Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review

You’ll buy the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for its good fuel economy and cheap road tax, but it looks very dull inside and you need to have somewhere to charge it regularly.

7/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Spacious inside
  • Very quiet in town
  • Economical (if you have somewhere to charge it)

What's not so good

  • Drab interior
  • No seven-seat option
  • Diesel alternatives are better on long trips

What do you want to read about Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

Overall verdict

You’ll buy the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for its good fuel economy and cheap road tax, but it looks very dull inside and you need to have somewhere to charge it regularly.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a high-riding hybrid family car which you’ll want to consider if you’re looking for something economical, quiet and more suited to driving in town than the likes of the Skoda Kodiaq and VW Tiguan.

It certainly looks more interesting on the outside than these cars. Sure, it can’t quite match the striking Toyota RAV4 for head-turning ability, but the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s angular front end, huge chrome highlights and lack of matte black bumper extensions mean it has more wow-factor than most practical family SUVs.

Sadly, it feels like Mitsubishi’s design department ran out of steam before they turned their attention to the Outlander PHEV’s interior – it’s a bit on the bland side. Sure, you get a touchscreen infotainment system as standard and you can even get it with bright red seats in mid-range guise, but it doesn’t look or feel as nice as the interior in a Skoda Kodiaq or Toyota RAV4.

So, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s cabin isn’t exactly the most stylish around, but at least it’s one of the roomiest. There’s space for six-foot-tall adults in all five seats and even with its batteries occupying some space under the floor the Outlander PHEV’s boot is still pretty spacious. It’s a shame that you can’t get it with a third row of seats in the very back like the standard Outlander, or the Skoda Kodiaq for that matter.

The Outlander PHEV is packed full of high-tech hybrid technology, but you’d never know it from the dated look of its cabin.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

That being said, you can’t get any extra seats in the Toyota RAV4 hybrid, either, so you shouldn’t feel too hard done by. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV comes with a more comprehensive hybrid system than the Toyota, too. Essentially, this means you can drive for almost 30 miles on electric power alone and can better 100mpg if you drive carefully and make sure you brim the batteries at every opportunity.

Even when the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has to resort to using its petrol engine, it’s still pretty economical. It’s easy to drive in town, too – especially when you’re pottering around in near-silent electric mode – but alternatives are a little more comfortable and come with more advanced driver assistance systems as standard.

Having said that, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a doddle to see out of and you get enough sensors and cameras to help make sure you don’t have any little bumps and scrapes when you’re parking.

It handles twisty country roads fairly well for a high-riding hybrid SUV too, but it’s neither as fast nor as fun to drive as many conventional petrol- and diesel-powered alternatives.

Don’t let this put you off, however. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a very capable SUV that’s certainly worth considering if you’re looking for something easy to drive and impressively economical around town – providing you have somewhere to charge it overnight.

What's it like inside?

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a tempting car in many ways, but the bland interior is far from attractive, despite plenty of chrome trim and leather upholstery on most models

The Outlander PHEV is ground-breaking in many ways, but it seems amazing that the only way to get satellite navigation is through your smartphone

Mat Watson
carwow expert

How practical is it?

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is only a five-seater and its boot is a little smaller than in other Outlanders, but there’s plenty of room for all the passengers and lots of luggage

The PHEV proves that you can have a plug-in hybrid that still does a very decent job as a five-seat family car

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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One of the things that SUV owners like most about their cars is the high driving position, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV delivers just that. You get a very good view out to the front and sides, with the relatively low dashboard being a real help.

For most people, the driving position will be perfectly comfortable, with a decent range of adjustment on the seat and wheel. However, it’s not perfect; if you’re over six feet tall, you may find that the seat is set a little too high and there’s not quite enough adjustment in the steering wheel to get completely comfortable.

It’s also disappointing that you can’t get any model with adjustable lumbar support, so you may find that you develop backache on long journeys as a result. On the other hand, every model comes with heated seats, and only the most basic Juro models do without electric adjustment on the front seats.

There’s plenty of room in the back, too. There’s space for two six-footers to get comfy and there’s enough shoulder room for three adults to sit side-by-side, despite the fact that the centre seat is set a little higher and narrower than the outer two. Also, unlike in some SUVs, the floor is nice and flat, which means there’s space for three sets of feet.

The buckle for the centre seat belt is quite large and can stick into the central passenger’s upper thigh, but, at least passengers can adjust the angle of the rear seat.

Things aren’t quite so easy if you need to carry much younger passengers, however. The rear doors don’t open very wide so it can be a bit of a squeeze to get a child seat inside and the Isofix anchor points are hidden behind the seat padding. At least the high roof means you don’t have to stoop down to strap in a child.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s biggest drawback compared to other Outlanders is that it’s only a five-seater. The petrol-engined models are available with a third row of seats in the boot, but in the PHEV, that space is taken up by its extra electric motor and large battery pack.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV good practicality extends to a decent amount of storage around the cabin. Not only is the glovebox reasonably big, there’s also a deep cubby under the central armrest that will swallow lots of odds and ends.

In addition to that, there are two cupholders in front of the gear selector, as well as a USB port and a 12V power socket. The bins in the front doors are very big, too, and include a built-in holder that will easily take a one-litre bottle of water.

Mitsubishi hasn’t forgotten the back-seat passengers, either. The bins in the rear doors are almost as big as the ones in the front, and there are two cupholders in the fold-down armrest.

As well as preventing the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV from being a seven-seater, these batteries and electric motors also restrict the boot space. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has 463 litres of bootspace, but that’s less than you get in the standard Outlander and in the Toyota RAV4.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s boot floor is raised above these cars which makes it more difficult to load heavy luggage. There’s just about enough space for a pair of suitcases or a baby buggy and some soft bags under the load cover, but that’s about it. That being said, the boot is nice and square and there’s no annoying load lip to get in your way when you’re loading bulky items.

A handy compartment under the floor is perfect for taking the charge cable and you get a handy storage cubby on either side of the boot which will take smaller items and stop them rolling around.

There’s also a 12V socket for keeping a few smaller devices in the boot charged, but it’s a little strange that the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV still has a pair of cupholders in the boot, despite the fact that there will never be anyone sitting there.

When you do need more room for luggage, you can fold down the rear seats, which are split 60/40 in every model. It’s a little awkward that you have to flip up the rear seat bases before you can fold the seat backs down, but once you’ve dropped the seats, they leave a flat floor which makes it really easy to slide luggage all the way up behind the front seats.

With the back seats folded, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has 1,602 litres of bootspace. This is slightly less than you get in a Toyota RAV4, but it’s more than enough to allow the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to carry a bike with both its wheels attached.

Last, but not least, the back of the front passenger seat on every model can be folded forward, which allows you to carry very long items inside the car.

Read full interior review

What's it like to drive?

The suspension feels a bit unsettled at motorway speeds – it's better around town

Easy to drive and economical

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s 2.4-litre engine is a big improvement on the 2.0-litre unit in the previous PHEV, making this version a bit more refined and responsive, although it’s not the most comfortable

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV couldn’t be any easier to drive. With no gears to worry about, all you have to do is to turn it on and off you go

Mat Watson
carwow expert

This latest version of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV uses the same basic recipe as previous models – a couple of electric motors and a petrol engine that can drive the car together or independently – but there are some significant changes. Most importantly, a new 2.4-litre engine replaces the old car’s 2-litre unit, a more powerful rear motor has been fitted and the generator and battery capacity have also been improved.

The result isn’t a wholesale change, but there’s no doubt that this model is the best Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV yet. Yes, the changes are subtle, but it’s more responsive in everyday use, which makes it feel easier to drive.

The petrol engine will only kick in when you ask for extra acceleration or the batteries are depleted. Most of the time, you’ll barely notice the car swapping around between the two power sources. And, while you can hear the engine working away at high revs when you want full acceleration, this new 2.4-litre unit is much quieter than the old 2.0, which will make your everyday driving much more relaxing.

Then again, the big attraction of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV isn’t how it drives; it’s how cheap it can be to run. Mitsubishi claims it’ll return 140mpg, but how close you get to that will depend on what sort of driving you do.

The same figures also show that the car has a range of 28 miles on electric power alone. So, if most of your motoring life is spent on short journeys and you have somewhere to charge the batteries every night, you’ll barely use the petrol engine and may manage more than 100mpg. But, if you have to use the petrol engine more frequently, either to directly drive the car or to recharge the batteries, your economy will drop significantly. And, ultimately, a more conventional model may suit you better.

As with many plug-in hybrid cars, you have various options to choose from so that you can get the best economy and make the best use of the batteries. For instance, at the press of a button, you can make the car save the battery’s charge for later, or use the petrol engine to top-up the battery when you’re cruising on the motorway.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s raised driving position gives you a good view over the road ahead and Mitsubishi has done some tweaks to the 2019 model to keep it feeling fresh. Admittedly, this latest Outlander still isn’t the most comfortable SUV – particularly at low speeds – but it’s certainly a bit smoother over the bumps than the previous version.

Other than being slightly bumpy at slow speeds, the Outlander is most at home in the city. Here, you can spend most of your time pottering around using just electric power. This is impressively relaxing because the electric motors respond very swiftly and they produce almost no noise at all.

As soon as the petrol engine chimes in to lend a hand things get a little noisier, but not excessively so. You’ll hear a fair bit of wind noise being whipped up by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s large wing mirrors and bluff front end at motorway speeds, but on quiet country roads it’s pretty relaxing to drive.

It’s a shame that adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection don’t come as standard on entry-level 4h models, though. But, at least the Outlander PHEV doesn’t lean a great deal in tight corners so there’s no reason for passengers to feel car sick and you get a 360-degree surround-view camera system to help you park in tight spaces without scratching your paintwork.

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