Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews

In 2012, Mitsubishi – at the Paris Motor Show – revealed a plug-in hybrid variant of the third generation Outlander. Fast forward to today, and here is the road ready version out and about on our roads.

Being the first production plug-in hybrid SUV on the market, it makes you realise that a plug-in hybrid doesn’t have to be small, impractical and uncomfortable. It can, in fact, be great for families, a weekend away and more.

What’s with the name you ask? Well, the Outlander PHEV is short for Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. So with that out of the way, what does it have under the hood to make it a hybrid?

Let’s find out.

Technology

For the Outlander PHEV, it’s a hybrid because of the bank of batteries and electric motors producing 120kW of power to all four wheels. These give you a pure electric driving range of 52km’s. This range is long enough for most people to get to and from work, plus duck down to the shops during lunch.

Acting as a backup power source, there’s also an 87kW petrol combustion engine that acts as a generator to charge the batteries, or provide a boost of power when accelerating hard. 

Whilst the electric motors, batteries and generator are the biggest changes to the Outlander for this PHEV model, let’s get on with the review to explore how this works in the real world, and how it affects its handling and driving composure.

Initial Impression

In Europe, it has been topping sales charts since its release and last year the Outlander PHEV made up 15% of all global SUV sales worldwide, so unlike other hybrid vehicles, this looks to be one compelling SUV already.

When it comes to looks, the Outlander PHEV looks just like all other current Outlander models. The only major noticeable differences are the Outlander PHEV badges.

So in this respect, it’s very understated in a really good way. Not everyone wants to drive around and feel like they’re making a political statement just because their car is a hybrid.

When it comes to the interior, again the Outlander is very similar to its other models except for the gearshift leaver and instrument cluster.

This model is available in two models, the Outlander PHEV and the Outlander PHEV Aspire. With the Aspire coming with a few more creature comforts, it appears that early adopters are choosing this model.

Standard options for the Outlander PHEV include front fog lamps, dusk sensing wipers, rain sensing wipers, and 7 SRS airbags.

In our Outlander PHEV Aspire review model, we have chrome exterior door handles, leather seats with front seat heaters, power tailgate, power sunroof, forward collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. 

At the time of writing, drive away pricing for the Outlander PHEV starts from $49,990 and for the Outlander PHEV Apsire from $54,990. This means that it is one of the most affordable Plug-In Hybrid vehicles on the market.

So, for the money it is looking like a great package with awesome fuel economy.

Drivability

Compared to the standard Outlander PHEV, the dynamics of how the SUV performs on the road has been changed slightly due to the addition of batteries, electric motors and other related pieces of technology.

With the batteries sitting in the floor, between the front and rear wheels, there is a lower centre of gravity and thus improved stability when cornering. This is further enhanced with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control system, originally developed for the performance orientated Lancer Evolution X.

One big draw card is fuel economy, and with an official rating of 1.9 litres per 100km, you’re in for some awesome economy figures.  Based off a 15,000km per year average, you could travel all 40km per day on electric power alone.

During our review, the Outlander PHEV went everywhere. It first moved house, visited Mount Tamborine, visited family and went out to dinner over a long weekend. In other words, all the tasks which any other SUV would be asked to do. 

Unsurprisingly, the Outlander PHEV didn’t miss a beat and performed well beyond our expectation.   Thanks to a number of driving modes that allow you to either use 100% of the battery, charge the battery, save battery charge or operate in more of a traditional hybrid mode, we were able to get the most out of the electric range. 

Even on the highway the adaptive cruise control made the longer trips less stressful and more enjoyable as you didn’t constantly need to adjust your cruise control to deal with vehicles travelling at different speeds to you.

For those who travel during peak hour traffic, the unexpected stopped car can be enough to ruin your day if you don’t see it soon enough. The forward collision mitigation system should help you react that little bit faster.

Practicality 

Just like every other SUV, practicality is extremely important. Otherwise the whole purpose of the vehicle is lost. The Outlander PHEV seems to do a respectable job and remaining practical and still finding somewhere to store the extra tech.

The on board charger and rear motor control unit sits underneath the cargo floor in the boot, unfortunately this means that Mitsubishi wasn’t able to include a third row of seats. 

However, the Outlander PHEV performs just as well as our Outlander 2WD ES did in our earlier review when it comes to rear storage space. The square boot entry means that large or awkward items fit relatively easily in the rear, and that you can squeeze in that little bit more.

Cost​

Mitsubishi surprised many people with the drive away pricing for the Outlander PHEV at its launch. The drive away pricing of $49,990 for the Outlander PHEV and $54,990 for the Outlander PHEV Aspire makes it the cheapest plug-in hybrid on the market of any size.

It’s a breakthrough for plug-in hybrids and the first to truly deliver practicality and extreme fuel economy.

Capped price servicing is included for 4 Years or 60,000km with the first service costing $360, and $470 for the remaining three services.

Mitsubishi also has included a 5 Year/100,000km warranty that includes cover for the battery to add some peace of mind for owners of the Outlander PHEV.

Conclusion​

There’s a reason why the MY14 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been dominating sales charts in European countries. It’s because of all the reasons above. It’s practical, super fuel efficient, comfortable to drive, capable and above all: Affordable.

Mitsubishi have made steps to break down the barrier to entry with the Outlander PHEV, making this a hybrid for everyday people wanting to not just have a positive impact on the environment, but also save their hip pocket in the long run.

Be sure to check out the Outlander PHEV yourself by coming in for a test drive! Alternatively you can see our stock online.