2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV evaluate: A greater hybrid, however nonetheless onerous to suggest

Yep, the PHEV nonetheless makes use of the outdated Outlander’s physique.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

I’ve come to like plug-in hybrids for a way they ease you into electrical automobile possession. Within the case of this 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, I can determine when to make use of its 24 miles of all-electric vary, however I nonetheless have the peace of thoughts of an inside combustion engine to maintain me chugging on lengthy journeys. PHEVs actually do make going electrical straightforward. Sadly, this Mitsubishi isn’t a plug-in I might suggest.

LikeStandard all-wheel drive24 miles of all-electric rangeAble to simply accept a quick cost

Do not LikePoor driving dynamicsOutdated infotainmentCheap inside supplies

As you have in all probability observed, the 2021 Outlander PHEV remains to be the outdated model of Mitsubishi’s midsize SUV, not the swanky new 2022 mannequin that shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Rogue. Nonetheless, the outdated SUV does have some up to date tips, by means of a brand new 2.4-liter I4 engine supplemented by a pair of 60-kW and 70-kW motors, giving the Outlander all-wheel drive. Mixed, this powertrain produces 221 horsepower — 31 greater than final yr. The 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack is bigger than earlier than, permitting for an EPA-estimated 24 miles of electrical vary (up from 22). Additionally, the battery can settle for a 50-kW DC quick cost via its CHAdeMO plug, which permits the battery to attain 80% capability in 25 minutes. That is gradual in comparison with the 150-kW and 350-kW choices for full EVs, however not all plug-in hybrids have fast-charging capabilities, so this 25-minute time is some extent within the Mitsu’s favor.

The Outlander PHEV has a tiny gasoline tank — solely 11 gallons — so the SUV’s whole vary is simply 320 miles. After every week of testing, I averaged 32.1 mpg in gas-only operation and three.9 miles per kWh. The EPA says the PHEV ought to get 26 mpg and a pair of.2 miles per kWh for a mixed whole of 74 MPGe, however I clearly discovered these numbers straightforward to beat.

The Outlander has Regular, Eco and Gravel driving modes, along with Sport and Snow, that are new this yr. The Outlander PHEV may very well be a good selection for many who must cope with inclement climate. I must also level out that the Outlander PHEV competed within the 2020 Rebelle Rally, a seven-day navigational rally that takes place on the grime with out the help of GPS. The Rebelle Rally goes via among the hardest desert and mountain roads of California and Nevada, and apart from getting caught within the dunes of Glamis for a bit, the Outlander had no mechanical points and ended the rally with a third-place end within the crossover class. It is extra succesful than you would possibly suppose.

Along with driving modes, there are additionally particular EV settings. I can function the automobile in full-EV mode for that zero-emission goodness, a sequence hybrid mode that expenses the battery whereas I am driving or a parallel hybrid mode that makes use of each the battery and the gasoline engine concurrently. I may even decide and select when to make use of the electrical energy, saving it for around-town errand operating. As soon as the battery is depleted, the gas-powered engine kicks on. No matter what mode the automobile is in, energy swaps are easy and simple.

The upgraded plug-in powertrain is each extra highly effective and extra environment friendly than earlier than.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Sadly, the Outlander is not precisely good to drive. Its steering is unfastened and sloppy and the SUV feels prefer it’s everywhere on the highway. The dealing with is roly-poly but the journey high quality is harsh and uncomfortable. The brakes, nevertheless, are agency and assured, and so they do double obligation with regenerative braking sending energy again into the battery. The additional oomph from the electrical motors means there may be loads of get-up and go, however general, this is not a automobile I might need to drive on a regular basis.

On the plus facet, each Outlander PHEV comes customary with forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and automated excessive beams — and my GT trim will get the additional benefit of adaptive cruise management. All these techniques work as marketed. The lane-keeping help can simply be turned off for many who discover it annoying.

Inside, Mitsubishi’s infotainment system is simple to make use of however the touchscreen’s graphics are very dated, there aren’t any bodily quantity or tuning knobs and I had quite a lot of points making an attempt to get my cellphone to truly join utilizing the USB-A port. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are each customary, however I could not get the Outlander to register my cellphone on multiple event. Wi-fi cellphone charging isn’t provided, both.

General, the inside is hit and miss. My GT tester’s seats look fairly cool and I like the usage of contrasting stitching. Heated entrance seats are customary on all trims and the GT even has a heated steering wheel. Nonetheless, there are tons of onerous plastics and proof of cost-cutting all through the cabin. Living proof: a set of cup holders resides within the cargo space, a vestige from when you possibly can get a 3rd row within the gas-powered 2020 Outlander.

The supplies, the infotainment… nothing is absolutely nice contained in the Outlander.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

That cargo space is a little bit small, as properly, with 30.Four cubic toes of area with the second row seats up and 62.Eight cubes when folded down. The rear seats do not fold completely flat both, so be ready to have smaller gadgets sliding in the direction of the again.

Even with its minor updates, the 2021 Outlander PHEV is priced the identical because the 2020 mannequin: $37,490, together with $1,195 for vacation spot. However this crossover is so, so robust to suggest. I actually just like the Toyota RAV4 Prime which is a a lot nicer SUV general, and gives 300 hp and higher vary. A number of people criticize the RAV4 Prime for being costly, however my Outlander PHEV GT is available in at practically $44,000, which is a ton of cash for one thing this outdated.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has quite a bit going for it when it comes to gasoline financial system and electrical vary, however the driving expertise, supplies and tech all go away quite a bit to be desired. Here is hoping Mitsubishi places this PHEV drivetrain into the spiffy 2022 Outlander as a substitute.

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