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2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is different to other compact crossovers. It comes with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. This attribute makes it highly unusual. Companies like Mini and Volvo are exploring this avenue, but they charge premium prices.

Adding this PHEV model makes the aging Outlander range a little more relevant in these times. It brings a new set of potential buyers to a crossover that usually makes value for money one of its most attractive qualities, since it cannot really compete on a quality level.

The thing to remember is that the "plug-in" part means usable range from the battery, but the vehicle isn’t suddenly going to leave you stranded if battery energy dips below a certain level. It still has a combustion engine on board to get you home. What a PHEV does is employ electric power to improve overall fuel economy.

Apart from the powertrain, this plug-in hybrid differs from its regular sibling in that it’s a 5-seater only, as opposed to offering a third row of seating — the battery pack and extra hybrid hardware have to go somewhere. The PHEV is also available solely in the Outlander range’s top two trim levels and comes with all-wheel drive as standard.

Mitsubishi dealers are thin on the ground, but don’t let that put you off the Outlander PHEV. This might be exactly the vehicle you need.

The regular Outlander lineup is reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2019?

Mitsubishi has improved the suspension, plus general aspects of noise, vibration and harshness. The front end has received some styling tweaks, there’s a fresh wheel design, a new rear spoiler and the rear bumper is enlivened. The front seats have been improved and the center console is also redesigned. New equipment includes air vents and a USB port for the rear passengers. And gray leather seating becomes an option. See the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Pleasant enough interior, thanks to the higher trim level status
  • 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on PHEV components

What We Don’t

  • Most of the driver aids are only available in the top trim
  • General refinement is not that great

How Much?

$36,890-$42,590. That’s before a federal tax credit of $5,836 and any state incentives.

Fuel Economy

The combustion side of the equation is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. This is augmented by an electric motor up front and one at the back, both running on a lithium-ion battery back. The combined setup sends 190 horsepower to all four wheels.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a way of calculating consumption in plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles that it calls miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe). It rates the Outlander PHEV at 74 MPGe when combining the city and highway cycles. It also puts maximum electric-only range at 22 miles.

Recharging a depleted battery on a 240-volt supply takes about four hours, while a fast-charging facility can bring it up to 80 percent in 25 minutes.

Standard Features & Options

The 5-seater 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV compact crossover is sold in SEL and GT trims.

The SEL ($36,890) starts with 18-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/start, a powered remote lift gate, roof rails, rain-sensing wipers, windshield wiper de-icer, automatic on/off headlights, LED taillights, a color driver information display, hill start assist, heated side mirrors, full power accessories, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, slide/recline/split/fold (60/40) rear seats, leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear vents, a self-dimming rearview mirror, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, voice control, Bluetooth, a 7-in infotainment touchscreen, a 6-speaker CD audio system, an HD/satellite radio, dual USB ports, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration.

The GT ($42,590) adds chrome exterior trim, full LED headlights with automatic high beams, LED fog lights, a heated steering wheel, a multi-view camera system, a powered glass sunroof with sunshade, power-folding mirrors, adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, two 115-volt AC outlets, and a 710-watt/9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system.

Options include blue LED cabin lighting, front/rear parking sensors and a towing package. When properly equipped, the Outlander PHEV can tow up to 1,500 pounds.

Cargo space behind the rear seats is 30.4 cu ft. With those seats folded down, it expands to 66.6 cu ft. The subwoofer in the GT version encroaches on luggage area, cutting the total to 62.8 cu ft.

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability control, hill start assist and seven airbags (front, front side, driver knee and full-length side curtain).

This PHEV model hasn’t been tested specifically by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the regular AWD Outlander received five stars out of five overall, including four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts.

In the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test program, the Outlander PHEV earned the top Good rating in every major category.

Behind the Wheel

Soft-touch cabin materials in the cabin are complemented by crisp gauges. Seat comfort is just about acceptable, although more cushioning would be welcome. The rear quarters deserve a mention for their sliding/reclining seats and generous legroom.

The driving experience is safe and secure rather than inspiring. The Outlander PHEV also has an electric vehicle (EV) mode, so drivers can choose when to use battery power only.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid — This is where the Outlander PHEV becomes more intriguing, since there isn’t a plug-in hybrid compact crossover offered by other mainstream manufacturers at the moment. So a RAV4 in the usual hybrid form we’ve come to know and embrace from Toyota is one of the few consumption/emissions-conscious alternatives.

2019 Kia Niro PHEVKia markets this as a crossover, although it’s more of a raised hatchback. It’s also a subcompact, so it’s smaller than the Outlander. But it starts at $29,495, has an EV range of 26 miles and is quite refined to drive.

Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid — For more space, hybrid economy and three rows of seating, this could do the job. Check out Toyota’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Autotrader’s Advice

The Outlander PHEV is the only compact crossover from a mainstream company with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Some luxury marques are moving into this territory, but their prices are far higher. So if this vehicle satisfies a buyer’s criteria, then the decision is easy. With the money saved from federal and state incentives, try and get the GT version that comes with the most driver aids. Find a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for sale

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