The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers a reason to take another look at this family SUV. While the regular Outlander lacks the comfort and refinement of its many competitors, the new PHEV model is one of the first vehicles to bring plug-in recharging capability to the SUV class.
Mitsubishi has sold the Outlander PHEV in other global markets for two years. Now it makes its debut in the United States. Starting at about $35,000 before applicable tax credits, the Outlander PHEV looks pretty much the same as its gas engine-only counterpart. But for the PHEV decals and badging, you wouldn't know the difference.
It's a different story under the hood, where a four-cylinder gas engine joins electric hybrid components. The engine and electric motor combination drives the front wheels, while a second electric motor drives the rear wheels. Sophisticated computer processing determines the best way to dole out power to all four wheels, although drivers can also manually engage a four-wheel-drive lock mode when desired.
Total system output is 197 horsepower, yet the Outlander PHEV's key appeal to most drivers will be its plug-in rechargeability. Mitsubishi says the Outlander plug-in can travel about 22 miles on a full charge, and you can charge from 120-volt, 240-volt or DC fast-charger sources. We'll wait to see what real-world driving actually yields, but 22 miles on all-electric power is similar to how far you can go in other plug-in hybrids.
Less impressive is the Outlander PHEV's fuel economy once the rechargeable battery is largely depleted. At just 25 mpg in combined city/highway driving, it actually does a little worse than a regular four-cylinder Outlander with all-wheel drive (26 mpg). A non-plug-in Toyota RAV4 Hybrid posts 32 mpg combined.
Plug-in utility requires some additional sacrifices. Unlike the standard Outlander, the PHEV doesn't offer three rows of seats due to placement of the battery pack and electrical components. Mitsubishi also had to use a smaller gas tank with the PHEV, and that limits overall gas-electric driving range.
But with 78 cubic feet of maximum cargo space and standard all-wheel drive, the PHEV still rates as a proper SUV. If you need the space and utility and you like the idea of maximizing miles through electricity, the Outlander PHEV warrants a close look.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a five-passenger plug-in hybrid SUV offered in two trim levels: SEL and GT. Both are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (117 horsepower) joined by a 60-kilowatt electric motor; the combination drives the front wheels, and a second 60-kW motor powers the rear wheels. Total system output is rated at 197 hp. Electrical power is stored in a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with LED accents, foglights, heated side mirrors, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, keyless entry, push-button start, leather upholstery, power-adjustable heated front seats, 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, voice controls, Bluetooth, a six-speaker sound system, a 7-inch touchscreen display, dual USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Driver safety aids include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Stepping up to the GT adds LED headlights and foglights, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, a multiview camera, dual AC power outlets (rated up to 1,500 watts), and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system. Enhanced driver aids include forward collision alert with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.
There are two main option packages. The Entertainment package includes a rear-seat DVD player with remote control and wireless headphones, while the Towing package includes a tow hitch and trailer-prepped wiring harness. There are also a handful of optional accessory and cosmetic trim packages that include items such as side mirror covers, lower air dams and cargo mats.
noise & vibration
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.