The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV crossover sport utility vehicle has a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine producing 117 hp and 101 lb-ft of torque and a 70-kW generator. The power is amplified by two 80-hp electric motors in the front and rear wheels. The combined output of the combustion engine and electric motors takes the power of the hybrid SUV to 200 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. A 12 kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack stores the electricity produced from the generator of the auto while the power distribution is governed by Mitsubishi's new GKN Multimode eTransmission. The instantaneous response of a hybrid powertrain is there, but taking 9.2 seconds to reach 60 mph felt underwhelming. Compared to its competition, the Outlander PHEV was significantly slower and there was no clear performance advantage over the internal-combustion-engine-only Outlander. The handling was generally composed as long as the body roll was controlled. Understeer was more evident when cornering at a higher speed. The steering effort required wasn’t too light nor cumbersome and changing direction was straightforward. The brakes performed reliably in stopping the heavy vehicle, but that also meant there was a significant lurch forward when suddenly braking. Fortunately, the bite from the calipers was predictable and never abrupt. The firm pedal helped in managing stop-and-go scenarios effectively.
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The base SEL trim comes with automatic headlights, heated side mirrors, rain-activated wipers, a power liftgate, keyless entry, push-to-start button, power-adjustable heated front seats, automatic climate control, voice controls, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an infotainment system with a 7-inch display and a six-speaker sound system. The GT trim adds LED headlights and foglights, a heated steering wheel, a multiview camera, dual AC power outlets and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system. The Entertainment package includes a rear-seat entertainment system with a remote control and wireless headphones. The Towing package includes a tow hitch and a trailer-prepped wiring harness.
The 2018 Outlander PHEV is based on the 2018 Outlander that was tested by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). It achieved five stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. The advanced safety and driver aids that come with the base SEL trim are a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Other features are added to GT trim and they include automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert with pedestrian detection.
The 2018 Outlander PHEV has a length of 184.8 inches, a width of 70.8 inches, a height of 67.3 inches and a wheelbase of 105.1 inches. The Outlander PHEV’s styling is reminiscent of Japanese design as of late, characterized by its aggressive front fascia and chrome accents. Unlike some of its competition, it does not have a sloped roofline. All trims come with 18-inch wheels and there are no options for bigger sizes out of the showroom floor. Roof rails are standard for all trims but the sunroof is only available for the GT trim.
The ground clearance was low enough, making it easy to enter the cabin of the Outlander PHEV. The first and second rows offered sufficient legroom and headroom for adults but the third row felt cramped. The knees are raised in the seating position, which was uncomfortable especially for the taller passenger. Up to seven people can be accommodated by the three rows of seats. The front row provided decent comfort and was still bearable through long drives. The cushion for the second and third rows was firm and flat. The laid-back cornering abilities gave way to a more compliant ride quality. Rough surfaces did not feel unsettling in the cabin and bumps were dampened well. Road and wind noise was kept at bay to maintain a relaxed ambiance inside the cabin.
There is 10.3 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, and folding them down opens up 34.2 cu-ft of space. Folding down the second and third rows now opens up 63.3 cu-ft of space available for cargo.