Review: The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a bestseller, but is it the best?

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s most popular plug-in hybrid SUV to date.

Over 300,000 have been delivered since it was first released in 2013, but not many in the US

The first generation model was released only in 2018. And since then only a few thousand have been sold per year. The most recently introduced Toyota Rav4 Prime and Jeep Wrangler 4xe have topped the charts with tens of thousands of sales.

But the Outlander PHEV is all-new for 2023 with more power and range than before.

The compact SUV, which is built on the same platform as the Nissan Rogue, has starting prices from $41,190 to $50,880 across four trim levels. Since it’s built in Japan, it doesn’t qualify for federal electric car purchase tax credits, but it’s possible Mitsubishi could convert them into a lease.


The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a seven-passenger SUV. (Mitsubishi)

The Outlander PHEV comes standard with a hybrid all-wheel drive system with 248 horsepower, up from 181 horsepower in the old model. Its 20-kilowatt-hour battery provides a similarly impressive increase in all-electric driving range from 24 miles to 38 miles per charge, according to the EPA.

After draining the battery, it runs like a conventional hybrid rated at 26 MPG combined, which is similar to the non-hybrid Outlander models. For comparison, the similarly sized and priced Toyota Rav4 Prime has an electric range of 42 miles and gets 38 MPG in hybrid mode.

It has an electric range of 38 miles per charge.

It has an electric range of 38 miles per charge. (Mitsubishi)

Unusual among plug-in hybrids, the Outlander PHEV is compatible with public fast-charging stations that can refill the battery to 80 percent in 38 minutes instead of the four hours it takes for a 240-volt charger.

The plug type is the less common CHAdeMO style that the Nissan Leaf also uses. They’re harder to find than the CCS used by most plug-in vehicles sold today — except for Teslas, which have their own proprietary system. However, using a charger away from home defeats the purpose of a plug-in hybrid, which is to avoid having to stop and plug in at all on long trips.

The Outlander comes standard with digital instruments.

The Outlander comes standard with digital instruments. (Mitsubishi)

But the Outlander PHEV is well suited to take them. The two front rows are spacious and well appointed with premium leather and massaging front seats on the top models. A folding third row is standard, but barely big enough for small children to use and better for short trips.

All but the entry-level are decked out with the advanced MI-Pilot driver assistance system, which features a robust lane-focused adaptive cruise control system that requires you to keep your hands on the wheel, but doesn’t require you to do much when in operation. It also comes with automatic emergency brakes and a 360-degree parking camera is available.

Many driving modes are available.

Many driving modes are available. (Mitsubishi)

The driver can choose when battery power is used. The vehicle can be locked in EV mode or left in a hybrid setting. You can also set it to save the battery for later, or switch to a mode that’s supposed to charge it from the engine while you drive. But, over a few hundred highway miles, I didn’t see it having any effect. Even in all-EV mode, it will fire up the internal combustion engine if you need full power, but it rarely does.


The Outlander PHEV also features several levels of regenerative braking, which uses the electric motors to slow the vehicle when you lift off the gas, sending the harvested energy to the battery pack. It can be adjusted using paddles behind the steering wheel and a button on the center console that puts it at the maximum setting.

The third row of seats fit snugly.

The third row of seats fit snugly. (Mitsubishi)

The problem is that, unlike many electric cars with the feature, it won’t stop it completely. It lets up when you get to single digit speeds, sometimes abruptly, requiring you to hit the brake pedal. The pedal is also pushed out of position during regenerative braking, which can protect you until you get used to it.


The suspension is on the comfortable side, which is nice when you’re cruising along, but it allows for a bit too much head shake in stop-and-go traffic with the regenerative braking engaged, which doesn’t allow for a smooth free roll when you let off the throttle.

The third row can be folded down to create a large cargo area.

The third row can be folded down to create a large cargo area. (Mitsubishi)

With or without it activated, the 38-mile range is accurate if not pessimistic. I did 42 miles on a mixed ride that included a lot of high-speed driving, which is farther than most people drive in a typical day. That puts it almost on par with the Rav4 Prime and almost double what the Wrangler 4xe offers for about $10,000 more. Most of the other mainstream PHEV SUVs sold are in the 20s and 30s range.


The Outlander isn’t necessarily great, but it could suit a specific driver with specific needs, including some kids who can use that third row of seats.


Mitsubishi Outlander 2023

Base price: $41,190

As Tested: $50,880

Type: 7-passenger SUV, 4-door four-wheel drive

Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder with electric motor assistance

Power: 248 hp

Gearbox: 1-speed automatic

EV range: 38 miles

MPG: 26 MPG combined

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