Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2018-2021)

Models Covered

5dr SUV (2.0 petrol)


The Outlander SUV was the world’s best selling Plug-in hybrid in its period – and for good reason. Much of its success was down to the fact that it was first in this segment of the market, but Mitsubishi kept this car popular by continually improving it. That’s certainly what the brand did in creating the much enhanced 2019 model year version of this car. It was a smarter, quieter and more appealing product. And is worth checking out as a used buy.

The History

Launched back in 2014, Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV was the car that popularised Plug-in Hybrid technology and by 2018 was still the best selling model of that kind, both in our market and across our Continent. Partly, that was because the Japanese brand had been continually evolving it and did so once again in 2018, deciding to address the need to certify this car to the new WLTP-cycle standard by introducing a fresh 2.4-litre petrol engine mated to improved electrical technology.

By 2018, over 115,000 Outlander PHEV models had been sold across Europe since 2014 and there had been times when this car had accounted for more than 50% of its brand’s total sales – and more than half of all Plug-in car sales across the board. Initially, that success was down to the way that Mitsubishi was first to market with this technology, but latterly, it had much to do with the effective way that brand was able to communicate the benefits of PHEV motoring. The company reckoned that an average owner with a 20-mile each-way daily commute who did about 18,000 miles a year, paid company car tax and was switching from a typical 40mpg diesel SUV could save themselves over £5,000 a year by switching into one of these.

There were though, limitations to Mitsubishi’s cleverness here. The bulkiness of the mechanicals needed with Plug-in hybrid motoring prevented this petrol/electric variant offering the useful third row seating you’d get with an Outlander powered by a conventional petrol engine. For the same reason, the PHEV variant’s fuel tank was smaller too, which is one of the reasons why this hybrid couldn’t match the total operating range of the conventional model. Easier to address were a couple of the issues with earlier versions of this model: the rather vague handling and cabin quality that was previously slightly questionable, given the money being asked. Mitsubishi insisted that told that both issues had been dealt with by this revised model, which was just as well as that larger engine, also got a bigger 13.8kWh battery and greater electrical motor output. These were useful improvements, but sales were slow and the ASX finally left the British market when the Mitsubishi brand pulled out at the end of 2021.

What You Get

This isn’t an SUV you’d buy to make a driveway statement but in its own way, it’s a smartly functional bit of automotive technology. As for the changes made as part of the 2019 model year update to this third generation Outlander design, well they were relatively minor. Mitsubishi did, after all, make far-reaching aesthetic improvements to this car in 2016. Nevertheless, the company wasn’t able to resist further tinkering with what it called its ‘Dynamic Shield’ design direction, though you’d probably have to be either a previous owner or a brand enthusiast to notice the changes.

And behind the wheel? Well Mitsubishi upgraded the cabin of this car quite a bit as part of changes made to this car back in 2016, which didn’t leave much scope for many further changes that could be made to this 2019 model year car without a complete cabin re-design. This improved model did get a restyled instrument cluster. And the front seats were re-contoured to give more lateral cornering support.

What To Look For

Many Outlander PHEV owners in our survey were very happy with their cars, but inevitably, there were a few issues. One customer had his car continually off the road for a problem eventually traced to an issue with the 'connectors' in the battery compartment. Other complaints related to rattling front head rests and an alarm prone to go off for no reason. More seriously, one owner found that after a safety recall, his car was failing to discharge the battery as its primary power source, meaning that the powertrain continually reverted to petrol power when there was still available battery charge. Always of course, insist on a fully stamped-up service history.

On The Road

Quite a few changes improved this 2019 model year Outlander PHEV model. For a start, the petrol engine that drives its Plug-in hybrid drivetrain was increased in size from 2.0-litres to 2.4-litres. This powerplant puts out 135PS and, as before, is assisted by electric motors at the front and rear, so creating this PHEV variant’s own particular 4WD set-up. With this revised model, the motor at the front still put out 82PS, but the one at the rear was 10% more powerful than before, developing out 95PS.

So, the technology was upgraded – but then there wasn’t really much wrong with that to begin with. In improving this car, Mitsubishi was very aware that the driving experience on offer here also needed to be enhanced if this Outlander was to be more effective in generating conquest sales from more conventional rivals. Hence this improved model’s re-calibrated suspension and a body shell that, thanks to a new structural adhesive welding process, was more rigid. Plus there were bigger brakes, grippier tyres and improved levels of cabin refinement. There was also a selectable ‘Sport’ mode which gives quicker throttle response, sharper feel through the quicker-reacting steering rack and more grip via the ‘Super All-Wheel Control’ system that includes a selectable ‘SNOW’ setting to improve low grip launches and cornering traction on slippery tarmac. It was all welcome but what really sold this car was its efficiency stats, which were WLTP cycle-rated at 139mpg on the combined cycle and 46g/km of CO2.


The changes made to the hybrid engineering of this post-2018 Outlander PHEV were welcome, but they didn’t really change the appeal of this car to any meaningful extent. Still,if you’ve never thought much of electric mobility as an automotive solution, we think it might still have the power to convert you.