If you've been considering making the switch to an electric vehicle but range anxiety is holding you back, perhaps you should check out the latest plug-in hybrids that straddle the line between all-electric and gasoline power. The latest entrant among plug-in hybrid SUVs is the all-new 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and it has the potential to reestablish Mitsubishi's foothold in the U.S.
With a gasoline engine under the hood, a battery pack under the floor and two electric motors, the Outlander PHEV is estimated to provide up to 38 miles of electric-only range on a single charge. Once the battery is depleted, the gasoline engine takes over, effectively eliminating range anxiety, though fuel economy in this mode is estimated at a paltry 26 mpg. Rivals in this class are estimated between 35 and 40 mpg.
Replenishing the battery should take about 6.5 hours on a 240-volt charger but the top Outlander trim also comes with DC fast-charging capability that will get you back to an 80% charge in only 38 minutes. Unfortunately, that quick charge requires an older CHAdeMO receptacle, which is being phased out among public charging stations.
While there are some drawbacks related to efficiency, the Outlander PHEV makes up for it with surprisingly strong performance. Acceleration is immediate and should propel it to 60 mph in under 7 seconds, but the real star is its sporty handling. Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system expertly sends power to specific wheels to carve through turns with inspiring precision, making it a standout among its rivals.
If you're one of the rare drivers seeking more thrills from a fairly efficient SUV, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV should be at the top of your list. If you're more interested in ultimate efficiency, you'd be better served by the plug-in versions of the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4 Prime.
It's not often that we recommend the top trim for a vehicle, but in this case the SEL trim makes sense. For a reasonable amount of money, you get several aesthetic, convenience and luxury features, as well as a few option packages that are exclusive to this model.
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a compact plug-in hybrid SUV powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors (one for the front wheels and the other for the rear) that are fed by a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery in the floor. Combined output is 248 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.