Compact plug-in hybrid crossover
Separate to conventionally powered versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Japanese automaker began offering its most family-friendly crossover to Canadian shoppers with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) power as an option in 2018.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a compelling used-crossover buy for the electric-curious driver. Not only is this one of the only affordable plug-in options with all-wheel drive, but the Outlander PHEV is flexible, relatively spacious, and has a comfortable highway ride.
Look for performance lighting provisions, touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, multi-zone climate control, and plenty more.
A full-function family crossover, the Outlander PHEV can be plugged in to recharge its battery at any time. With a full charge, drivers can travel about 35 km before any fuel is required. With fast-charge capability built in, and overnight charging possible at home, that’s enough to get many Canadian drivers off of fuel for their daily errands or commuting.
Plugging in is never mandatory, either: as long as there’s gas in the tank, the Outlander PHEV is ready to drive.
The Outlander PHEV is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder gas engine paired with a twin-motor electrical system that actively sends power to all four wheels as conditions warrant. All models get a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and total powertrain output is rated at 197 hp.
What Owners Like
Owners tend to rate the Outlander PHEV’s fuel-free driving experience and built-in fast-charge tech highly. The highway ride is soft and quiet, and the cargo hold is flexible and generously sized, too.
What Owners Dislike
Some owners wish for more rear-seat headroom, and a more precise and direct feel to the Outlander’s steering and brakes. Sportier drivers need not apply.
The Outlander PHEV has left several owners wishing for more USB charging ports, and some controls and switches are blocked from sight by the steering wheel.
Pro Tip: Check Service Records, Warranty
The used Outlander PHEV you’re considering is probably just a few years old and covered by plenty of remaining warranty coverage. Make sure to obtain full service records before you buy, confirming that no maintenance or servicing has been skipped or stretched. For maximum peace of mind, buy a used unit that’s familiar to a local dealer, and comes with all service documentation.
Pro Tip: Check Charging Equipment
Check the plug-in provisions. When buying any used PHEV, confirm which charging cable (if any) is included with the vehicle, and inspect it charging cable carefully for signs of damage. Splits or cuts in the insulation, damage to any of the electrical prongs, or generally poor condition are all good reasons to budget for a new charging cord for maximum safety.
Don’t forget to make sure you’re able to work the charging door several times over the course of your test drive, and connect the vehicle to a charger to confirm that the charging start-up process doesn’t cause any errors. When charging, the Outlander PHEV should provide visual cues via the charge-door light, and some instrument cluster displays.
Pro Tip: Brush Up on Usage and Maintenance
Read the manual. Though the Outlander PHEV drives like a normal crossover, some special instructions are given regarding maintenance and care, towing, and more. Be sure to read the manual fully, including the maintenance section.
The Test Drive
Some owners recommend an on-the-hoist inspection of the Outlander PHEV’s underside ahead of your purchase. A good idea for any used vehicle, this check can reveal a possibly pricey issue: damage to the battery caused by careless off-roading. This check is highly advised, as it could reveal a very unlikely – but very expensive – problem.
From the driver’s seat, check the wipers and washer nozzles using all settings to confirm they work as expected. Some owners have reported a rare problem with wonky windshield wipers. While you’re seated at the wheel, confirm all steering-wheel-mounted controls work as expected, as well as the door locks, windows, seat adjustments, climate control, stereo system, touchscreen system, and anything else accessible that runs on electricity.
Though the Outlander PHEV has a great big battery used to drive the vehicle solely on electric power, it also has a smaller, more conventional battery to power on-board electronics and accessories. Some owners are not aware of this, and as a result, may not have properly maintained or cared for this important component. If the accessory battery is weak or dying, numerous frustrating problems may manifest at random across multiple electronic systems.
Having this battery checked, tested, and replaced, if needed, before you buy can eliminate headaches.
So far, the used Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV looks to be a solid bet with no widespread problems or serious concerns reported by the owner’s community. Finding a second-hand unit with plenty of remaining warranty will be easy. Provided they follow the recommendations above, shoppers can expect a trouble-free driving experience for years to come.
IIHS: results here
NHTSA: 5/5 Stars (2019)
Here’s a list of recalls.