Flash Drive: 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Three-Row Compact SUV with a Plug
There probably isn’t a more important model for Mitsubishi than the all-new 2023 Outlander Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). Why so important? Mitsubishi says the Outlander PHEV is bringing together their best expressions of design, ride and interior space along with performance and off- road capability. Clean Fleet Report spent a day driving the 2023 Outlander PHEV at a media-only event in Nashville, Tennessee, experiencing highways, country roads, city traffic and some sloppy, muddy driving.
Look for a full Road Test review soon, until then this Flash Drive will give an introduction to the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Propulsion: Electric, Gasoline and Both
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is powered by a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that combined with twin electric motors produces 248 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Those two electric motors are important for fuel efficiency and performance. The fuel economy is rated at 68 MPGe, or miles per gallon equivalent, when combining electricity and gasoline. MPGe is a measurement of how far a car can travel, electrically, on the same amount of energy as is contained in one gallon of gasoline.
What’s newsworthy though is the 38 miles of all-electric driving the Outlander PHEV delivers when the 20.0 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery is fully charged. Those 38 miles of all-electric driving places the Outlander PHEV at the top-end range of plug-in hybrids of any type, but especially among SUVs.
The battery can be charged by plugging in to one of three charge speeds.
- 120V: Level 1 – 12 hours
- 240V: Level 2 – 6.5 hours
- DC Fast Charging: 38 minutes for an 80% charge at 105 amps or higher (CHAdeMO connector)
Energy consumption choices are Hybrid, EV, Battery Charge and Battery Save. Combine these with the drive modes and the traction modes and driving the Outlander PHEV can be customized in any number of ways.
The battery can also be charged by the engine. When stationary, it will take about 94 minutes to achieve an 80% charge. The Outlander PHEV can also charge the battery when in motion.
For even more convenience, the Outlander PHEV has a 1,500-watt, 100-volt AC power supply to charge e-bikes, camping and outdoor equipment, run your office while traveling or even be an electricity source during a power outage.
Driving Experience: On- and Off-Road
The twin electric motor 4WD system integrates Mitsubishi’s S-AWC, or Super All-Wheel Control, to electronically optimize stability, braking and yaw control, resulting in a smooth ride and steady handling. The three driver-selectable drive modes of Eco, Normal and Power were accompanied by four traction modes of Tarmac, Gravel, Snow and Mud.
We stayed in Normal for most of the highway and in-town driving, but when invited to take a few hot laps around the 2.1 mile racetrack at the Polecat Training Center, 90 miles south of Nashville, we opted for Tarmac that stiffened the steering and produced the most power. When given the chance to get the Outlander PHEV dirty, we went for the Mud setting and had a bit of fun.
So what did we learn about the handling and stability? Tipping the scales at 4,244 pounds and a front to rear weight distribution of 54%/46%, the highway ride absorbed road imperfections well, with sweeping turns at 70 mph easy and without body lean. Heading onto country roads we went with the Power drive mode for maximum performance. Again, the S-AWD system kept the Outlander easily within the lines and even allowed for taking corners above the posted speed limit. The steering was quick and crisp. This falls in-line with what Mitsubishi says is “secure road performance that provides drivers with confidence.”
The Nexen Roadian GTX 255/40/20 touring tires gripped well without any slippage when cornering aggressively. Stopping was average for what we have tested in this category, with no fading from the four-wheel disc, ABS system, aided by the electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and stability and traction control. The Outlander PHEV has regenerative braking where kinetic braking energy is converted into electricity when slowing or coasting, and that electricity is then stored in the battery. The steering wheel-mounted paddles control the amount of regeneration to the point where almost all routine driving can be done without using the brake pedal. Since this is not a true one-pedal driving system, applying the brakes to come to a full stop will be necessary. We were glad to see the Auto Hold feature that keeps the car stopped without needing to hold down the brake pedal.
Our brief time in the mud was to demonstrate how the 4WD S-AWC system shifted power to the wheel most in need of traction, which it did very well as sloshing around in hub-deep sticky goo we needed all the help we could get.
Updated Exterior & Interior
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander is built on a compact crossover platform developed through the company’s alliance with Renault and Nissan, with an emphasis on a collision-energy absorption design using high-tension steel around the passenger cabin. The bold front end featuring the Dynamic Shield grille, with LED head, fog and daytime running lights, sets the design stage. The sides have distinct character lines running from the front doors to the rear LED tail lights that frame the lift gate. The nearly flat roof has rack rails, a shark fin antenna, twin glass sunroofs and a spoiler over the rear power hands-free lift gate. The exterior can be ordered in eight different colors with two of them, White Diamond and Black Diamond, available with contrasting roof colors.
The interior also has been updated with a horizontal theme for the dash that is covered mostly in soft padding with overstitching. The dash layout is simple and clean, with easy-to-find controls in the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Clean Fleet Report is big fans of volume and channel selecting radio knobs, and Mitsubishi didn’t disappoint. The dual automatic climate control wheels were a different size than those of the radio, and were located away from the radio to eliminate any confusion. This may not seem like a big thing, but it is when reaching for these very different controls in the dark–regardless of your familiarity with the dash layout.
The center console has a joystick-style gear selector with the traction mode wheel close-by, and a padded armrest that opens to reveal a deep storage area. The front seats are covered in black fabric (for the base ES) or semi-aniline leather with quilting. They’re heated with power adjustments that include massage. A comfortable driving position was possible by adjusting the leather-wrapped, tilt and telescopic steering wheel that had audio, telephone, and cruise controls.
The Outlander comfortably seats five, with a third row able to handle two, for emergency use, by the small set. The third row will most likely be laid flat for storage that increases greatly to 80.31 inches with the second row folded flat.
The simplicity of the dash layout made reading the gauges, with black faces and white numbers, easy on the eyes. The audio system was supported by a 9-inch touch screen that was trimmed in gloss black with silver accents. The system has HD AM/FM with USB ports, Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone. SiriusXM, Apple Car Play and Android Auto completed the package. An optional Bose system has nine speakers and a subwoofer.
Other helpful interior features are the second-row seat folding armrest with cup holders, rear heater floor ducts, automatic climate control with micron filter, power windows and door locks, heated and power outside mirrors, cargo tie-down hooks, auto-dimming rearview mirror and 12-volt accessory outlets.
Safety and Convenience
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV comes with a full-color 10.8-inch head-up display, airbags and a full suite of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems). Some of the ADAS include lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. Additional technologies are rear park assist sensors, remote and passive keyless entry, a tire pressure monitoring system, hill start assist, remote engine start, an anti-theft security alarm and anti-theft immobilizer. Further features include a multi-view camera system, rear door pull-up shades, wireless phone charger and trailer stability assist.
The Outlander PHEV also has MI-Pilot driver assist. When the navigation-linked adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and lane departure warning are activated, the driver’s hands can be removed from the steering wheel for about 15 seconds.
Pricing and Warranties
The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV comes in four models with these base prices, including the mandatory $1,345 destination and handling charge.
- ES $41,190
- SE $43,490
- SEL $46,790
- 40th Anniversary Edition $51,340
The 2023 Outlander PHEV goes on sale in December 2022 with these warranties.
- Powertrain – 10 years/100,000 miles
- PHEV Components – 10 years/100,000 miles
- Battery – 10 years/100,000 miles
- New Vehicle – Five years/60,000 miles
- Anti-Corrosion – Seven years/100,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance – Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2023 Outlander PHEV
The importance to Mitsubishi of the 2023 Outlander PHEV cannot be understated. Worldwide, more than 300,000 Outlander PHEVs have been sold, making it the best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV. Guaranteed they have no interest in losing that claim.
In our short time in the Outlander PHEV we were impressed with the build quality, interior comfort, performance and, of course, the all-electric driving range of 38 miles. Clean Fleet Report will write an in-depth review after we have driven the Outlander PHEV for a full week, where we will test the fuel economy, handling and ride.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Mitsubishi.
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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