Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Test Drive Review

FEB 13 2014 BY JAY COLE 35

We Caught The Outlander PHEV Recently Ourselves At The Tokyo Motor Show

We Caught The Outlander PHEV Recently Ourselves At The Tokyo Motor Show

We have to admit that before checking out Autocar’s review of the Outlander PHEV we have some pre-conceived notions on the plug-SUV and how it is being received.

Despite Battery Issues That Halted Production For 4 Months, Mitsu Still Sold 9,608 Outlander PHEVs in 2013 In Japan - slightly better than i-MiEV sales

Despite Battery Issues That Halted Production For 4 Months, Mitsu Still Sold 9,608 Outlander PHEVs in 2013 In Japan – slightly better than i-MiEV sales

To say it is being received well would be an understatement, as the extended range Outlander sold almost 5,000 copies in the Netherlands in December alone ; which stands as the high-water market for any EV sold into any market.

In less than a year, and having to still arrive in many countries, Mitsubishi has sold about 18,000 of Outlander PHEVs worldwide – no small feat.

How strong is the demand?  The Outlander PHEV was originally to debut this month in the United States; but why sell here when you can sell at home? Americans now have to wait an extra 12 months to own one themselves.

…table set – onto the review!

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Interior Seats Five

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Interior Seats Five

Autocar first does a little house cleaning by stating that the NEDC test cycle rating of 148 MPG is flat out not going to happen, saying that they don’t believe – and neither does Mitsubishi.

Depending on where you live in the world the Outlander can be rated as having as much as 37 miles of range (we expect somewhere in the low to mid 20s when it arrives in the US) and Autocar finds that the five seat SUV can indeed get about 32 miles on electricity alone, with this disclaimer:

“It goes without saying that the potential range and economy will vary depending on the types of roads and driving style, but it’s still a decent indication of the benefits of the plug-in hybrid system, which switches between a 2.0-litre petrol motor and two electric motors according to needs.”

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Gets A Boost In Tokyo (L2/CHAdeMO configuration shown)

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Gets A Boost In Tokyo (L2/CHAdeMO configuration shown)

And that extended range system doesn’t intrude into the living space much at all (there is a loss of 14 litres behind the rear seats), while stating that only differences of note is the added weight of the electric drivetrain and 12 kWh battery.

As for the driving experience and ride, Autocar finds a lot of quality in the cabin compartment and remarks how the “EV controls” are present, but not over-powering.

“Battery charged, the Outlander starts silently and stays eerily quiet for as long as you have charge and the car calculates that it is the best way to be using energy. On full throttle the 80bhp electric motors – the back one producing peak torque of 144lb ft and the front 101lb ft – can power the car from 0-62mph in 11.0sec, and they can – and often do – remain unassisted by the engine beyond 70mph.

The result, a common trait among all electric vehicles, is an impressively refined drive. What’s more, Mitsubishi has done a decent job of quelling, if not suppressing, the road and wind noise that become more apparent without the masking of engine noise.”

The plug-in Outlander also allows the driver to hold any level of charge with the battery, or use the petrol engine to charge the battery back to 70 per cent of its capacity, which Autocar says is  “ideal for saving battery power for zero emissions driving in town, when towing or anticipating extensive 4×4 usage.”  The Outlander PHEV is rated for towing 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs), a big plus to be sure.

As always Autocar wraps with their review by asking the question, “should I buy one?”

Unfortunately, as Autocar is based out of the UK, you can’t actually buy one there yet, as the Mitsu doesn’t go on sale until April – and has yet to be priced.

“In Europe, the PHEV is currently priced at around £35k – and it’s an appealing proposition at that price – but until UK pricing is confirmed, all you can say with confidence is that the Outlander PHEV is a very fine car indeed.”

Specifications of the Outlander PHEV (NEDC)

  • Maximum driving range : 824 km (512 miles)
  • Range in Pure EV Mode : 52 km (32 miles) – look for it to get about 20-22 miles of range on US/EPA standard
  • Fuel consumption : 1.9 l/100 km
  • CO2 emissions : 44 g/km
  • Maximum speed : 170 km/h (105 mph – where legal)
  • Weight: 1,810 kg (3,990lbs)


  • 5 hours – normal charging (230V / 10A)
  • 30 minutes – quick charging / up to 80% (CHAdeMO standard)


Video (below): Mitsubishi Japan TV spot on the Outlander PHEV

Categories: Mitsubishi, Test Drives


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35 Comments on "Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Test Drive Review"

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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Wow, that’s slow, and the L2 charging appears lame (unless that’s the equivalent of L1 in the UK).

Still, it’s an SUV with more room than Volt, so I’m sure it’ll go gangbusters.

The 11 second 0-60 is fairly close to the non-PHEV 4-cyl AWD version of the same SUV.

0-60 mph: 10.2 seconds for the non-PHEV according to MotorWeek:

The 4-cyl is apparently the most popular engine choice for this SUV, so I don’t think that the 0-60 times are going to be a problem with this SUV’s intended market audience. It is designed to be a work-horse, not a race-horse. For that, buyers would want the Model X.

This is for Worldwide Compatibility I’m sure, for instance, Switzerland only allows a maximum single-phase current drain of 16 amps. There were no exact specifics , but 10 amps I believe is a ‘standard’ current in the UK, so the car may have the ‘worldwide standard’ of 3.3 kw and maybe actually capable of 16 amps.

Seeing as the Imiev has a 3.3 kw charger, its not unreasonable to expect that the same part is also used in the Outlander. This would give it a very acceptible 3 1/2 hour chargetime.

The only kicker to that is supposedly some of the Porsche’s apparently cannot do even 3.3 kw. And the charger docking stations take up most of the wall area to boot. GM, Nissan, Toyota, and many others for a while at least standardized at 3.3 kw since, for those countries who have limitiations, its the absolute most allowed.

‘UK pricing for the Outlander PHEV will be announced ahead of its launch this Spring, and Mitsubishi Motors is targeting whole life cost parity with the diesel version, aimed at giving fleet and retail customers a choice of whichever drivetrain best suits their driving patterns.’

Video of interior here:

Those who have been inconvenienced by recent and current power cuts should note that the Outlander is set up to operate as an emergency power generator for your home, and of course being a PHEV not a BEV can supply power for as long as you have petrol.

It can also run power tools away from home.


Say, with only 12 KWh to fill, shouldn’t ChaDeMo be done in like 15 minutes tops? But then, I find it hard to envision the QC scenario for this car, unless you are really principled at squeezing out electric miles even if it costs you extra time/$$.

Maybe a common QC use case would be a corporate/institutional setting where they have many ChaDeMo vehicles and their own QC station, so the Outlander can re-juice during pit stops the drivers do anyway at HQ.

Or in dual gas/ChaDeMo filling stations, which probably exist in Japan.

Other scenarios anyone?

They may have set it up that way to keep the charge rates down and go easier on the battery.
They have to work hard in a PHEV anyway, relative to a BEV, and cycle much more frequently.
Personally I would not get greedy and would not normally quick charge a PHEV, just charge it at home then run on petrol unless I could slow charge it at work.

GM in the Volt notoriously allowed big safety margins, and uses only a low percentage of the battery pack, so that it has margin for lots of fast charging also.

The Volt has 16kwh, and this only 12kwh, and is moving a big, heavy, not particularly aerodynamic car at up to 70mph. even if for rather less miles than the Volt.
That means its SOC is probably around 80%, which gives it a lot less spare than the Volt.

Rather slower fast charge seems a reasonable precaution to take, if that is indeed something that the Mitsubishi engineers have deliberately put in for this purpose.


Again, I can see a fleet use case where QC would be frequently used during pit stops.

Chademo is a bi-directional system, it can be used to get electricity out of the car too. The AC charger on other PHEVs can not do it.

Nissan could expand waiting rooms, to include entertaining Outlander folk, of corse.

If Mitsubishi really wanted a home-run in the US, they should look into fitting higher density batteries into their current battery pack. If they used higher density batteries, then theoretically, they wouldn’t need to build a pack that is physically bigger, and wouldn’t have to redesign as much.

Bumping up to a 16 kWh pack would increase the Federal incentive to the full $7,500, $1,664 dollars more than what it will qualify for with the 12 kWh pack.

All they need to do that is higher density batteries.
Its a shame that they haven’t got them.

They have just started a research program with Bosch to develop higher density.
It is non-trivial, and the chemistry is entirely different to that in a BEV.

IMHO any viable PHEV that lands in America has the potential of being a great hit.

Especially one that will arrive with definite hit vibes in Europe and Japan.

I think the major Japanese EV makers (Nissan and Mitsu) have been playing a smart game in not over-investing in huge batteries/safety margins. That’s how you get good-value cars to the masses rather than elites.

Agree. It is a class of family vehicle where economy and true utility are tops. Could the rest of the world be wrong?

To be honest, I prefer the US makers’ approach of active management and protecting for longevity, although I’m glad there are two different approaches. I think the active approach will lead to better, cheaper batteries simply because less focus is needed on the durability, and range and performance will help sell cars.

New higher density batteries must first prove to have the same or better life-time, before they can be used in a mass product. Image one million battery packs would die close to the end of 5-8 years warranty and had to be replaced for free, a smaller manufacturer, like Mitsubishi Motors, would not survive it.

The Volvo V60 plug-in tows 1800 kg (4000 lbs) legally. And I’ve seen it pull a 3300 kg (7300 lbs) boat + trailer without any problems what so ever.

Physically being able to pull something, and being able to safely survive an emergency situation are two entirely different things. For example, you may be able to get the engine to pull double the rated weight down the road at 65 MPH because you have enough engine. But what happens to the braking distance? Are the brakes up to it? How about when going downhill? Will they fade and boil the brake fluid because you are greatly exceeding what they were designed to handle, leaving you without any brakes? What happens if the trailer begins swaying due to heavy winds? The way you survive trailer sway is to have enough vehicle weight, wheelbase, and stiff enough suspension and tires to resist the sway. This is all part of what is used to calculate towing capacity. Not to mention whether or not the hitch mount is rated for the weight. Every time I hear somebody talk about they towed XXXX weight with a vehicle rated at way less, and they say “no problems”, I think: “yea, no problems YET”. Why is it that some people refuse to learn until they kill themselves or somebody else?

Not the point really. The point was that “Unlike any other plug-in vehicle in existence, the Outlander PHEV is rated for towing 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs) electrically, a big plus to be sure.” is a false statement.

Of course safety should come first and that there is a reason for having a rated towing weight. My intention wasn’t to encourage anyone to do anything stupid. In the same way as when someone says a car has been seen driving 200+ km/h it’s not supposed to be an encouragement for someone else to do it.

And what’s even funnier is that the Volvo V60 plug-in is for sale in the UK and was the 5th best selling EV in UK in 2013 even though it was introduced late in the year.

So InsideEVs needs to be better informed about the EV business so it doesn’t continue to spread EV lies. 😉

Fair enough.
The Volvo is a pretty expensive bit of kit though, starting at £50k.
A few sales in the UK obviously did not come over the event horizon of a US based website! 😉

Apparently the diesel engine is bit clunky and noisy too.

Well… It was the 7th most sold EV world wide in 2013 and the 4th most sold EV in Europe.:)

But then again… since there are so many models of EV’s out there I guess it’s hard to keep track of them all…I mean, there must be at least 20 models out there 😛 I tried to learn the top 10 models by writing them on my fingers to remember them. But when I had written the first 5 I realised that I can’t read what I write with my weaker hand so I had to stop at 5 and missed the rest in the top 10. 😛

…actually (=

The Volvo V60 can only tow that in “Power” dual mode, with the electric motor AND the ICE engaged. So sure you ‘can’ technically pull that, but not on pure electricity.

Of note, that 1800 kg is only rated for a trailer with power brakes, it drops to 750 kg (1653 lb) for anything without brakes.

(sidenote: I really like the Volvo V60 plug-in, if its replacement is even slightly better it should do very well both in Europe and the US)

I’ve never said anything about it doing it in pure EV mode. I’ve never heard about anyone trying it but surely it’s not recomended

But the Outlander doesn’t tow 1500 kg without the ICE either. So we are back to the false statement that still needs correction.

The first EV to tow that in pure EV mode will surely be the Model X (legally that is, I’m sure someone has tried it with a Model S already… and I know for sure that 1300 kg has been tried with a Leaf)

Well, if you find some Outlander PHEV specs from Mitsu that says it can’t do it in all-electric mode, I would be happy to correct the piece – it is my understanding that it can. I haven’t seen it tow myself (yet)…although that certainly does not mean it isn’t true, (=

And by the way… it’s 750 kg for the Outlander too without a power breaking trailer. So it’s exactly the same specs except that the V60 is allowed to tow more weight.

The burden of proof is always on the journalist/writer of the article (well… any serious journalist and at any serious publishing media that is).
So I both want to see the “fact” that you base your article on that the Outlander can tow 1500 kg in all electric mode.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing your fact that the Volvo can’t do it. It shouldn’t be hard since you obviously has that fact somewhere.

Ok, you might be getting a bit excited over this. I don’t have the willpower to prove or disprove your argument about the Volvo’s abilities in the discussion section.

As the towing capacity of the Mitsubishi (let alone the Volvo V60) is not at all what the story was about, I will change the article to merely state that the Outlander can tow 1,500 kg, (=

Mitsu apparently is shipping over some RHD-spec Outlander PHEVs for media to test out shortly…I’ll be sure to see how she tows!

That is a bit too hard.
Reasonable journalistic standards should be adhered to, and its clear that they likely just forgot about the V60, so it would seem simpler for Jay just to admit that, maybe make a correction if he feels like it, and move on.

They are not on the other hand engaged in writing a research project or a thesis, and are simply bringing news items to our attention, so that it is unreasonable to expect unerring accuracy or demand that full references and so on should be given.

Why don’t you hunt down the facts if you are so interested and post them on this thread?

This is likely a good place to start:

Hmm… I can’t see all posts. I hope my appology and appreciation for the work done here got through.

Thanks for the kind words, its all good. We try our best – but certainly are still far from perfect, (=

Wow.. the 0-60 time of 11 seconds is kind of slow… the question is, is the time quoted just for electric drive, or is that period? I’m hoping that if the gas engine is running it could be faster.

My understanding is the gas engine is only used at high speeds, never during initial acceleration. Corrections welcome.

The automatic version of the regular Outlander takes 11.7 seconds 0-60 anyway, so the PHEV is not particularly slow for the model:

That sort of acceleration is quite acceptable in this sort of vehicle by European standards.
The big difference between driving here and in the States is that there are not many urban motorways here, comparatively speaking.
So in commuting and regular use a lot less time is spent at speed.

That is one of the reasons for the difference in mpg, with American websites repeatedly complaining that European mileage figures for cars are unrealistic.
If you are driving the same car in the US, sure.
In Europe, not so much.
Funnily enough European mileage ratings were developed to give an indication of the sort of mpg you can expect in European conditions, not in American conditions!