While there are currently three
Mitsubishi hybrids and electric vehicles on the global market, only one is available to Americans: the
Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).
In fact, the Outlander PHEV has held the title of theworld’s best-selling hybrid since December 2018. In January 2022, world sales topped 300,000 units. So, is popular opinion justified? And what about Mitsubishi’s other electric offerings?
Let’s take a dive into the history, features, and technology behind the best Mitsubishi hybrid available right now and see whether it merits a green light.
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2022 Mitsubishi hybrid lineup
The 1970s oil crisis pushed many carmakers into experimenting with electric power, including Mitsubishi. The company developed the FTO-EV, a prototype that drove over 1,240 miles in 24 hours in 1999, beating the world record by 248 miles. After another decade of research, Mitsubishi finally had a fully electric vehicle ready for mass production: the 2009
i-MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle).
At the time, the i-MiEV was the only highway-capable electric car. It took three more years for North Americans to buy it, drive it, and declare it a slow but cheerful ride. Nobody was surprised when the model disappeared in 2017 due to poor sales. Meanwhile, the
Eclipse Cross PHEV managed unremarkable sales in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
It was the Outlander PHEV that delivered the numbers Mitsubishi was hoping for. The world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV was snapped up by Japanese and European buyers in 2013 and remains the best-selling PHEV in Europe.
After a 2018debut, its sales on American soil haven’t been quite so hot, but Mitsubishi has no plans to import another electric model.
Here are the specs for the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV:
MPGe: 74 combined city and highway
All-electric range: 28 miles
Gas powertrain: 2.4L 4-cylinder MIVEC engine
Electric powertrain: Twin motors powered by a lithium-ion battery pack
Charging time: As little as 25 minutes
Storage space: 30.4–62.8 cubic feet
Super-All Wheel Control system (S-AWC) manages torque on all four wheels to maintain stability and performance
Five drive modes including EV, Series Hybrid, and Parallel Hybrid
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Remote Control app with remote start, charge, and climate control functions
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), including Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Mitigation with Pedestrian Detection, and Blind Spot Warning
All of the above comes standard with every Outlander PHEV.
Here are the special features by trim level:
8.0-inch infotainment display, heated power side mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels
18-inch dark chrome alloy wheels, power sunroof, synthetic suede seats
1500W AC power supply, heated steering wheel, Adaptive Cruise Control, diamond-quilted leather seats
Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric car: what’s the difference?
The difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicle lies in how much their powertrains make use of electricity.
A hybrid electric vehicle, or HEV, pairs a gas engine with an electric motor. A mild hybrid uses its motor sparingly, while the motor of a full hybrid might operate at all times. Expect gas savings of 15–30%. Both draw from a battery that’s charged through regenerative braking: every time you coast or stop, you top up the battery with power produced through friction.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, on the other hand, can simply plug into a charger to replenish its battery. Some are even large enough to deliver all-electric driving for a short time.
Get rid of the gas engine, add a larger battery, and you’re left with an electric vehicle (EV). As long as you respect its range, you could save almost 100% of your gas while driving either one.
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The best Mitsubishi hybrids for sale
The Outlander PHEV has stolen two out of three of the forthcoming award categories by default. Until more options appear, buyers who’ve set their hearts on a Mitsubishi will have to make do. Expand your search to other automakers, however, and you’ll find no shortage of competition among PHEVs and EVs.
Best Mitsubishi 2022 PHEV hybrid
Sure, it might be the only Mitsubishi PHEV available in the states right now, but lest you think the Outlander PHEV is resting on its laurels, take a look at the awards below. Its popularity might be waning (more on that later), but it’s built on a solid international reputation for value, practicality, and fuel economy.
Best 5 All-Around Performance, awarded by the Automotive Science Group (ASG)
2013 and 2014 Car of the Year Innovation Award in Japan
2019 Green SUV of the Year, Green Car Journal (U.S.)
2019 Best Plug-in Vehicle, Company Car and Van Magazine (U.K.)
2022 Technology Car of the Year, Car of the Year (Japan)
Best Mitsubishi electric car
The passing in 2017 of Mitsubishi’s only all-electric car, the
i-MiEV, wasn’t mourned, but it didn’t go unnoticed either. Despite achieving low speeds and a puny 62-mile range, many reviewers found it hard to hate its optimistic design.
Ironically, a car with only 62 horsepower and 133 pound-feetof torque blazed the trail for mass-produced EVs. Indeed, had American taste veered towards micro cars rather than SUVs, the “little engine that almost could” might have found a foothold.
Best used Mitsubishi hybrid
The Eclipse Cross PHEV could put up a fight in this category, were it not unavailable in the States. Sure, you could import one, but wouldn’t the cost defeat the purpose of buying used? In any case, the market for used Outlander PHEVs still outshines the Eclipse market in the U.K., which speaks well of the Outlander’s resale value.
Is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV worth it?
Since this is the only Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid available right now, let’s focus on three of the biggest concerns for potential car buyers: performance, reliability, and cost of ownership.
While popular opinion indicates the Outlander PHEV is a good buy, it also doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to its powertrain—it’s been described as dull, unexciting, and uninspired. The motors and engine combined can produce 174 to 221 horsepower.
It takes a leisurely 10.5 seconds to ramble up to 62 mph. Even supporters agree its strengths are sensible fuel costs, ample storage, and mass-appeal styling, not handling. Despite selling well (or perhaps because of it), critics note that the Outlander is in danger of being overtaken by its competitors in sales and on the track.
RepairPal rates the Mitsubishi Outlander a 4 out of 5, or above average, in reliability, putting it in eighth place out of 25 other compact SUVs. Keep in mind this includes both gas and hybrid versions.
It also placed in the middle of the pack in the 2021 Driver Power survey. We’ll defer again to U.K. drivers, who’ve had a longer go at test driving it. One guy spent six months with his 2014 plug-in Outlander and gave it 4/5.
Cost of ownership
Owning a car involves so much more than purchasing it at the dealership—there are fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and financing fees to consider as well. Together, these factors form a car’s true cost of ownership. If you really want to see whether a hybrid car can save you money, don’t leave them out of the equation.
Here’s how much it’ll cost to own a gas vs. hybrid Outlander after five years:
Mitsubishi Outlander SEL (FWD)
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid SEL
As you can see, the PHEV’s advantage comes from a large tax credit and cheaper fuel costs. If you opt for a gas-powered Outlander, there’s little you can do to make up the gap, unless you leave it sitting in the driveway.
How to get sustainable rates on car insurance
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