Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV is among a small group of plug-in hybrid SUVs available on the market, and it has been the world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV since 2013, when it was introduced.
For 2019, the Outlander PHEV gets a number of upgrades inside and out. Front seats are redesigned to improve support and comfort, climate control air vents and a USB port have been added for rear seat passengers, the power window switches are now illuminated, and suspension has been revised for a more gentle ride and quieter cabin.
Exterior changes include a new grille and rear spoiler, LED high-beam headlamps, and redesigned 18-inch alloy wheels.
Outlander PHEV is available in SEL and GT trims, and both have all-wheel drive. They are priced at $36,890 and $42,590 respectively. These prices include a $1,095 destination charge.
DC Fast Charging is standard on both versions, enabling drivers to charge the battery pack to 80-percent capacity in about 25 minutes. The Outlander PHEV can travel up to 22 miles in all-electric mode.
There are three different driving modes: Eco, Battery Save, and Battery Charge. The Eco mode, activated by a switch on the center dash, reduces both gasoline and electricity usage to boost efficiency from great to superb.
Battery Save mode conserves battery pack energy by operating the vehicle in hybrid mode. Mitsubishi gives this example of its usage: Driving in urban traffic with the engine/generator on to maintain a higher level of battery charge, and it could then be deactivated, enabling driving through a neighborhood silently in EV drive mode.
With the Outlander PHEV in motion or at a standstill, in Battery Charge mode the engine generates electricity to be fed into the battery pack.
Meanwhile, the Outlander PHEV drivetrain is automatically doing its thing, switching around between various combinations of gas and electric power and whatnot. I’m grossly simplifying how the hybrid system works, for your sake as well as mine.
To drive in the all-electric EV mode, the driver just pushes a button.
The SEL and GT trims are both generously endowed with standard features, including heat and eight-way power adjustability for driver and front passenger seats, satellite radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and a power remote liftgate.
Additional features standard on the GT include LED headlights and foglights, a sunroof, heated steering wheel, multiview camera system, 1500-watt AC power supply with two outlets, and a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system with nine speakers. The GT also adds driver-assistance systems not found on the SEL.
The Outlander PHEV’s equivalent fuel economy rating of 74 mpg is its crowning glory, but it deserves a tiara or two for its relatively affordable pricing compared to others in this small segment, most of which are from expensive premium brands.
There’s a lot of practicality about this car, too. Straddling the line between compact and midsize, it’s right-sized for people who don’t have to accommodate hordes of passengers or tons of cargo. Towing capacity is 1,500 pounds, if that’s a consideration.
Five people can be seated within the Outlander PHEV and they won’t be cramped. The one in the middle rear spot won’t be having a picnic, though. The main issue with the interior is a rather unconventional infotainment system that can be frustrating, but to its credit it does have a volume control dial.
The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV comes with a fully transferable 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that includes battery coverage.
In addition to the satisfaction of excellent fuel economy, driving the Outlander PHEV is largely a pleasant experience. Not to go all woo-woo, but the car seemed eager to please, really wanted to be a friend. And to be a friend in return, I willingly overlooked a few quirks.
2019 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV GT
Base price, including destination charge: $42,590
Price as driven: $42,920
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.