUVs to hit the road. But just because you arrived early doesn't mean you'll be the life of the party.
Not only is the Mitsubishi outdated in a number of ways, it doesn't post huge gains in efficiency over its gasoline-only competitors. Sure, it's comfortable and nicely equipped, but with its higher cost of entry, is the Outlander PHEV just a tough sell?
The Outlander PHEV is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that works in conjunction with a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and two electric motors -- one at the front axle and one at the rear. For the most part, the battery and electric motors are what actually drive the SUV's wheels, while the engine itself charges the battery. At freeway speeds, however, the engine can directly power the wheels to help with high-speed efficiency. Total system output is 190 horsepower, the delivery of which is really smooth. No, the 4,200-pound Outlander isn't going to win many drag races, but it's not noticeably slow off the line, either. With the electric motors providing a silky supply of instant torque from a stop, there's just enough grunt to leap ahead of traffic when the light flashes green.
That isn't to say the Outlander likes to be driven quickly. On the contrary, it doesn't handle particularly well if you try to hustle it though turns. Instead, this Mitsubishi is much happier when simply straight-line cruising, like on the highway. That's where it comes into its own and begins to show off its best attribute: its comfortable ride. The Outlander's steering contributes to that relaxed feeling from behind the wheel. An abundance of power assistance makes maneuvering a breeze through the tight confines of downtown LA. However, if you're searching for steering feel, you'll have to look elsewhere, because feedback is pretty much nonexistent.
The Good The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV's smooth ride and silky power delivery make it comfortable to drive.
The Bad Gas-only fuel economy could be better, and it is kind of pricey.
The Bottom Line For most people, a conventionally gas-powered compact crossover will be more efficient.
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