2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

An SUV With Low Profile But High Efficiency

This is a vehicle for high efficiency not for a high image

We may say -with some exaggregation- that we are on the threshold of the widespread electrification of the automobile.

While the market share of BEV’s (battery electric vehicles) is still well below 5 percent in North America, we are in a transitional period that Tesla triggered for less than 10 years ago. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles connecting old and new technology may play an important role in this transition. All major automakers, the Volkswagen Group, in particular, have plans and ambitions to launch several new models with varying degrees of electrification over the next 2 to 5 years. Hybrids to plug-ins and BEV’s (battery electric vehicle).

It will probably take at least another decade or two before we completely get rid of ICE and while relying more and more on supporting infrastructure. Hence, depending on your mobility needs and style, hybrids (and plug-in-hybrids) could be a sensible alternative for people who drive high-mileage, such as taxi or Uber drivers or people, who drive a lot in the city traffic or in general.

Mitsubishi is probably not a brand that you will immediately associate with electrification. The third and last member of the already troubled Renault-Nissan Alliance, Mitsubishi is tight on the R & D budget and keeps its models longer on the market. Anything beyond and except SUV’s and crossovers with a Mitsubishi logo is slowly dying. This old and reputable Japanese brand almost entirely focuses on SUV’S recently, which makes sense considering the direction of the market.

The Outlander is a compact SUV and can be counted as the backbone of its model range. And the Outlander PHEV, is the best selling- SUV in North America and Europe. Because the company was and is smart enough to offer a plug-in-hybrid SUV, a product that nobody else offers (at least until now)

The “three-diamonds” vehicle has twin 80 horsepower electric motors linked to a 12kWh lithium-ion battery complemented by a 2.0L gasoline engine with 117 horsepower. As per Mitsu, Outlander PHEV’s total torque is 250lb-ft.

The Three Diamonds

The Japanese brand called “Three Diamonds” (Mitsubishi’s meaning) has a rich and deep history with cars like Lancer, a frequent winner of rallies in 1980’s, Pajero, once one of the world’s best and most durable off-road vehicles and Eclipse, a great sports car. Mitsubishi says the Outlander is the world’s most technically-advanced four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid that, among other things, offers 100 percent electric 4WD capability. It features a 2.0-liter gas engine (uses regular unleaded), two electric motors and they say it has DC fast-charging capability that provides an 80 percent charge in under 30 minutes). And this vehicle is an SUV. Do you want anything else?

The Outlander is not a brand-new model and honestly due for replacement. another mid-life refresh will not be enough. Considering Mitbubishi’s model policy, it will not be a surprise to see this model on the markets for a couple of more years.

This third-generation model is on sale since January 2013 as a plug-in hybrid model called Outlander PHEV. Cumulative global sales passed the 200,000 unit milestone in April 2019, and according to JATO Dynamics, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s all-time best selling plug-in hybrid since December 2018. As of 2019, Europe is the leading market with 126,617 units sold through January 2019. The Outlander PHEV was the top-selling plug-in electric vehicle in Europe in 2014 and again in 2015, and has ranked as Europe’s best-selling plug-in hybrid car for four years running, 2015 to 2018. Both in 2014 and 2015, it also ranked as the world’s top-selling plug-in hybrid, and as the third best selling plug-in car after the all-electric Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf.

An impressive performance. Not because Mitsubishi is a leader in electrification, but that acted so smart to find a niche for an affordable, electrified and practical vehicle, which could only be an SUV.

We made the Outlander PHEV part of our daily life for one week.


The dashboard is a bit outdated, but reasonable designed and does the job

Inside, everything you would need and want in today’s modern vehicles is there, whether standard or optional. As a compact crossover, its is part of the most popular and highly competitive segment in Canada. Still, you detect the (non-)existence of some features, such as a classic Radio button. We also noted something weird. Driving at night needs some improvement because interior lighting is weaker than it should be. I have to give credit to my son, who noted this first.

Our tester, top-of-the line had heated steering wheel and front seats which were very convenient in very cold mornings of January.

In terms of infotainment features, the Outlander is not short of its competitors. The 18-centimeter touchscreen, Smartphone Link Display Audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, FAST-key entry and push-button ignition system, rear-view camera, seven airbags, satellite radio (plus AM and FM for local stations), plug-ins for smartphones in its entirely offer all the conveniences a modern vehicle offers.

Driving Impressions

During our one-week test drive, which was mostly on snowy roads of the GTA, it handled well and showed its performance as an AWD vehicle. The seats were very comfortable and honestly exceeded our expectations.

Fast-charging stations like at Yorkdale Shopping Centre offer a big advantage for gas-free driving with a plug-in hybrid

There is a reason (or a number of reasons) why the Outlander PHEV is so popular. The all-electric range of 35 kilometers is sufficient for many riders driving between home and work in the city. The distance between my home and work is 45 kilometers and I need some “gasoline boost, which is still good. I was also lucky enough to have fast-charging stations at Yorkdale Shopping Mall, which is three kilometers from my office. So, with somewhat good planning, I could spare a visit to the gas station for a long time. I love to have a break at Yorkdale for my daily walking routine which makes an excellent opportunity to charge the car in the meantime. Even if you need some gas to complete your trip, it will be very affordable and you will never have a problem with range anxiety like with a BEV.
However, if you want to rely on your regular 110V outlet at home, you can almost forget it, since it may take very long and beyond any practicality. Of course, if you are dedicated to electric driving to such an extent, you may consider installing a fast-charging outlet in your garage.


Monitoring energy usage can motivate you for more green driving

With a starting MSRP of 44K, this model is affordable and offers a good value proposition. Our tester, in SEL trim level starts at C$ 47,500. (See the spec sheet below) Mitsubishi Canada’s 10-year, a 160,000-kilometre powertrain warranty, is also a strong argument to buy this or any Mitsubishi product.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SEL / Features and Specifications

Canada’s first twin electric-motor SUV with Super All-Wheel-Control

Canada’s only plug-in hybrid SUV to offer 100% electric 4WD capability

Canada’s only plug-in hybrid SUV with DC Fast Charging capability, (providing – 80 percent charge in under 30 minutes)

Canada’s only plug-in hybrid with a remarkable 10-year or 160,000 km powertrain warranty, 10-year/160,000 km lithium-ion battery warranty and five-year or 100,000 km comprehensive warranty

  • 8-inch Smartphone Link Display standard through price lines
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 
  • Standard S-AWC 

PHEV system

Quick charge


18” alloy wheels

Halogen head lamps 

PWR windows

Mirrors with Turn lamp

4-wheel disc with ABS 

Bluetooth + USB

Cruise CTL

Heated front seats

Power driver seat

S/W Controls 

8”-inch Smartphone Link Display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Satellite Radio

Rearview Camera

60/40 2nd Row Seat

Leather S/W + Gear shift, fast key – push button start

Hill Start Assist



Artificial suede-appointed seats

1,500 w PWR inverter

Rear Spoiler

1,500 lb towing capacity

sunroof, auto-dimming, rearview mirror, heated steering wheel, power lift gate

SE S-AWC plus sunroof

Leather appointed seats

Power front passenger seat

Auto-dimming rearview mirror

Heated steering wheel

LED headlamps

LED fog lamps

LED highbeams, power liftgate

SEL S-AWC Plus the below

8”inch Smartphone Link Display standard through price lines

Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

Luxurious quilted leather-appointed seats 

Mitsubishi Power Sound System with 8 speakers

Adaptive Cruise Control

Forward Collision Mitigation 

Lane departure warning

Multiview cameras system

For more detailed and most up-to-date information, please visit http://mitsubishi-motors.ca

Article and pictures by Varol McKars