The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV compact SUV has seating for five passengers. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV compact SUV has seating for five passengers. (Manufacturer photo)

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV expands electric-only range

This plug-in hybrid SUV can now go 24 miles without gasoline, and its horsepower rating is up by 31.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is having some of its thunder stolen by the current arrival of an all-new 2022 Outlander, but the 2021 version of this compact SUV still merits attention.

All 2021 Outlanders are PHEV models. All 2022 Outlanders have a standard gasoline powertrain. A PHEV version of the all-new Outlander is expected eventually, but right now there’s nothing definite about the timing.

Total horsepower for the 2021 Outlander PHEV’s hybrid system is 221, a gain of 31 horsepower over last year, and the electric-only range is now 24, an increase of two miles. The combined fuel economy rating is 74 mpge and the gasoline-only rating is 26 mpg.

The hybrid powertrain team is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Every model has Mitsubishi’s all-wheel drive system, named S-AWC for “super all-wheel control.”

A third row of seats has been scrapped to accommodate the enlarged battery pack, creating a spacious cargo area with level floor for capable carrying and a broad opening for easier loading and unloading.

There are three trim levels: SEL, Limited Edition (LE), and GT. Standard features on the SEL include heated front seats with eight-way power adjustability for both seats (plus lumbar for the driver), tilt and telescoping steering wheel, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, and an infotainment system with 8-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM, and Android Auto and AppleCarPlay integration.

A power sunroof is standard equipment on LE and GT versions of the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. (Manufacturer photo)

A power sunroof is standard equipment on LE and GT versions of the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. (Manufacturer photo)

The new LE trim adds a sunroof, premium sound system, dark chrome spoked 18-inch alloy wheels, and blackout design for the grille and bumpers.

LED headlights and foglights, a heated steering wheel, multi-view camera system, and adaptive cruise control are among the extras on the GT model.

Safety features across the board include forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert.

Base pricing remains the same as the 2020 model, starting with the SEL at $36,295 plus a $1,195 destination charge. The 2021 Outlander PHEV is eligible for $6,587 in federal tax credit, an increase of $751 compared to the 2020 model.

I drove an SEL model whose total cost for optional equipment was only $220, adding carpeted floor mats and a storage bag for the charging cable. DC Fast Charging capability is standard on all models, by the way.

Outlander PHEV’s interior isn’t particularly innovative style-wise, but it gets the job done providing seating for five and supplying a generous portion of head room and leg room. Normal for a compact SUV, the middle spot in the second row works better as a buffer zone between passengers than an actual seat.

I give the infotainment system a rating of medium, for not being intuitive enough. And there’s no knob for volume control, a sin too big to overlook.

The jarring effects of road roughness are nicely alleviated by Outlander’s relaxed suspension, and the cabin stays quiet even at freeway speeds. The hybrid system works seamlessly, to Mitsubishi’s great credit.

Sport and Snow settings have been added this year to the Outlander PHEV’s selectable drive modes. They join Normal, Eco, and Gravel modes to expand the SUV’s stability in varying conditions.

The 2021 Outlander PHEV has a great powertrain warranty covering 10 years or 100,000 miles.

All three versions of the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV have DC Fast Charging capability. (Manufacturer photo)

All three versions of the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV have DC Fast Charging capability. (Manufacturer photo)


Base price, including destination charge: $37,490

Price as driven: $37,710

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.

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