2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review: A better hybrid, but still hard to recommend

Yes, the PHEV still uses the old Outlander body.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

I’ve come to love plug-in hybrids for the way they make it easy for you to own an electric car. In the case of this 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, I can decide when to use its 24 miles of all-electric range, but still have the peace of mind of an internal combustion engine to keep me drunk on long journeys. PHEVs make the switch to electricity really easy. Unfortunately, this Mitsubishi is not a plug-in I would recommend.

Like it

  • Four-wheel drive as standard
  • 24 miles of fully electric range
  • Able to accept a fast charge

I do not like

  • Poor driving dynamics
  • Outdated infotainment
  • Economical interior materials

As you’ve probably noticed, the Outlander PHEV 2021 is still the old version of Mitsubishi’s midsize SUV, not the new and elegant model 2022 which shares its foundation with Nissan Rogue. However, the old SUV has a few updated tricks, via a new 2.4-liter I4 engine complemented by a pair of 60kW and 70kW engines, which give the Outlander all-wheel drive. Together, this powerplant produces 221 horsepower, 31 more than last year. The 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack is larger than before, allowing for an electric range of 24 miles estimated by the EPA (up from 22). Additionally, the battery can accept 50kW DC fast charging via its CHAdeMO plug, which allows the battery to reach 80% capacity in 25 minutes. It’s slow compared to the 150 kW and 350 kW options for full electric vehicles, but not all plug-in hybrids have fast-charging capabilities, so this 25-minute time is a plus for Mitsu.

The Outlander PHEV has a tiny gas tank – just 11 gallons – so the SUV’s total range is just 320 miles. After a week of testing, I recorded an average of 32.1mpg in gas-only mode and 3.9 miles per kWh. The EPA says PHEV should get 26 mpg and 2.2 miles per kWh for a combined total of 74 MPGe, but I clearly found those numbers easy to beat.

The Outlander has Normal, Eco and Gravel driving modes, as well as Sport and Snow, which are new this year. The Outlander PHEV could be a good choice for those who have to deal with inclement weather. I would also like to point out that the Outlander PHEV competed in the Rebelle Rally 2020, a seven-day navigation rally that takes place on dirt without the aid of GPS. The Rebelle Rally traverses some of the toughest desert and mountain roads in California and Nevada, and in addition to getting stuck in the dunes of Glamis for a while, the Outlander had no mechanical problems and finished the rally with a third place in the cross class. He is more capable than you might think.

In addition to the driving modes, there are also specific EV settings. I can run the car in full-EV mode for that zero-emission goodness, a stock hybrid mode that charges the battery as I drive, or a parallel hybrid mode that uses both the battery and the gas engine at the same time. I can also choose when to use electricity, saving it for errands around the city. Once the battery is discharged, the gas engine starts. Regardless of which mode the car is in, power swaps are smooth and easy.

The updated plug-in powertrain is both more powerful and more efficient than before.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

Unfortunately, the Outlander isn’t exactly pleasant to drive. Its steering is loose and sloppy and the SUV feels like it’s all over the road. The handling is sturdy, but the ride quality is tough and uncomfortable. The brakes, however, are firm and safe and do double duty with regenerative braking returning energy to the battery. The extra gear of electric motors means there are a lot of things to do, but overall, this isn’t a car I’d like to drive every day.

On the plus side, every Outlander PHEV comes standard with forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and automatic high beam – and my GT trim gets the added benefit of cruise control. adaptive. All of these systems work as advertised. Lane Keeping Assist can easily be turned off for those who find it annoying.

Inside, Mitsubishi’s infotainment system is easy to use but the touchscreen graphics are very dated, there are no physical volumes or adjustment knobs and I had a number of problems trying to actually connect my phone using the port USB-A. Android Auto is Apple CarPlay both are standard, but I have not been able to get Outlander to register my phone on more than one occasion. There is also no wireless phone charging available.

Overall, the interior is hit and miss. The seats on my GT tester look pretty nice and I love the use of contrast stitching. Heated front seats are standard on all trim levels and the GT even has a heated steering wheel. However, there are tons of hard plastic and cost-cutting evidence throughout the cabin. Case in point: A set of cup holders reside in the cargo area, a vestige of when a third row could be obtained in the gas-powered Outlander 2020.

The materials, the infotainment … nothing is really great inside Outlander.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

That cargo area is a bit small too, with 30.4 cubic feet of space with the second row seats up and 62.8 cubes when folded. The rear seats also don’t fold perfectly, so be prepared to slide smaller items back.

Even with its minor upgrades, the 2021 Outlander PHEV is priced the same as the 2020 model: $ 37,490, including $ 1,195 for the destination. But this crossover is so, so hard to recommend. I really like the Toyota RAV4 Prime which is a much nicer SUV overall and offers 300hp and better range. Many people criticize the RAV4 Prime for being expensive, but my Outlander PHEV GT comes in at nearly $ 44,000, which is a lot of money for something this old.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2021 has a lot to offer in terms of fuel economy and electric range, but the driving experience, materials and technology leave a lot to be desired. Let’s hope Mitsubishi puts this PHEV transmission in the stylish 2022 Outlander instead.

Related Posts