First Drive – 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT S-AWC

by Bill P. and Sommer Thornton

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV builds on the brands landmark EV technology with an amazingly efficient powertrain set off by a cool new look. Mitsubishi’s top-selling SUV is now more stylish and fresh with LED high beams and headlights, a new front grille design and new front and rear bumper. Inside the spacious cockpit is available premium gray leather and an intuitive center stack with gloss back accents.

The best feature the Outlander possesses is of course its hybrid powertrain. Two high-output electric motors and a 2 liter MIVEC 4-cylinder engine power the Outlander PHEV’s near 300+ mile driving range.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The redesigned 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has fresh cues like a cool rear spoiler grille, headlamps and bumper accents. LED high beams are all new for the Outlander PHEV GT.

The Outlander PHEV is available in three trims, the base SEL S-AWC, the GTS-AWC we reviewed and the FE S-AWC. The larger engine variant originally introduced overseas will not be available this year. The new Outlander PHEV at $35k to start may be one of the most efficient SUVS at its size with a 74 mpge fuel economy.

Fresh Design Cues Enhance Performance and Comfort

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT AWC we reviewed has an aerodynamic edge due to its big spoiler, big wheels and grille. A crease at the window that runs the length of the side adds swiftness. Silver roof rails, 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, chrome beltline molding and dark chrome accents are fresh cues that give the Outlander GT a more athletic stance.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT boasts standard LED daytime running lights, headlights and fog lights and LED rear combination tail lights, color-keyed outside door handles and color-keyed heated side mirrors with turn indicators. These features aren’t noteworthy alone, but with a new upgraded cabin and driving range better than some luxury hybrid SUVs, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV becomes a worthwhile buy.

One can’t help but wander if the Outlander get another makeover in the coming years. While the whip is a little more stylish, designers should be conjuring up a redesign for 2020 and beyond.

Luckily the new Outlander adds many upgrades to its previously mundane cabin. Eight-way power leather seats are standard with a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. Black headliners and pillars are set off well against chrome plated door handles and gloss black accents surrounding the instrument panel, audio panel and trimming the doors.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV interior
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV interior

A power glass sunroof replaces the panoramic sunroof that kept previous Outlander models hot as an oven.

There should be a lumbar adjustment. Yet the seats are still comfy for the driver and five passengers. The layout of the new Mitsubishi Outlander is well thought out and ergonomically on-point. Drivers are in max comfort in soft leather seats. And the controls for climate, infotainment and safety technology is easy to access.

The center shifter area with its silver trim has the EV drive mode switches, the drive mode selector, 4WD lock and auto hold button carefully placed for optimal accessibility. The new Mitsubishi Outlander also has a redesigned electric shift lever that takes some getting used to, especially since the “park” button is behind the shifter. After getting acclimated shifting is fun.

The steering wheel has controls for audio, phone and voice command. Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters allow for a swift manual mode.

The Outlander PHEV also has cool PHEV badging along with an energy meter that displays the charge and power distribution in the LCD multi-information display.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV center screen
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV center screen

A six-speaker audio system is standard on the base model along with a 7 inch smartphone display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth. A rearview camera is also standard. With a front and rear USB port plus a 12-volt outlet and 1500 watt AC power supply with two outlets the Mitsubishi Outlander is also an optimized power supply.

With careful upgrades to its interior. The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV competes better with its hybrid SUV rivals.

Fun Performance with Superb Efficiency and Advanced Safety

The most fun part of the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is its new and improved powertrain. The Outlander PHEV employs refined EV components with three charging options to boast a 74 MPGe combined fuel economy (electricity and gas).

All three PHEV models have the same amazing powertrain that includes a 2.0 liter MIVEC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine and 60 kW twin AC synchronous motors with three drive modes – EV, Series Hybrid and Parallel Hybrid mode. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a 120V and 240V charging system along with DC fast charge capability.

With great efficiency the Outlander PHEV is ready to go on a long or short trip with a drive range of 310 miles. Along with multiple drive modes, regenerative braking allows the Outlander PHEV to conserve and convert the force of the whip slowing down – motion energy to electric energy. While decelerating electric energy will be created to charge the 12kWh main drive lithium-ion battery.

The performance of the Outlander PHEV is surprising swift with fluid electric power steering and smooth acceleration. The big-body doesn’t have a ton of horsepower at 117 horsepower and 137 lb-ft of torque – both at 4,500 rpm, but performance is well-balanced and sometimes fun.

Once the Outlander PHEV gets going, it will glide at a smooth cruise, but the launch has a lag that feels like 3-4 seconds. It’s a drag to get on the expressway because the whip takes so long to catch up. The Outlander PHEV features a front single speed drive mode switchable reduction gearbox and a rear single speed fixed reduction gearbox.

When drivers take their foot off the gas, it’s said to have the same braking force as a gas/diesel engine. And depressing the brake ignites regenerative braking to gain more power. Drivers can see the charge and power delivery in each drive mode via the energy meter in the instrument cluster’s LCD display.

Macpherson strut front and multilink rear suspension is weak in the Outlander PHEV with shocks causing the driver to feel pressure from craters, speed humps and train tracks. And when braking, cargo contents slide across the seat and behind the rear.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander LCD screen and ECO Meter
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander LCD screen and ECO Meter

Running only on electricity will take the Outlander PHEV about 22 miles. It’s not enough to brag about, but the whip is so efficient with gas drivers won’t need to charge it often.

With multiple ways to charge the Outlander PHEV, drivers can leave it in the garage for the max 13 hours it takes to charge fully via the 120V charging system or 3.5 hours with the 240V charging system. The 120V charge system has an 8A and 12A switchable charging cable which can shave 5 hours off the charge time. The CHAdeMO DC charge system takes an impressive 25 minutes to charge up to 80%.

There are few new standard safety features on the new Outlander PHEV. But the features it possesses work well together to keep driver safe and well informed. Improvements to noise vibration harshness (NVH) enhance overall ride comfort.

Standard safety features include Active Stability Control, Hill-Start Assist and Blind Spot Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. Available safety features like Forward Collision Mitigation use sensors to warn drivers and possibly prevent an accident. The optional lane departure warning will warn drivers when they are drifting out of their lane.

The fully-loaded 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT we reviewed is an admiral step in the right direction for the brand. With few cars in their arsenal, the Outlander has become their shining star. Plus $42,000 isn’t bad for everything buyers get for the electrified Outlander PHEV GT. Especially when the hybrid technology has such great benefits.

Check out more photos from our First Drive with the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV on our social media pages!

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Posted by UnRated Flair on Monday, May 6, 2019