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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Despite being on the market for quite some time, the Mitsubishi Outlander has yet to establish itself as a strong contender for the best-selling model in its segment; the compact-size SUV. In late 2022, the Japanese automaker released the redesigned version of the plug-in hybrid variant of the Outlander, which, at that point, was quite popular but was starting to lack compared to more evolved options from the competition. Now, the Outlander PHEV is more refined, powerful and fuel-efficient; our test model has an MSRP of $60,611.50 and is built at the Okazaki plant in Japan.

Photo by Vince P. Szigeti
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

In 2021, Mitsubishi released a new larger Outlander, sharing its underpinnings with the new Nissan Rogue. It picked up some design clues from the previous generation while emphasizing the crescent-shaped chrome trims on the front grille to stand out more. The LED running lights are separate from the headlamps and are arranged in a roundish unit, making it easier to spot your car from a distance. The design of the Outlander has been upgraded to appear more impressive, particularly with the addition of creases on the body panels and a black roof. The new wheel design also plays a part in this new direction; this attention to detail helps the new Outlander stand out. The taillights have shrunk, but now they're all illuminated in the dark rather than only the exterior portion, as in the previous generation.

The interior of the Outlander has undergone significant improvements, making it the most noticeable aspect of the vehicle. The car has exciting features such as massaging seats, a fully digital gauge cluster, and a large panoramic sunroof. Inside, a mix of colours with orange accents and chrome trims create a lively and vibrant space. When you open the door, you will see the good-looking quilted leather seats in the two rows of seats. You will find the new 12.3" fully-digital driver display in the driver's seat, which has most features found in similar gauges. While no full-screen map is available, you can still get the directions on the cluster, and the graphics for the speedometer and tachometer are pretty cool. The steering wheel is large and has all the buttons needed for the audio and the cruise control with the paddle shifters, which adjust the regenerative braking level. The center console is practical, with a dedicated area for the climate controls under the air vents and the 9" infotainment screen over them. The screen is user-friendly, adequately sized, and has wireless Apple Carplay connectivity. With the button Camera on the bottom right, you can quickly see on the display if you're close to the sidewalk or an object in front when you are driving at low speeds—a quick note on the Bose audio system, an excellent addition for the audiophiles out there.

As for the rest of the interior, the new generation of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can sit up to seven, but the third-row seats are for small children. When using the third row, legroom is limited, headroom could be more optimal, and the cargo space is reduced to two backpacks. It's still usable enough to bring your kids' friends home from the party. The second row is spacious and versatile; you can fold part of it to transport long items or slide it to increase legroom. You can also adjust the backrest, turn on the heated seats or adjust the climate control for added comfort (there are also two USB chargers under those controls). In the top trim, you will have sunshades on the doors, which is a fantastic feature. If you need to transport cargo, you can quickly fold down the second and third rows from the trunk to a nearly flat floor. The Outlander is one of the largest vehicles in its segment, one of the most practical compact SUVs.

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid runs on a 2.4L direct injection four-cylinder engine that produces 131 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque. This engine works with two electric motors, producing 248 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque combined. With the extra weight due to the 20 kWh battery pack, the acceleration is leisurely but adequate at roughly 6.5 seconds. Charging times on levels 1 and 2 are underwhelming compared to rivals, with times averaging 16 and 6 ½ hours, respectively. On the plus side, the electric range has improved to an official figure of 61 km (38 mi) and using a fast charger; you can regain 80% of the battery in 36 minutes. The Outlander is the only PHEV currently offering all three charge levels on the market. The fuel economy is average when driving in hybrid mode, so you get the full advantage when you plug the car in at your home or workplace, as the figures for combined city and highway driving is around 9L/100km (26 MPG).

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

Now onto the driving part of the Outlander PHEV, the acceleration is more lively than the previous generation. The engineers have improved the plug-in hybrid SUV to make the gas engine sound less intrusive inside the cabin and enhance the overall performance on the road. Also, the electric powertrain is more powerful; it can now bring the vehicle up to highway speed without needing a single drop of fuel. Furthermore, it's now more responsive to the pedal; you can feel the punch of the electric motors alongside the internal combustion engine, and flooring isn't a big problem anymore. The vehicle's handling has significantly improved. It remains stable while cornering, and the suspensions manage shifting weight well, resulting in a smoother ride. You can enjoy an energetic performance from the Outlander without compromising on the driving experience.

Interior trunk Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Photo by Alain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

The second generation Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arrives at a great time. It's proven to be a reliable option for families looking to maximize the usage of the electric battery with the peace of mind that a hybrid powertrain brings for a significant percentage of people. You may not be the biggest fan of the styling, but this vehicle delivers on many aspects, including interior space, comfort and range.

Mitsubishi has lent us this vehicle as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Mitsubishi Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion.

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