1 Week Behind The Wheel Of 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — CleanTechnica Review, Part I

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We just finished our first test drive of the year of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for CleanTechnica and the results were a car that was worth the wait, even if it is a little late to the game.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Quick Specs & Info
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (US version) Class: Mid-size SUV
Base Model: $35,535 SEL
Competition: BMW X5 xDrive40e, Volvo XC90, Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid
As Tested: $41,000 GT Powertrain: 60kW Twin AC synchronous, 137 Nm front, 195 Nm rear, 2.0L DOHC MIVEC engine 117 HP
EV Range: 19 to 29 miles (CleanTechnica test drives) Battery: 12 kWh
Gasoline Range: ~ 300 miles

Quick Pros:

  • The only PHEV with DC Quick Charging
  • 1,500 lb towing capacity
  • EV only, Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid modes
  • 5 regenerative braking modes through steering paddle shifts
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Multi-view camera, 380° and overall view
  • Rear-cross traffic sensors
  • AC power outlets in trunk and rear seats
  • Four-wheel drive (Mitsubishi S-AWC or Super All-Wheel Control)


  • The app asks access to your pictures
  • Trunk door automation is slow and the SUV can’t be locked during it
  • Entertainment system is not best in class but good enough overall
  • The app didn’t work on our test drive

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Is Here At Last, In The US

We’ve waited a long time for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, maybe as much as 5 years, but who’s been counting? Overall, the wait was worthwhile. Mitsubishi delivers a unique plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUV, a first in its class that can manage to go offroad. It is, to date, the only PHEV SUV that features two electric motors.

The Outlander PHEV impressed us in many ways and we walked away feeling that despite falling short on a few things, it is a stellar product and will set the mark high for others to follow.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV CleanTechnica Test Drive

First Impressions of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV strikes the right feel of quality without screaming a heavy luxury hand, as most other SUVs seem to try. The first obvious difference from the regular Outlander is the big EV button in the central console, which we were eager to press.

The fit and finish are very good. But the feel is what sets it apart from other PHEV SUVs. It looks good in a quiet, stated way and doesn’t try to look like it’s keeping up with the Joneses. It really doesn’t have much direct competition, especially when it comes to its overall performance and cost. The closest competition would be the BMW X5 xDrive40e, the Volvo XC90, and the Porsche Cayenne S e-Hybrid. All of those vehicles heavily accentuate the “luxury” feeling and come with the respective price bump, while Mitsubishi seems to be content with more technical engineering and a simple, refined interior at a more affordable price.

Although it doesn’t scream luxury, it won’t make you feel bad next to the competition either. And that is the one thing we liked the most about how the company executed this PHEV SUV. It’s good without trying hard. It makes us wonder how Mitsubishi will refine it over the years.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVMitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The interior is well appointed with two USB ports, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay — and a neat two standard 110-volt outlets in the rear seat console and in the trunk. This makes the Outlander PHEV perfect for tailgate parties or camping if you need to plug in … well, if you need to plug in something that needs 110V, we guess.

The Technical Side Of The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Outlander PHEV is technically a series hybrid that can act as an electric vehicle (EV) and allows you to switch to parallel mode when needed. What this translates to is that the Outlander PHEV will start in EV mode and then use the engine at higher speeds to continue charging the battery when the electric motors become less efficient or the pack depleted. The gasoline engine kicks the Outlander PHEV in parallel mode by driving the front wheels, recharging the battery part for normal hybrid driving (not the complete capacity of the pack), and finally powering the motors. This is impressive engineering and very close to the Chevy Volt. This is also what Mitsubishi told it wanted to do back in 2013.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Outlander PHEV has an interesting feature called the Battery Charging mode. What this does is use the engine to recharge the battery pack up to 80% in 40 minutes while driving at highway speeds. This is essentially meant to be used as you near your final destination and then switch to EV-only mode. This makes sense in countries like the US where gasoline prices are relatively cheap, or in places where you need a low- or zero-emission vehicle in the city. We managed to recharge up to 70% in our test drives, although we didn’t push the system to its limit.

The following videos explain the various modes in more details.

EV Mode


PHEV Series Mode


PHEV Parallel Mode


Multi-Mode Electric Driving

Pressing the “EV” button forces the Outlander PHEV into an EV Priority Mode that prevents the engine from starting. We particularly appreciated this when nearing our final destination, where we could charge the PHEV with an actual plug. The Twin Motor 4WD mode allows you to manually select all-electric driving for zero fuel consumption and a quiet ride without engine noise as you approach home (or wherever you’re going). This feature might seem like a given and it should be an option in every PHEV, but it’s not.


In part II of our CleanTechnica Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review, we’ll look into the performance of the SUV as well as the feel of its drive. Stay tuned for part II tomorrow.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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Nicolas Zart

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. He grew up in an international environment and his communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

Nicolas Zart has 572 posts and counting. See all posts by Nicolas Zart