A principally frugal and really easy powertrain
The massive enchantment of the Outlander PHEV is in fact its plug-in hybrid powertrain. It contains a naturally aspirated 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder, and two electrical motors, one up entrance, one within the rear. This powertrain can perform in three alternative ways. There’s full electrical mode, sequence hybrid mode (the gasoline engine acts like a generator, and propulsion is dealt with solely by the electrical motor), and parallel hybrid (a clutch engages the engine to the entrance motor for extra propulsion help). The Outlander switches mechanically between these operational schemes relying on drive mode settings. For instance, with a full cost you may press a button to maintain it in EV mode, a minimum of so long as there’s sufficient battery energy. Two different buttons can permit you to save the battery cost to be used later, similar to on the town after a freeway drive, and a cost button to replenish the battery stage whereas driving.
Due to this powertrain format, the Outlander PHEV drives very like an all-electric automotive more often than not. It is almost silent besides when the engine kicks on, or when accelerating or decelerating exhausting. Within the case of the latter, you may choose up a faint, futuristic whir from the motors. It feels very easy due to a scarcity of transmission shifts. The throttle is responsive since there isn’t any CVT adjusting ratios or a torque converter making responses a bit of slushy. And naturally there’s the moment torque that each one electrical motors present, which makes the Outlander spunky round city. You’ll be able to even modify the energy of the battery regeneration by placing it from “D” for drive into “B.” Then you may set the energy through the steering wheel paddles.
Additionally spectacular is the truth that the powertrain remains to be fairly easy and quiet when the engine fires up. When it begins, it is barely noticeable as there’s little or no vibration or noise. It stays quiet, too, since more often than not it solely has to run at very low rpm to generate electrical energy. With a low battery and heavy acceleration, the engine does should rev greater, and you’ll discover extra engine noise, however fortunately, the engine is pretty refined and quiet. It is extra of a hum than a drone or a buzz. Plus, it often would not final lengthy besides throughout sustained exhausting acceleration.
There’s actually just one main disadvantage to the Outlander PHEV’s drivetrain: The spunky low-speed acceleration vanishes when attempting to speed up to freeway speeds. It merely begins operating out of gumption the longer you retain your foot down.
One other disadvantage is that the Outlander PHEV is not as frugal as comparable sedans. Most different PHEVs are based mostly on current household sedans or are their very own distinctive automobiles, and most of them, together with the Prius, Ioniq, Niro, Sonata, Readability, Volt and others get higher electrical vary and miles-per-gallon-equivalent figures than the Outlander’s 22 miles and 74 MPGe.
With that being mentioned, that electric-only vary remains to be very usable. It obtained me to my home 15 miles away with vary to spare. And when you have entry to a DC quick charger, you may get 80 % of the vary again in 25 minutes. When its electric-only vary has been exhausted, its estimated gas economic system of 25 mpg mixed is only a bit decrease than premium PHEV crossovers such because the Volvo XC60 and Mini Countryman. A traditional four-cylinder Outlander 4WD will get a bit higher at 26 mpg mixed, however that is a bit deceiving since if you happen to’re not utilizing the electric-only vary, what is the level of getting a plug-in hybrid. So if you happen to’re unlikely to plug it in a lot, if in any respect, many of the effectivity advantages vanish solely.
The enchantment is a scarcity of (most) compromises
The utility of an in any other case largely uncompromised crossover takes the sting out of among the effectivity considerations. As famous above, if you would like a bigger PHEV crossover, that is the one recreation on the town (if you happen to low cost the PHEVs from European luxurious producers). From the skin, it appears to be like similar to a traditional Outlander, supplied you skip the $285 accent physique stripes. And with out the stripes, the one giveaways are pretty sizable “Plug-In Hybrid EV” badges and an additional gas door. As such, you are getting a preferred SUV physique with no concessions to make it look distinctively inexperienced.
Inside, you additionally get the identical roomy crossover inside as a traditional Outlander, significantly within the cargo division. Behind the second-row seats, the Outlander PHEV has 30.four cubic toes of area, nearly four cubes shy of the traditional mannequin. Behind the entrance seats, the Outlander PHEV is listed as truly having extra cargo area than the traditional mannequin. The one potential disadvantage is that the PHEV would not provide elective third-row seating, however as that is a rarity for automobiles this dimension, it is a nominal loss.
And naturally the inside feels completely regular, too. Every part is lifted proper out of a typical Outlander besides the shifter — which is a quite strange-looking digital monostable shifter — and the alternative of the tachometer with an influence utilization meter. That is unhealthy within the sense that the Outlander’s inside is fairly low lease, with low-cost plastics and a design that dates again to 2012. Nevertheless it’s good within the sense that it is pretty unintimidating or overly futuristic for many who merely need a regular automotive with hybrid capabilities. It additionally, fortunately, options customary Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a median 7-inch touchscreen. The contact buttons on the far proper of the display are a bit annoying, although. A minimum of it has an actual quantity knob, in contrast to the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
Match and end complaints apart, the Outlander PHEV has fairly supportive seats and a excessive seating place with a great view out. You even get a quite trick function with the hybrid that ought to make you a favourite at tailgate events: The Outlander can perform as a conveyable battery offering 1,500 watts of energy for no matter you are bringing alongside, similar to a TV or blender.
The driving expertise is nice as effectively. Along with the sleek and responsive powertrain, the Outlander PHEV has excellent cruising capabilities. The journey is supple, softening each bump and conserving the physique and occupants as regular because the drip from that faucet you promised your self you’d repair six months in the past. The cabin could be very quiet, too, aided by the aforementioned hybrid engine and motors. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a sporty, fun-to-drive crossover, although, it’s best to look elsewhere. There’s fairly a little bit of physique roll in corners, and the steering, whereas weighted effectively, is imprecise and sluggish. The entrance is not significantly keen to show in both. However not each automotive needs to be sporty, as a result of loads of individuals simply need one thing comfy, and the Outlander PHEV delivers.
Pricing is par for the course
The entry-level Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is definitely a higher-trim stage on regular fashions. It is the SEL with all-wheel drive, and in non-hybrid type, it will begin at about $29,000. The hybrid provides a good quantity of price to that worth, giving the Outlander PHEV a beginning worth of $35,915 earlier than federal ($5,386) and doable state incentives. Although that is not low-cost, it’s just like that of the Chevy Volt and Honda Readability. The Niro PHEV is less expensive at $28,840, however it’s additionally smaller.
What the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is, is an Outlander with plenty of gravy. It takes the strengths of the usual crossover, similar to its practicality, crossover styling, nice journey traits, and attainable (if not super-cheap) pricing, and slathers on a futuristic hybrid system that has usable EV-only vary. However as a result of it is an Outlander with gravy, it additionally comes with the Outlander’s weaknesses, similar to its outdated inside, mediocre dealing with, and sub-par gasoline-only gas economic system, the latter being a difficulty when evaluating it to similarly-priced PHEV sedans. However if you happen to’ve been wanting a style of the plug-in hybrid electrical life, however merely have not been ready to surrender the type or practicality of a small to midsize crossover, the Outlander is a really compelling bundle for an affordable worth.