What Are They?
The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a compact crossover with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which makes it a singular item in its class. It runs with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, plus two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack to power all four wheels. Mitsubishi hasn’t given any system output numbers yet, but they do say that torque is comparable to a 3.0-liter gasoline engine.
Nor does the company quote any fuel consumption details. European versions are rated at approximately 130 miles per gallon, with a range of 32 miles in electric-only mode (which has a maximum speed of 74 miles per hour). The Environmental Protection Agency will adjust these figures according to its own methodology.
This plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will be a high trim level, and safety features on offer will include adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system and forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection. The infotainment system will also accommodate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 launches in New York at the same time as the Outlander PHEV. This model is a sedan version of the Mirage subcompact hatch. The company describes the trunk as "cavernous." It’s technically 15.9 cu ft., which is about the same as a midsize sedan.
Modest propulsion comes from a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine. Mitsubishi says this has been revised, with output up to 78 horsepower. The 2015 Mirage hatchback (it skipped the 2016 model year) had 74 hp and, with the continuously variable transmission, managed to average 40 mpg. The Mirage G4 sports front-end styling that will also be adopted by its 2017 hatchback sibling.
The price has yet to be announced. It will possibly cost $42,000 or so for the Outlander PHEV and perhaps $14,000 for the Mirage G4.
When Can You Get Them?
You will be able to get the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the fall of 2016. The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 goes on sale this spring.
Add Them to Your Shopping List Because…
There really aren’t many options when you’re looking for a compact crossover with a hybrid system, and there is no other option whatsoever for a nonpremium plug-in hybrid. The Mirage G4 will be on your radar if you want a brand-new, inexpensive car.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Honda CR-V — We mention the CR-V mainly because it’s a benchmark in the compact-crossover class and always a sensible buy, especially in terms of resale value.
2016 Mazda CX-5 — The CX-5 is so much more than a fun drive. It also achieves quite respectable fuel economy for a nonhybrid crossover: 26 mpg with all-wheel drive.
2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — Considering the fact that Toyota has made the RAV4 and hybrid drivetrains for years, it’s crazy how the company has only just put the two together. The RAV4 Hybrid hits 33 mpg combined.
2016 Scion iA — You might want to cross-shop the Scion iA and the Mirage G4. This model comes with a decent level of standard equipment.
2016 Nissan Versa — The Versa is cheap and not that cheerful, but it’s probably worth considering if you’re also seriously looking at the Mirage.
2016 Ford Fiesta — The Fiesta is charming and less compromised by budget constraints.
Used Ford Focus — If you’re seeking personal transport at a reasonable cost, you should check out used versions of the more mainstream compact cars, such as the Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.