Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid SUV
For a company
nearly left for dead two years ago, Mitsubishi is showing a lot of
plug-in hybrid on sale now introduces a hot new technology to the
compact SUV segment that’s taking the market by storm. Outlander
plug-in is a five-seat SUV that’s about the size of the Chevrolet
Equinox, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4.
feels so much like the perfect vehicle for the times; it’s hard to
believe it was little Mitsubishi that it came up with the concept of
a plug-in hybrid SUV, not a multimillion-dollar-selling brand such
as Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota or Volkswagen.
vehicles, or PHEVs, are vehicles — like the Chevrolet Volt —
that have batteries to carry them some distance and gasoline engines
to provide the range for longer trips. Outlander PHEV has an
EPA-rated 22-mile range — which it exceeded in our testing — on
fully charged batteries and a total of 310 miles when its 2-liter
gasoline engine kicks in after the batteries are drained.
You can select
an EV-only mode that shuts out the engine or allows the engine to
turn on and off as needed, depending on conditions. You can also set
a charging mode that allows you to top off the battery from the
gasoline engine, or choose to minimize electric power, saving it for
when you get to congested urban areas where it’ll do you the most
provide the total power the hybrid system produces. One thing is
certain: Its 277 horsepower, but it lacks the oomph you might expect
if you added the gasoline engine’s output to the two electric
motors. Acceleration is not impressive. It feels closer to the 160
horsepower available from the electric motors alone.
The plug-in is
almost unnervingly quiet when you’re driving in EV mode. There’s
nearly no road noise trundling along surface streets at up to 45
miles per hour.
plug-in hybrid vehicles have a lithium-ion battery; charging ports
for 120, 240 or 440 volts, and all-wheel drive. While the Outlander’s
smaller batteries reduce its cruising range, they also reduce
charging time. It takes 3.5 hours to fully charge the batteries with
a 240-volt connection.
says an Outlander can get an 80 percent charge in 25 minutes from
one of the less-common DC fast chargers. A full charge from a
residential 120-volt outlet takes eight hours.
all-electric mode consistently exceeded its EPA-rated 22-mile range
on a charge when I drove the SUV in stop-and-go traffic on surface
is roomy and comfortable. The instruments are big and clear, and the
audio and climate controls have easy-to-use buttons and dials.
Outlander has three rows of seats and can accommodate seven. The
PHEV seats five; the battery and rear electric motor take up space
under the floor that squeezed out the third row.
lithium-ion battery pack and rear-axle electric motor take up a lot
of space under the rear floor, creating a cargo area that’s
smaller than most competing compact SUVs.
Outlander plug-in has a lot of technology from a company such as
Japan’s Mitsubishi, which got a new lease on life when the
Renault-Nissan alliance rescued it from near-certain bankruptcy in
The fact that
the company developed a sophisticated and unique vehicle such as the
Outlander PHEV with the meager resources it had before joining the
alliance is reason for optimism. Now that Mitsu is part of the world’s
largest automaker, there’s no telling what it may do.
expected to add a PHEV version of its Equinox compact SUV in a year
or so. It will be a disappointment if the new Toyota RAV4 that goes
on sale later this year didn’t also offer a PHEV model.
the Outlander PHEV stands alone.
in EV mode
quite as much as an SUV without a plug
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid SUV
five-seat SUV that gets electric-only range, then runs on gas.
When? On sale
Where? Made in
What makes it
go? A 2-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors.
22 miles of range on its batteries, then it runs on gas. It gets 25
miles per gallon on average when running on gas alone.
Starts at $34,595 for a base model, about a $2,300 premium more than
the conventional gas version.
great idea, having all the practicality of an SUV with the thrift
that goes with being able to drive much or all of a daily commute on