Automobile

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Driven @ Top Speed

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Pros



  • Decent list of (dated) standard features
  • 2021 Update brought all-electric range up to 24 miles
  • Standard AWD
  • Update software reduces engine noise and vibration
  • Spacious inside
  • New more powerful engine
  • New more powerful electric motor

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Cons

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Interior
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  • Poor cabin quality
  • Trim fitment lends a lot of rattles and creaks
  • Weak acceleration
  • Vague steering makes for subpar driving experience
  • No third row of seating like the regular Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Small gas tank
  • Still based on third-gen Outlander that hit the market in 2014
  • Very, very slow power liftgate

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Overview

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Exterior
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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is in dire need of transitioning to the fourth generation, but it has been left behind for the 2021 model year. Instead, Mitsubishi issued a handful of updates to (kind of) make it better. It now has a slightly bigger battery, so all-electric range has increased to an EPA-estimate 24 miles and other updates helped to reduce engine noise and vibration. Unfortunately, the notable updates stopped there, as the cabin is still filled to the brim with last-gen technology, trim materials, and subpar-for-the-price overall cabin quality. It’s not inherently a bad vehicle, but the lack of a third-row (which is available on the normal Outlander), the vague steering, soft brake pedal, clunky interior, and electric range all put it behind the competition. We expect Mitsubishi to launch a new Outlander PHEV based on the fourth-gen model in 2022, but for now, this is the model you’ll find at dealers.

Powertrain and Performance

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Drivetrain
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The biggest news for the 2021 Mitsubishi PHEV is the increased battery size. It’s up from 12.0 kWh to 13.8 kWh, which basically translates to an improvement from 22 miles of all-electric range to 24 miles. To go with the new battery, the 2021 Outlander PHEV was also the recipient of a larger, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a larger, more powerful 70 kW rear electric motor. Combined the 2021 Outlander PHEV saw an increase of 31 horsepower over the 2020 model year.

How Powerful is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Drivetrain
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The Outlander PHEV delivers 126 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque from its new 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine. As a PHEV, however, the 70 kW electric motor – which also allows for standard AWD – increases total system output to 221 horsepower. In comparison, the Ford Escape PHEV has a 2.5-liter engine with 165 horsepower and 155 pound-feet. It’s electric motor increases total system output to 209 horsepower. The winner in terms of output is the Toyota RAV4 Prime with a 2.5-liter engine that’s good for 177 horsepower and 165 pound-feet. It’s electric motor increases total system output to 302 horsepower!

How Much Electric Range Does the Outlander PHEV Have?

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Drivetrain
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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a total electric range of about 24 miles, which is less than the Ford Escape PHEV at 37 miles and way below the Toyota RAV4 prime, which offers up 42 miles.

Does the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Have Good Fuel Economy?

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Is the Outlander PHEV worth the money?

With a new Outlander PHEV based on the fourth gen expected for the 2023 model year, it genuinely doesn’t make sense to buy a new Outlander PHEV now. You’d be better off waiting or going with one of the alternatives.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is rather dated compared to the competition and is, therefor, falling short in the economy department with a combined city/highway rating of 26 mpg on gas only or an MPGe rating of 74. In comparison, the Escape PHEV delivers 41 mpg combined and dominates on the MPGe scale at 102. The Toyota RAV4 prime holds its own pretty well with 38 mpg combined on gas only or 94 MPGe.

[q[Does the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Have AWD?

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Exterior
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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV comes standard with AWD, with the engine powering the front wheels and the motor powering the rear axle. The Ford Escape PHEV and Toyota RAV4 Prime are also AWD by default.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Old, Dated, Noisy

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Interior
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Even as a 2021 model, the Outlander PHEV’s interior feels a decade old, and honestly, it almost is. The infotainment system, for example, feels a lot like a gimmicky, knockoff no-name aftermarket system that was bought at a discount on Ebay and the analog instrument cluster with the very time TFT display in the middle looks late-2000s at best. The heated steering wheel only works in certain places – a cost cutting measure, no doubt – and despite all efforts, Mitsubishi just can’t make the cabin that quiet. The engine noise and vibration has been reduced from previous model years, but when you hit bumps in the road, even those that aren’t particularly noteworthy, you will hear the creaks and rattles from the interior trim, especially the center console. The audio system does get quite loud, but don’t confuse that for quality audio.

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Interior
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With that said, the Outlander PHEV isn’t necessarily a bad place to be, but you can tell that Mitsubishi didn’t really care much about it when 2021 rolled around – almost like it knew a next-gen model would be coming soon, so take advantage of the people that will still buy this old dog the way it is. The other disheartening thing here is the lack of a third row, which is something that is available on the standard Outlander.

How Comfortable is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Interior
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The Outlander isn’t an uncomfortable vehicle, but it’s definitely not the most comfortable in the parking lot either. The front seats are decent and didn’t exactly cause an discomfort to write home about, but the rear seats are pretty flat and firm. The front seats to sit relatively upright, though, which might make it uncomfortable for taller drivers.Most larger impacts from road hazards seem to be absorbed pretty well, but smaller vibrations are painfully evident. And, that’s where the problem lies, because the Outlander is comfortably quiet during electric-only driving, but then – seemingly out of nowhere – the gas engine will kick on and it sounds like an overstressed lawnmower. The inherent beeping noise from every single button in the cabin may also drive you nuts if little noises like that get to you. After a week, we still couldn’t figure out how to disable that. Outward visibility is okay, but the surround-view camera is pretty awesome, so it has that going for it

How Spacious is the Outlander PHEV?

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Interior
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The Outlander PHEV is pretty spacious for an SUV of its size, and it rates on par – give or take an inch here or there – with both the RAV4 Prime and the Escape PHEV. Overall, you can fit 5 people fairly comfortably. If you want to see the full breakdown of interior dimensions, check out this table:

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV vs competition – interior dimensions
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Toyota RAV 4 Prime Ford Escape PHEV
Front Headroom 40.6 39.5 40
Front Shoulder Room 56.4 57.8 57.6
Front Hip Room 52.6 54.3 55.2
Front Leg Room 40.9 41 42.4
Rear Headroom 38.3 39.5 39.3
Rear Shoulder Room 56 56.4 56
Rear Hip Room 51.9 47.7 55.2
Rear Leg Room 37.9 37.8 38.9

How Much Cargo Room Does the Outlander PHEV Have?

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The Outlander PHEV’s claim to fame is, arguably, in its cargo room where you get 30.4 cubic-feet behind the second row or a total of 66.6 cubic-feet if you lay down the rear seats. The base figure is nothing to write home about, but the maximum cargo room is better than both the RAV 4 Prime and the Escape PHEV. The Former has 37.6 cubic-feet behind the second row or 63.2 cubic-feet. The Escape boasts 30.7 cubic-feet in standard layout or 60.8 cubic-feet with the second row laid down.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Exterior Design

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Exterior
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Outlander PHEV Cons

Poor cabin quality compared to the competition, interior rattles and creaks, weak acceleration, vague steering, small fuel tank, no third-row, very slow power liftgate, based on third-generation.

The new, 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander looks a lot like a certain GM product that I won’t name, but the 2021 Outlander PHEV is still based on the third-gen model, which means you get the dated design from front to rear. One could argue that certain aspects of the old design look better, as it not as minivan-like at certain angles, and I’m personally a fan of the older front end look. Overall, the Outlander PHEV, despite its older looks, actually looks pretty decent and can still hold up as long as you’re not someone that likes over-the-top looks.

How Big Is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV?

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - Driven Exterior
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The Outlander PHEV measures 184.8-inches long, 70.9-inches wide, and 67.3-inches tall. It also rides on a 105.1-inch wheelbase with a 60.6-inch track in the front and rear. It’s actually longer and taller than the competition but definitely not as wide. In terms of garaging, you’ll definitely need at least a 1.5-car garage to comfortably park. A two-car garage would be better. Some one-car garages with nothing else in them might accommodate the Outlander, but it’ll be a tight fit. To see how its dimensions stack up to the competition, check out the table below.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV vs competition – exterior dimensions
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Toyota RAV 4 Prime Ford Escape PHEV
Length 184.8 180.9 180.5
Width 70.9 73 74.1
Height 67.3 67 66.1
Wheelbase 105.1 105.9 106.7
Front Track 60.6 62.6 62.4
Rear Track 60.6 63.3 61.8

How Much Does the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Weigh?

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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV tips the scales at 4,224 pounds, which puts it right between the RAV4 Prime at 4,235 pounds and the Escape PHEV at 3,884 pounds.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Pricing

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The Outlander PHEV falls short in terms of fuel economy too.

When running on gas only, the Outlander PHEV is good for 26 mpg combined, while its electric+gas rating is 74 MPGe. The Escape PHEV is good for 41 mpg combined or 102 MPGe while the Rav4 prim sits at 38 combined or 93 MPGe

The Mitsubishi Outlander starts out at $36,695 for the SEL trim level, but you can move up to the LE trim level for $38,395. The range-topping trim level is the GT trim, which starts out at $42,395. With accessories and options, the PHEV GT can creep dangerously close to $50,000 territory.
In comparison, the new RAV 4 Prime is priced between $38,350 and $41,675 while the Escape PHEV commands $33,075 – $38,885.

Is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Worth the Money?

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Outlander PHEV Pros:

Decent list of (dated) standard features, standard AWD, reduced engine noise and vibration, spacious, better electric range than the 2020 model, more power than the 2020 model.

A new Outlander PHEV, based on the fourth-gen model, is expected to revealed sometime in 2022 as a 2023 model. With that in mind, and the fact that the PHEV is still priced so high, you’re probably better off going with the much newer and more advanced RAV4 Prime or Ford Escape PHEV. The competition is stiff, and the Outlander PHEV simply doesn’t hold up. It falls short in terms of fuel economy, technology, and driving experience. It’s not a bad vehicle, if we’re going back to 2014 or 2015, but in 2021, the Outlander PHEV is basically on life support. If you really want an Outlander, your best bet is to go with the non-PHEV model or simply wait until Mitsubishi brings the PHEV into the fourth generation.


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