When we talk about Japanese cars, most people think of Toyota and Honda, but the fact is that Mitsubishi started making cars in 1917. And it was the first company to build mass-produced automobiles in Japanese history. They even had an electric car back in 1970. So with over a hundred years of creating quality cars, I am always surprised that many people are not more familiar with the nameplate.
The new Mitsubishi Outlander is a plug-in hybrid that has surprised many media and consumers. The new look and bigger size make it stand out among its competitors. But the interior, especially in the premium trim, is something you would not expect. The Outlander two-tone leather upholstery with diamond stitching and premium sound systems offers something found only in luxury cars before. The overall presentation is uplifting, with high-quality finish throughout.
This is a midsize SUV that can appeal to families or active singles as well. I found the ample interior quite nice and comfortable. It also comes with third-row seating that some people may appreciate. In the center dash, there is a 12.3-inch, full-color LCD digital driver display, bringing this Mitsubishi on par with the rest of the offerings in the segment. The Outlander comes with Apple CarPlay®3 and Android Auto integration standards. There is SiriusXM® compatibility, wireless smartphone charging, and Mitsubishi Connect with Safeguard and Remote Services with a 24-month free trial.
The powerplant is what gets my attention. The Outlander PHEV platform includes:
An internal combustion engine.
An electric motor at the front.
Another electric motor on the rear axle.
It can go almost 40 miles on “pure electric” drive before recharging the batteries. The system is already wired for Fast DC chargers, but being a hybrid, you can ad gas and go for another 300 miles. Several running modes let you select how you want to drive this SUV. You can even drive it with a single pedal, using a high recharge setting that as soon as you release the accelerator pedal the car stops. The electric motors are more powerful now, and the combined total power output is 248 HP with V8-like 332 ft-lbs of torque. There is a knob that lets you also change the overall grip of the car depending on the surface you are driving on. On the road, the new Outlander is very comfortable. The steering was a bit nervous, meaning the car would turn with very little input on the steering wheel. But that it is easy to get use to. Regardless of the drive mode, I always found the car responsive, agile, and with excellent brakes.
I preferred the third-row seating to be different. It almost has no legroom for anyone. And the four steps to fold the seat to increase the trunk space worked more complex than the manual said. Why do you need this extra seating in this segment? I prefer to have the trunk space. But that is an easy fix, fold the seats and leave them there.
Overall the Outlander PHEV is an excellent option among the plug-in vehicles in the market. Since the eighties, Mitsubishi has always offered a good package, and all their cars have been very reliable. The Outlander is no different. The company is focusing on just a few models, which is the right approach. Each one does great in its segment, and Mitsubishi has been around a lot longer than most car makers today. There has to be a good reason for it.