Car News

2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Debuts, Range Not Announced Yet

Building on its impressive overhauled Outlander SUV, the 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) will join the lineup next year with a 20-kWh battery, more power from both gas and electric motors, and a new one-pedal drive mode.

Visually, the PHEV model will look just like the redesigned gas-only Mitsubishi Outlander that was introduced for 2022 with a prominent grille and slim headlights. It will have the same interior, too, which has added details like soft-touch materials and quilted stitching that give the Outlander one of the nicest cabins in the class.

It's underneath where the important changes happen, starting with the new EV drive system. The 2.4L gas engine is the same size as before but with 131 hp and 143 lb-ft, a small bump over the previous model. More importantly, Mitsubishi says it has been modified with an integrated exhaust manifold and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler, and has better fuel efficiency at both low-rev cruising and at high RPM under load. Output is up on both the front and rear electric motors, now outputting 113 hp and 134 hp, thanks to new magnets and coil winding as well as a new oil cooling system. As before, the Outlander PHEV will be able to run in all-wheel drive mode on electric power alone.

The battery capacity has been boosted to 20 kWh instead of 13.8, giving it almost 2 kWh more than the Toyota RAV4 Prime and is the biggest of the mainstream PHEV crossovers. Range for Canada hasn't been finalized yet, but Mitsubishi claims the SUV is capable of 87 km of electric driving on the generous European testing cycle. Under our country's more realistic testing, we estimate it will have about 61 km of EV driving range, based on how other PHEV models compare on the two tests. Apart from the expanded capacity (up 16 to 96 cells), it has a new heat sink that cools each cell to save space and add efficiency. Important for Canadian winters, Mitsubishi says that it has "optimized the battery temperature while charging at low temperature."

Uniquely for a PHEV, Mitsubishi has made the gas tank larger than before, so it now holds 56L of fuel instead of 45L, meaning that the PHEV offers even more total range. The tank itself is a new plastic unit moulded to allow a better fit under the floor and, the automaker says, to cut weight.

Mitsubishi has also outfitted the PHEV with an EV-style one-pedal driving mode. The automaker says this leads to better control on winding roads and more peace of mind on snowy ones. The brake pedal is still required for harder braking or to come to a complete stop, and just letting off the accelerator will let the Outlander PHEV creep forward at parking speeds. The mode is selected with a switch near the gear lever.

Plugging it in with its onboard charger will fill the battery in 7.5 hours, while it can be brought to 80 per cent in about 38 minutes on Level 2 charging. The Outlander's gas engine can also be used to charge the battery. The Outlander will also have a 1,500W household electrical outlet that can be used to power a variety of accessories.

Driver assistance features will include highway driving assistance with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping. Traffic sign recognition and adaptive LED lights are also on the list, and Mitsubishi's release, which is based on Japanese market information, says it also includes a new emergency assist that kicks in when it senses you've hit the accelerator when you meant to hit the brake.

Sales of the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV are set to start in Japan before the end of the year and hit North America in the second half of 2022. Expect pricing, features, and that all-important range number sometime around the middle of next year.