Review: 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers huge improvements
The Mitsubishi Outlander was fully redesigned for the 2022 model year, but its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model was not. That came this year, with a total reconfiguration of the small sport utility. The result is a much-improved Outlander plug-in, but with a few caveats.
At a glance
- Greatly improved over the previous generation
- Not as fuel-efficient as its rivals
- Better drive quality and premium feel when compared to competition
- One of the most improved vehicles we’ve seen this year
Our review of the standard gasoline Outlander last year found it to be one of the better options in the small crossover segment. Compared to most of its contemporaries, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander was a low-cost, efficient, and well-outfitted family hauler. The option of a third row (albeit cramped) and decent towing numbers were nice bonuses.
One thing was missing, of course. It didn’t have a hybrid option. When it debuted, Mitsubishi promised that the PHEV would also see an update, but that it would be delayed. Now the plug-in hybrid model is on the market and worth looking at.
Most of the changes for the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are almost identical to those made to the gasoline model. The interior is greatly improved over the often cheap-feeling previous-generation’s design, plus ride quality, drive-ability, and interior noise levels are also vastly upgraded.
Powering the 2023 Outlander in its plug-in hybrid format is a 2.4-liter engine and two electric motors (one on each axle). A 20-kWh lithium-ion battery resides under the floor. Full system output is 248 horsepower (185 kW) and Mitsubishi’s Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system is standard.
The 2023 Outlander PHEV has an estimated all-electric range of about 38 miles (61 km) per charge with a further 380-ish miles (612 km) on gasoline only after that. Our tests netted an average of about 35 miles (56 km) per charge when driving almost exclusively in lower-speed city traffic. On the highway, we achieved 27 mpg (8.7 l/100km), which is exactly the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimate for the 2023 Outlander PHEV without electrics. That’s three points lower than the standard gasoline is rated for. Since the motors act as a boost in the PHEV even when the battery is too depleted to go all-EV, our getting the EPA’s estimate despite 6,400+ feet (1,951 m) in altitude makes sense. Combined fuel economy for the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is 64 MPGe (3.7 l/100km).
Charging on the 2023 Outlander PHEV depends on your access and which model you choose. Our top-end (SEL) trim was capable of receiving DC fast charging, provided that fast charger has a CHAdeMO plug and interface. Since that is the standard in Japan, where Mitsubishi likely plans to sell far more of these versus North America, that makes sense. With a vehicle like this, though, the need for DC fast charging is not very high. Our 240-volt, 50-amp garage plug (dedicated circuit) charged the Outlander PHEV in only six hours from near-zero. It took almost 14 hours to get a full charge from a 120-volt, 15-amp outlet on a shared circuit. For most people, given that the gasoline engine works regardless of the state of charge for the plug-in battery, having no dedicated outlet isn’t a dealbreaker here.
Other plug-in options for similar-sized SUVs are admittedly more efficient – especially the Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid and the Toyota RAV4 Prime. But neither of those is as engaging to drive or as premium-feeling as is the Outlander. And here, for about $47,000, you’re getting a top trim with excellent accouterments that is more than price-competitive with similarly outfitted rivals.
Like its gasoline stablemate, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a huge improvement over the previous generation in terms of interior comfort, overall design, and daily ergonomics. Seating is more comfortable, cargo space is more useful, the exterior look is more contemporary and eye-catching, and the drivetrain and chassis are more enjoyable.
The Outlander PHEV is the most-improved vehicle we’ve seen this year, and it’s a new benchmark for the small SUV segment.
Product page: 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
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Say an EV range of 100 miles with lower performance when you to go petrol. If you buy a hybrid are you really worried about performance or towing, better options to be had there, so why not have played to the strength of the model greener and more electric SUV.