Ok, here’s why I needed to drive the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and why you should, too.
I’ve gotta say I was a little skeptical of a plugin electric hybrid (PHEV) SUV. Would it really feel like a sports utility vehicle I could load the family into for a camping trip, or would I constantly whine about the lack of power when I tried to accelerate? The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was my first experience with aPHEV and I’ve gotta say, it exceeded my expectations in every way.
It wasn’t just the hybrid powertrain that had me skeptical, I’ve driven some pretty nice hybrids, but it was the combination of this being a plugin hybrid and an SUV. See, I expect a lot from my SUVs. I treat them like pickups, driving them across fields, down riverbanks, and up washed-out dirt roads. I haul animal feed and bales of hay and wood chips and garden supplies in the cargo space. We really put these vehicles through their paces which means I’m looking for power, durability, and practicality as well as comfort for our family.
And never having driven a Mitsubishi, my only experience with the brand was a couple of friends owning the old Eclipse sports cars which were cute, but riddled with mechanical issues. I’ve heard such good things about the new Mitsubishi vehicles but had yet to experience one for myself, so this week in the Outlander PHEV was just what I needed to answer all my questions.
Who this Car is For
- Anyone looking for great fuel economy in the city. With an electric range of 22 miles, an urban dweller could leave home, go to work, run an errand on the way home and still have charge left when they pulled back into their driveway.
- Couples and small families. This is a mid-sized SUV with plenty of space for everyone, plus cargo space in the back. It comfortably seats five and the back seat has enough legroom for adults.
- People who want something that’s good for the environment, but can go places too. Like I said before, if you live in an urban area you’ll do a lot of clean driving. But you won’t be limited to those 22 miles. If you want to go further (across the country even!) you can, and you’ll still enjoy a fantastic fuel economy of 25 mpg. Plus it has 4-wheel drive capabilities for when you need to escape the paved roads.
What this Car Costs
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV starts at just $35,795. This is the SEL model. It comes with three ways to charge the car’s batteries, 7″ touch screen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and heated front seats, all leather of course. It’s all-wheel drive, includes regenerative breaking (more about that later) and paddle shifters on the wheel. LED lights and fog lamps come standard. And, roof rails and a rear roof spoiler give this SUV a sporty appearance while the rack adds functionality for those who need to strap down sports equipment like boards and skis.
The GT model starts at $41,495 and adds some advanced safety features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and a multi-view camera system that helps put everything in sight. The beautiful panoramic power sunroof and two AC outlets make any adventure more fun and convenient.
The Outlander may qualify for up to $7500 in federal tax credit, and many states offer tax incentives on electric and PHEV cars, all of which can shave a nice margin off the price of ownership.
What We Love About the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
It’s really comfortable. It was actually one of nicest mid-sized SUVs our family has driven. Very roomy, all leather, huge sunroof, and charging ports for everyone. The seats are molded nicely, even in the back and felt like they would provide comfort even on long road trips. And it’s aesthetically pleasing too. A really good blend of textures and nothing looks cheap plastic-y.
It’s a real SUV. My fears were totally unfounded. The Outlander PHEV had plenty of getting up and go, and it handled uneven terrain like a champ. I didn’t get to do any real off-roading in it and never actually needed the 4-wheel drive, but I got the feeling that it could easily compete with any other mid-size SUV.
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV has plenty of cargo space for all your luggage, sports gear, and shopping hauls.
Charging is easy. I was able to just plug the car into a regular outlet in my garage, thanks to the converter that stores neatly under the cargo space. You can also use a rapid charging station, or have something special installed in your garage for faster charging, but it’s not necessary!
It’s so fuel efficient! With an average of 25 miles per gallon running on gas, the efficiency starts in a very competitive range. But then you throw in the hybrid and electric technology and you’re basically driving your first 22 miles gas-free. Then if you use the regenerative breaking efficiently and driving conservatively the vehicle will actually charge while you’re driving it, which adds to your range. Its possible you could go weeks or even months without stopping for gas.
A Note about Regenerative Breaking and Why We Love It
After the Texas Auto Roundup this spring, I learned that a lot of the new hybrids are making use of this technology. But when I drove the Outlander PHEV, it was my first experience with regenerative braking, so I had to do some research and experiment a bit with my findings. Regenerative breaking allows you to drive the car a little more like a golf cart… press the gas pedal to accelerate, and let off to break. Whereas usually letting off the gas would slow you down gradually, but not really apply the break, regenerative breaking actually breaks. Slowly. And while it’s breaking the power remaining which would normally allow you to coast for a bit, goes straight to charging the battery.
The Outlander PHEV has 3 modes for the regenerative breaking so you can choose how much it actually breaks when you let off the gas pedal, which is nice cause some of the other hybrids I’ve driven since didn’t have the option to select the regenerative braking mode. Of course, you don’t have to use regenerative breaking at all if you don’t like it. But I really enjoyed it once I got used to it, and I liked watching the electric range meter go up while I was driving!
Could the Outlander PHEV Be Your Next SUV?
We think it’s a good contender! It’s affordable, comfortable, efficient and beautiful. And it just might be setting the trend for SUVs moving forward. Who wouldn’t want an SUV that can climb a riverbank and save on fuel costs?
Disclosure: The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV was provided for this review; all opinions are my own.