September 08, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The New Mitsubishi Flagship

Our first comprehensive test of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was with the lone 2016 unit sold to the EVAP. The model you see here in pristine white is the current 2020 model that will officially be sold in the Philippine market. It has very significant improvements, most of which you can’t see underneath the tasteful yet subtle updated exterior. The new wheel design (18” x 7J alloys wrapped with 225/55R18 98H Dunlop SP Sport 5000 tires) is the most obvious change that is immediately attractive while adding the slightest hint of aggression.

The Mitsubishi Outlander model series, which launched back in 2013 is currently deep in its 3rd-generation with a completely newly designed 4th generation model projected to be released at the earliest in late 2021. The new launch unit represents the 2nd-generation of the PHEV variant series. Despite the pandemic, Mitsubishi stuck to their announcement last January that they would be launching the updated 2020 Outlander PHEV by the 4th quarter of this year. The new Outlander PHEV will be presented during the EVAP Summit in late September as an added attraction. During that same January announcement, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with five dealers: Union Motor Corporation, Fast Autoworld Philippines, Motorplaza Inc., SFM Sales Corporation, and Mindanao Integrated Commercial Enterprises Inc. with the goal to open the Philippines’ first Dendo Drive Station.

The Dendo Drive Station features a solar power system combined with Vehicle to Home (V2H) equipment, a system for supplying homes with electric power stored in EV and PHEV batteries. The station is equipped with solar panels, bi-directional chargers, storage batteries, and inverters. Together, these enable the charging of power to EV and PHEV by solar power generation and the feeding of power to the outlets by EV and PHEV. This system allows charging of EVs and PHEVs in the showrooms as well as to supply electricity from EVs and PHEVs back to the showrooms.

During the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, C! Managing Editor Chris Van Hoven and I, along with Philippine media, visited Mitsubishi’s flagship Dendo Drive Station (called the MI-Garden in Ginza, Japan) which was powered by one lone Outlander PHEV, the same model as our test unit. While we were there, we were served food cooked by electric grill, toaster, and oven while being served drinks cooled by refrigeration. All the appliances were powered by the same Outlander PHEV that was generating electricity for the whole incredibly efficient showcase!

Mitsubishi’s sophisticated flagship, the 5-seater Outlander plug-in hybrid crossover, might look demure and modest compared to its larger 7-seater SUV brother, the Montero Sport, but it is a very refined technological powerhouse. The new test model uses the uprated 2.4-liter gasoline MIVEC engine and larger 13.8 kWh lithium-ion battery that produces 1,500-watts through two onboard AC outlets so you can truly use it for outdoor adventures as well as maximize it by making it part of the power grid.

The Outlander has genuine all-wheel-drive capability. It uses two separate electric motors like before with the front producing 60 kW, but now the rear motor produces 10 kW more energy at 70kW. The torque figures remain the same as before however, the front produces 101 lb-ft, while the rear produces 144 lb-ft. The gasoline fueled powerplant is now a more powerful and more efficient 2.4-liter engine with full MIVEC, Atkinson-cycle, dohc and 16-valves that produces 9 hp and 10 lb-ft more at the same maximum 4500 rpm engine speeds to protect the system from unnecessary over revving as it energizes a stronger 80-kW generator, which feeds power to the main battery and the motors. The power gains are modest but the results are profound. With the same 45-liter fuel tank size as before combined with the lithium ion battery capacity increase of 1.8 kWh, the 2020 Outlander PHEV gained 20 kilometers more of pure plug-in EV range and a total combined range increase of 64 kilometers. Furthermore, the overall power improvements also made drivability even more effortless with a bit more dynamic verve. So, acceleration, especially in the mid-range, which is used the most in every day real-world applications, has improved dramatically.

The adaptive onboard intelligence manages all the action effortlessly and automatically. When cruising at highway speeds for example, a hydraulic clutch will also engage the engine at a fixed gear ratio while working both electric motors to double up for regenerative braking. The primary directive of the smart Outlander is to function as efficiently and as cleanly as possible so it will always endeavor to extend range by default. As a result, there are so many options available to adjust the crossover’s behavior and power usage. Very similar to the Chevrolet Volt, but not as dedicated, the gasoline combustion engine functions more like a generator with the primary propulsion being driven by the electric motors. It is a very complex system that requires a good amount of time of discovery to fully exploit its vast energy capabilities. The wonderful thing is that if you are not interested in trying to actively extract every atom from the system, the Outlander will intelligently work for you anyhow and adapt to your driving style with your best interests embedded in its artificial brain.

The Outlander rides very well on its fully independent suspension; classic MacPherson struts with anti-roll bar up front and multi-link with anti-roll bar at the rear. The 54:46 weight distribution has been retained and makes the Outlander feel planted and fairly agile. Braking is good with 11.6-inch vented discs in the front managed by two-pot calipers and 11.9-inch solid discs at the rear with single-sliders, which have been recalibrated with less characteristically wooden functionality. The brake-controlled active S-AWC is an Integrated Vehicle Dynamics Control System that realizes the AWC concept with four driving modes: NORMAL, SNOW, GRAVEL and the S-AWC ECO Mode. Though functionally similar to other brand’s active torque-vectoring, the Outlander PHEV’s system adds Active Yaw Control that helps regulate torque and braking force at each individual wheel for consistent all-weather driving with confidence and safety. There are six levels of regenerative braking to choose from selected by the steering wheel paddles as before so you can decide what setting best suits your needs, again if you wish to gain that last bit of incremental energy to extend range.

The new 13.8-kWh battery, when fully charged, will give you a maximum range 55 kilometers at speeds up to 135 km/h (up by 15 km/h) on pure electrified energy. If you plug it in to a standard 240-volt 10-ampere household socket using the provided charger it will take 5.5 hours to charge a fully depleted battery. However, in about 25 minutes, you will already have 80% of the full charge which is very advantageous. Even if you never actually utilize the plug-in feature for the extra EV range, the Outlander will function like any other standard hybrid like a Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota Prius, Corolla Altis, and Corolla Cross. The big difference is that you would now have the most affordable, most equipped, and most spacious 5-seater luxury crossover currently available in our market with full all-wheel-drive capability.

Unlike other hybrids in our market, the new Mitsubishi Outlander can legitimately tow up to 1,500 pounds and does have lockable all-wheel-drive. Which means that the Outlander can be used to actually trailer a jet ski to the beach and safely be able to launch and retrieve it in a properly graded marina slipway. The approach angle is 21 degrees, departure angle 22.5 degrees, and ramp breakover is 19 degrees. The ground clearance though is not so high at 190 mm but it can still water wade up to a maximum of 400 mm.

The new infotainment system uses an 8-inch Smartphone-Link Display Audio (SDA) unit with better connectivity, more features, has Android Auto™ compatibility, rear and overhead reverse guided camera monitoring, and an excellent 510-watt 8-speaker Mitsubishi Power Sound System that sounds great and can be fine-tuned further. To save weight, Mitsubishi removed the spare tire and instead provided a full tire repair kit.

The new Outlander now has full LED-lighting, still has a moonroof, has more refined interior appointments, has multiple airbags, and has a very comprehensive standard active safety suite called Mitsubishi Motors Intuitive Technology (MiTEC). This is an integrated system that features a Multi Around Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Change Assist (LCA), Ultrasonic-misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), Hill Start Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control (TCL), and Automatic High Beam.

There is a lot of equipment and gadgetry to play with and entertain yourself. It is not the most dynamic nor does it have the longest driving range, but the new Mitsubishi flagship, the Outlander PHEV, is a desirable crossover that has been proven in the most demanding markets to be very durable, very versatile, comfortable, and unique. I only wish it had a more accommodating price because it is an excellent full-featured vehicle that is very easy to drive and should be enjoyed by more than just a few wealthy consumers. Then again, it is precisely that exclusivity that would make it more special.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 2360 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector MIVEC, Atkinson-cycle, 80 hp (60 kW) & 94 hp (70kW) Permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors with 101 lb-ft and 144 lb-ft, 80-kW auxiliary generator, 300-Volt 13.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 126 hp @ 4500 rpm (236 hp total combined with EV)
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 147 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm (221 lb-ft total combined with EV)
Transmission CVT

Performance

Top Speed 170 km/h (106 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.3 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 25 City mpg / 25 mpg Highway (85 MPGe, Pure EV range 55-kilometers [35 miles], 594-kilometer [371 miles] combined fuel range)

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 2,998,000.00
What's Great More potent, better-equipped, very smooth, efficient, quiet, innovative and refined.
What's Not So Price. Could still have more range. Could use more dynamic thrust.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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