Launch impressions: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

More Grunt for Mitsubishi’s updated Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

Mitsubishi have just updated the Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) for model year 2020, following on from updates to the rest of the Outlander range mid-way through 2019.

Since the original Outlander PHEV debuted in 2013, the first of this type of vehicle on the market, Mitsubishi have sold over 200,000 PHEVs globally. And in the medium SUV category, it’s still almost a one-horse race, with the only other plug-in hybrid offering, Volvo’s XC60 2.0-litre T8 AWD PHEV. However, buyers will need substantially deeper wallets for the Swede with a list price of $99,990.

Mitsubishi are pitching the PHEV to buyers looking for practical transport that combines the sustainability benefits of an EV with the flexibility that its internal combustion engine can deliver on longer trips for those anxious about a full EV’s range limitations.

The company quotes a pure EV range of approximately 54kms, suitable for typical short suburban runs and stop-go commuter duties. Charge time on a standard 240V outlet is around 7 hours, while a DC fast charger can achieve 80% charge in 25 minutes.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The MY20 model upgrades from an 87kW/186Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine to a 94kW/199Nm 2.4-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine for improved drivability thanks to better torque spread, and with lower noise levels. There’s also twin electric drive-motors - a 60kW motor carries over at the front, while the rear motor’s 70kW output is up 10kW on the old model. A new Sport Mode switch allows drivers to maximise low and mid-range throttle response.

Generator capacity has been boosted to 80kW, while the 300volt lithium-ion traction battery capacity has risen from 12kWh to 13.8kWh. Top-of-the-range Exceed models are now also bi-directional charge capable. That means energy can also be transferred from its on-board batteries back to your home or the grid. So cheaper off-peak or solar power can be used for vehicle charging and the vehicle can then be an energy source during peak electricity usage times or back-up power in an emergency.

Amongst other MY20 changes are revised design seats front and rear, power lumbar adjustment for the driver, minor tweaks to interior trims, audio system updates, and inclusion of TomTom navigation on Exceed. All models provide the added safety of Forward Collision Mitigation, while the Super All-Wheel Control system has been retuned for greater handling precision. There are four paint colours including the new Red Diamond premium metallic.

Prices have risen slightly over the old model. Drive-away prices start at $50,990 for the ES, $51,990 for ES with ADAS pack (lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, auto high beam), while $59,990 will see an Exceed driving away from the dealer.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV