2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV new car reviews

Ever wanted to set up a sad smoothie stand in the middle of a desert? Mitsubishi can help make that a reality.

Here it comes: Mitsubishi's first plug-in hybrid crossover.

If you're determined to buy a Mitsubishi Outlander, your options have multiplied. In two years, the Outlander has gone from two possible trim levels to five. And one of them—this one—is a plug-in hybrid.

The Outlander PHEV features two full-time, high-output electric motors separately mounted at the front and rear axles, as well as a 2.0-liter inline-4 gas engine and a gas-powered generator. Using all three systems, the PHEV can drive in three different modes: EV, series hybrid mode (generator assists electric motors), and parallel hybrid mode (2.0-liter engine assists in power delivery to the front wheels). On paper, this means that the PHEV should be able to optimize performance according to how you want to drive.

It also features a driver-activated "ECO Mode" switch that reduces both fuel and electricity usage, giving the driver more range.

Other staff views

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

Mitsubishi is the harbor freight of car companies. Looks great on a spec sheet, inexpensive, and ticks all the boxes that people want. It’s got CarPlay and a fast charge port and AWD and it’s electric and it has radar cruise and it’s great. Then you get to the details: like the fact that there is a van-sized steering dead spot on center, and you’re not allowed to use cruise control during electric-only operation, and the analog speedometer reads noticably higher than the digital display. The whole car just reeks of “yeah, that ticks that box” rather than a holistic approach to making a good car.

But the stereo rocks, it’s pretty comfortable, and I love that you can buy an AWD plug-in hybrid with room for a family. “Electric” used to be a class in and of itself, and consumers were forced to make do with whatever shape and size it came in. The Outlander PHEV is the first to bring a plug-in hybrid with all-wheel-drive to the masses, but now that electric cars are getting common enough to give consumers choice, I think the Mitsubishi’s “less than the sum of its parts” approach will soon be left behind.

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
7/5/18 3:38 p.m.

Mitsubishi Exec: "I've got it! I finally figured out what will sell Outlanders! Ready the smoothie models!"

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
7/5/18 3:57 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Is the smoothie table a factory option?

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
7/5/18 3:58 p.m.

That looks as if they're using it as a plug-out hybrid.

TGMF
TGMF Reader
7/5/18 4:27 p.m.

I drove a 2016 outlander this past week for work. loaded model. It was actually not bad. Seemed like a decent car actually. I don't care much for CVT's but this one simulated gear shifts acceptably well and the trans didn't stand out much (a good thing). 

I wouldn't buy one because it's a Mitsubishi, but my coworker really liked it. What does the hive know about these? My immediate reccomendation was to say stay away.  But has Mitsubishi demonstrated competence in building these? Should I allow my mind to be changed on this product or follow my instincts garnered from years of vehicle knowledge. 

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
7/5/18 5:04 p.m.

Also pictured: The reservation line to buy one.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
7/5/18 5:27 p.m.

Supposedly in Japan you can get one set up to power your house in emergencies? 

I know that a tiny but growing number of people are using hybrids as camping tow vehicles because of their built in generator capabilities. Pretty much all the hybrids i know of will start and stop their ICEs on their own to keep their 12v and traction batteries from becoming too discharged. So, if you hook a 12v > 120v inverter to the 12v battery of a hybrid it becomes a campsite generator that doesn't make much noise (or pollute near as much in other ways). 

I remember one guy apparently powered his whole house off an inverter he was running off his 2g Prius for 4-5 days back when that big winter storm came through the NE. He figured out that that model of Prius could sustain about 1000w coming off the 12v battery and that its fuel consumption while doing so was actually comparable to small dedicated generators and better than big ones. 

I would guess the factory tow rating on small/midsize hybrid SUVs maxes out at ~3500lbs, but that's not nothing in a travel trailer which is built much lighter for its size than a car/cargo trailer. A lot of people are pulling those little teardrop campers around, those things are barely 1k. 

It's not a ton of people, but it's interesting. Example

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/5/18 5:52 p.m.

In reply to Vigo :

Prius as generator...genius! 

I have two gen2 Prius in the driveway of my all electric house.  A new lightbulb has come on in my head. (see what I did there?)

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
7/5/18 7:23 p.m.

In reply to Vigo :

The LEAF also has an official accessory which does that via some sort of inverter you hook into the house. 

Nissan doesn't sell it stateside though. That's one accessory which I think would help sell electric cars to rural parts of the US. Or it would make an argument for me personally to switch quite a bit more compelling.

Wally
Wally MegaDork
7/5/18 8:14 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Replace the smoothie nonsense with a Fry Daddy and they might be on to something

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan SuperDork
7/5/18 10:59 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Mitsubishi Exec: "I've got it! I finally figured out what will sell Outlanders! Ready the smoothie models!"

The first signal my eyes sent to my brain was someone pushing the detonator on explosives. laugh

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
7/5/18 11:11 p.m.
Vigo said:

I remember one guy apparently powered his whole house off an inverter he was running off his 2g Prius for 4-5 days back when that big winter storm came through the NE. He figured out that that model of Prius could sustain about 1000w coming off the 12v battery and that its fuel consumption while doing so was actually comparable to small dedicated generators and better than big ones. 

I always thought this was an excellent idea, although the 12v step seemed silly.

Maybe its just in my head, but I thought someone eventually made a kit to draw power (converted down to single phase 110) directly off the traction motor battery to produce like 3-5kw and the car still had no trouble keeping up with it.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
7/8/18 12:40 a.m.

I always thought this was an excellent idea, although the 12v step seemed silly.

Maybe its just in my head, but I thought someone eventually made a kit to draw power (converted down to single phase 110) directly off the traction motor battery to produce like 3-5kw and the car still had no trouble keeping up with it.

Yeah, all hybrids can do way more than 1000w continuous off the traction battery with the engine running, but getting the right type of step down inverter and safely hooking it up is orders of magnitude more money and effort than clipping a 12v inverter onto the battery terminals or charging posts. But in concept i'm with you! 

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
7/8/18 9:12 a.m.

Mitsubishi still sells cars here?  Who knew??

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