Mazdax605 UberDork
12/27/18 6:48 a.m.

Hey guys,


About 2 years ago I traded in my Suburban, and we leased a 4Runner that my wife has been driving since that point. It is an awesome truck, and I'd love to keep it for myself, but two car payments won't work(well they could but I'm cheap),and she'd like something smaller, and better on fuel. Her driving isn't much as her commute has changed to only a few miles. Realistically we could get away with a cheap used car, but I like to have one modern, or modernish car with low miles in the fleet. I'm okay driving E36 M3 boxes.


I've been intrigued by the Mitsubishi Outlander as it seems a good buy in the CUV segment with lots of features for less money. It maybe isn't the best looking of the bunch(I love the Mazda CX-5 looks from 17-on), or highest tech, but it has a better AWD system than many, and the warranty is great. I had been looking at the GT models as I like the V6, and regular auto trans instead of the 2.5 and the CVT. Then I came across the PHEV which has a CVT, but also has the electric mode that would mean no gas being used for most of her driving for work at least.


Has anyone driven one of these? Are they decent? How is the transition from electric to gas? Smooth? Are modern Mitsubishi's crap? They don't appear to be to me, but maybe I'm missing something. Do you have to charge the batteries every night on a car like this? With a hybrid type vehicle like this can one take a longer trip like she would once a month for our oldest sons bowling tournaments which can vary from 2+ hours or more away? Also I think I'd like to buy next time instead of lease. The lease is fine, and we are under by roughly 3500 miles or so, but I like to not have to worry about mileage. Of course leasing a hybrid might not be a bad idea, as there might be incentives.


Any input is appreciated, even if it is a knock on the head for even thinking about a Mitsu.

eastpark Reader
12/27/18 7:40 a.m.

My neighbor bought one last year and he likes it quite a lot. He’s reporting better mileage than the Prius C it replaced. He got the fully loaded one, it’s a very comfortable car and no problems so far. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
12/27/18 9:00 a.m.

Here’s our review:

Outlander PHEV Review

Patrick MegaDork
12/27/18 9:07 a.m.

Because of all the PZEV badges, I immediately wanted PHEV to be “pretty high emissions vehicle”

bobzilla MegaDork
12/27/18 9:08 a.m.

What about a Niro?

Mazdax605 UberDork
12/27/18 10:13 a.m.
bobzilla said:

What about a Niro?

I don't know much about the Niro, but I believe it is not available in AWD, correct?

Vigo UltimaDork
12/27/18 9:19 p.m.

So one thing about the Outlander PHEV is that they didn't sell them here for years and years because the rest of the world was snapping up every bit of their production capacity without complaint and the US market is a bit of a laggard in terms of appreciating hybrids and PHEVs. 

It's basically in a class of its own. They did get updated recently with a bigger engine that improved acceleration and retained similar efficiency, iirc. I think they are good looking vehicles on the outside and just ok on the inside. I havent driven a PHEV version, but i'd like to. 

The simplest way to analogize how it works is that it's like a Volt. It has a certain amount of EV range which means most commutes are 100% electric which means nearly free, and if you go beyond that range it will revert to 'just' a regular gasoline car with abnormally high fuel efficiency for its class. Boo hoo, right? You do have to charge it to get that EV range but you may not feel the need for a 240v charger since it can charge in 8 hrs on 120v. Assuming it's parked indoors that means no house mods to accomodate charging, just plug it in anywhere. 

Mazdax605 UberDork
12/27/18 9:24 p.m.

What I can't totally figure out. Does the gasoline ICE actually power the wheels, or is it a generator to power the electric motors only? It seems to me it would have to be powering the wheels. 

Vigo UltimaDork
12/27/18 11:15 p.m.

It does clutch the engine 'directly' to the wheels at certain speeds and loads, similarly to a Volt or recent honda hybrids.

Mazdax605 UberDork
12/28/18 5:48 a.m.

Thank you Vigo. That explains a lot for me. Do you think owning a PHEV would be similar to owning a traditional gas only car for 90% of how people drive? What are your thoughts on Mitsubishi as a manufacturer? I love my Delica, but it's very old and quite different. 

pointofdeparture PowerDork
12/28/18 7:37 a.m.

C&D reviewed the PHEV not too long ago and had a lot to say: (scroll down)

Vigo UltimaDork
12/28/18 11:23 a.m.

Do you think owning a PHEV would be similar to owning a traditional gas only car for 90% of how people drive? What are your thoughts on Mitsubishi as a manufacturer?

You can drive a phev as if you have no idea that it's a phev and nothing bad will happen. The only thing that requires extra user interaction is plugging it in at night and unplugging it before you drive off. If you choose not to or forget to charge it it reverts to a regular hybrid. It still has normal controls and will drive hundreds of miles until it runs out of gas.  

I don't have any problems with modern Mitsus other than a general sadness that they don't have more of a development budget. I think the Outlander itself is a perfectly decent SUV but it's been coasting on an oldish design for years now. The PHEV is still in a class of one if you want a PHEV in an SUV body style. I haven't looked into the long term reliability of them (the phev has been on sale elsewhere for a pretty long time now) but in general I don't think modern mitsus are unreliable and being that it's new you could probably get a pretty comprehensive extended warranty if you plan to keep it for a long time. 

Mazdax605 UberDork
12/28/18 11:35 a.m.

Just doing a little research, and it turns out that Mitsubishi has a sorta cool feature where you can set up pre-cooling, or heating of the interior with an app on your phone while it is plugged in. I assume it is using an electric heater for the heating portion, and I'm not sure how the A/C would work without the engine running, but maybe there is a way. That is pretty cool even though some of the reviews of the app make it sound a little cumbersome. Also you can set up a timer for charging during off peak electrical rate hours if that applies, and turn on your headlights in a dark parking area to help located the car.  I think we might go check one out soon. I wonder if there are still tax incentives available for buying EV's?



Sonic UltraDork
12/28/18 12:22 p.m.

I would be leery of buying any modern Mitsubishi for fears of support when they finally give up on the US market, particularly on something as computer intensive as a PHEV.   They are also sure to depreciate like they are on fire, so if you plan to ever sell it you are sure to take quite a bath.  

12/28/18 1:03 p.m.
Sonic said:

I would be leery of buying any modern Mitsubishi for fears of support when they finally give up on the US market, particularly on something as computer intensive as a PHEV.   They are also sure to depreciate like they are on fire, so if you plan to ever sell it you are sure to take quite a bath.  

What? They're making money; march of 2018 was one of their best years in recent memory. Even if they did "leave", they still have to have some presence for repairs and parts, as shown by the fact my home city still has a Suzuki dealership.

Mazdax605 UberDork
12/28/18 1:11 p.m.

In reply to Sonic :

Good points. I don't see Mitsubishi leaving the USA, but I have been wrong many times. With regard to the depreciation. We tend to keep cars a long time. Our 06 Toyota Sienna has been with us since Jan 3rd of 2007, and I plan to keep it even longer. I wonder if there are any good rebates due to the time of year, and there must be some tax incentives available for EV's. Maybe we could score a sweet deal and save money on gasoline as well?

Vigo UltimaDork
12/28/18 9:19 p.m.

I'm not sure how the A/C would work without the engine running, but maybe there is a way.

Pretty much all hybrids have electrically driven ac compressors nowadays.  

Klayfish PowerDork
12/29/18 7:54 a.m.

My confidence level that Mitsubishi won't pull out of the US market soon is quite low.  I also very much agree with Sonic about their rate of depreciation, but if you're sure you'd keep it until death do you part, then that won't be an issue.  Just be sure to have gap insurance.  Heaven forbid it get totaled in the first few years you own it, you'll be seriously upside down unless you put a monster deposit down.

Their latest round of commercials, however, makes me hope they leave the US market soon.  Damn, they're even worse than the Toyota commercials of old.  Yeah, having some white kid salesman trying to rap during a test drive really makes me want to run out and buy one....  Is he trying to district me from the fact that I'm driving an SUV with an Eclipse badge on it?

Erich UberDork
12/29/18 8:13 a.m.

I leased my LEAF, and I'd highly recommend it for the Outlander PHEV if you do go that route. We really don't know anything long-term about the reliability of the Mitsu system. There's no reason for it not to be reliable I suppose, but many Manufacturers require dealers to get specialized equipment and training to service EVs. Many dealers don't do that, and those that do often have only one or two techs certified - if they're off, you might be waiting to get it serviced. I'm not sure that's the case with Mitsu, but the long-term uncertainty would have me wanting to lease rather than own.

Also there's the issue with the tax incentive. If you lease your payments are reduced due to the tax incentive. If you buy you pay full price but get some money off your taxes come tax time (if you qualify) - it usually works out better to lease.

And finally come trade-in time, Mitsu may not want your PHEV back, and they might cut you a real sweet deal. Nissan knocked $7500 off my residual when I was going to turn it in. 

12/29/18 3:42 p.m.

The opposite is true at the same time, however. The S-AWC is the same system used in the Lancer Ralliart/EVO and the 4B11 engine. Complex electrical system yes, but it's built on prooven stuff.

Mazdax605 UberDork
12/29/18 9:44 p.m.

Test drove a PHEV today. It was pretty impressive! The battery was almost dead, so it was basically a gas only drive. It wasn't nearly as loud as some of the reviews I've read said it was. It wasn't super powerful as the V6 one we drove before, but also wasn't terrible. The different levels of regenerative braking was amazing!! On the most aggressive setting, just letting off the throttle made the car slow as if you were using the regular brakes. 


Leasing seems to be the best way to get one of these. Unfortunately Massachusetts is removing the electric vehicle tax credit as of January 1st, so we would have to make up our mind soon. Unfortunately I don't know if we can make it work financially, but we'll see I guess. 

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