Powertrain updates make this crossover more palatable

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Less than four months after the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arrived on U.S. shores in December 2017, Mitsubishi is launching an updated version at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland this March. The updates focus on increased efficiency from this plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, but visual updates and interior improvements are also made.

Mitsubishi will announce the full details on March 6, but we already have a good understanding of the changes coming for 2019. The U.S. is expected to get this new model, too, though it might not happen until 2020.

Continue reading for more information.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Exterior

  • Updated front fascia
  • New 18-inch wheels
  • Larger rear spoiler
  • LED Headlights
left right
Mitsubishi isn’t giving the 2019 Outlander PHEV a very in-depth visual makeover, but rather, a simple yet effective set of changes

Mitsubishi isn’t giving the 2019 Outlander PHEV a very in-depth visual makeover, but rather, a simple yet effective set of change that keep the three-row crossover from looking stale.

The front receives most of the updates, with the grille taking on a slightly different shape; a bolder “slid plate” along front bumper’s lower edge; the headlights going LED; and the fog lights getting new rectangular bezels that connect to the vertical accents under the headlights. New 18-inch alloy wheels with a “more elaborate two-tone” design are the only changes to the Outlander PHEV’s sides. Around back, the rear spoiler over the tailgate is now larger, likely for aerodynamic reasons.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Interior

  • Updated dashboard switchgear
  • New gauge cluster
  • Richer materials
  • Better bolstered front seats
  • New HVAC vents for rear passengers
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV High Resolution Interior
- image 670752

Inside, the 2019 Outlander PHEV now has higher quality leather seating, redesigned front buckets with thicker bolsters, reworked buttons on the dash, a new gauge cluster, new trim panels, and new HVAV vents for the rear passengers.

Mitsubishi has not released imagines of the new interior, so we’ll have to wait until the Geneva Motor Show for our first official look. Still, we don’t expect massive changes to things like the 2+3+2 seating arrangement.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Drivetrain

  • New 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Larger battery now has 13.8-kWh
  • 10-percent larger motors
  • Expected EV range improvements past 22-mile current
  • AWD is standard
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 670773

Note: Current engine pictured here.

The old 2.0-liter four-cylinder with its Otto combustion cycle is replaced by a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder with the fuel-sipping Atkinson combustion cycle

While the body and interior have relatively minimal changes, the drivetrain of the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been deeply updated. The old 2.0-liter four-cylinder with its Otto combustion cycle is replaced by a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder with the fuel-sipping Atkinson combustion cycle. The Atkinson cycle keeps the intake valves open as each piston begins its compression stroke. This helps lower the compression ratio and therefore requires less fuel.

In addition to the gasoline powertrain update, the battery and electric motors are now larger and will deliver more range than the outgoing Outlander PHEV’s 22-mile EV range. The battery capacity grows by 15 percent, growing from 12 kWh to 13.8. This should also mean more time in EV mode before the gasoline engine kicks on in response to power demands.

Charging should also be improved, too. The outgoing model could achieve an 80-percent charge in just 25 minutes at a DC Fast Charging station. On a 240-volt system, the 2018 Outlander PHEV would reach a full change in less than four hours. Even on a conventional 120-volt plug, a full charge was possible in less than eight hours.

Having electric motors at both the front and rear axle means the Outlander PHEV is AWD. In fact Mitsubishi includes four driving modes: Snow, Normal, Sport, and 4WD Lock. Specifics about the 2019 Outlander PHEV’s powertrain will likely be announced at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, so we’ll have to wait for that information.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Prices

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- image 770189

Mitsubishi has not released pricing on the 2019 Outland PHEV model, but we do know what the 2018 model lists for. It starts at $34,595 in its base SEL trim. Opting for the GT put the beginning price at $40,295. Expect a slight increase in price for the 2019 model, though not much considering Mitsubishi’s shaky footing in the U.S.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Competition

As popular as SUVs and hybrid are these days, it’s extremely surprising Mitsubishi is the only automaker to combine the two, while mixing in a plug-in feature and an affordable starting price. It closest true competitor in the people-moving PHEV category is a minivan – the Pacifica Hybrid. And for those who might not care are about the plug-in aspect, Toyota has its Highlander Hybrid.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 662017

The Pacifica Hybrid looks and drives like any other Chrysler Pacifica, only it has a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack sitting under its second row. The battery is good for an impressive 33 miles of range when driven conservatively. When the juice is gone, the hybrid-specific 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 running the Atkinson cycle kicks on and powers the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission. When it comes time to charge, the van will reach 100 percent in just two hours on a 240-volt plug. Those with the standard 120-volt plug will need 14 hours. The EPA estimates the Pacifica Hybrid will get 32 mpg combined with just the gasoline engine and an impressive 84 MPGe with both the engine and hybrid system working together.

Aside from its powertrain, the Pacifica Hybrid boasts seating for seven people in three rows of seating. Twin sliding doors make entry and exits easy and tons of cargo space behind the third row will swallow school projects and strollers.

Pricing for the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid starts at $41,090 before any government rebates and tax write-offs.

Read our full review on the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2017 Toyota Highlander Wallpaper quality
- image 669311

If plugging in and having a full battery at the start of your drive doesn’t matter to you, Toyota’s 2018 Highlander Hybrid offers many of the same benefits as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but without the need to, well, plug in.

Power comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 running the Atkinson combustion cycle and a mild battery system that supplements the engine rather than providing a full-on electric driving experience. The result is 30 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

Pricing for the 2018 Toyota Highlander hybrid starts at $36,670 and ranges to nearly $50,000 with all the bells and whistled added.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.


2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV High Resolution Exterior
- image 670747

Mitsubishi might be hanging on by a thread in the U.S., but in other parts of the world, the automaker is doing decently well. The improvements to the Outlander PHEV for the 2019 model year should help its sales even more. Mitsubishi managed to move roughly 100,000 examples in the last three years inside Europe.

While the Outlander PHEV remains America’s only true plug-in hybrid three-row crossover, it’s unlikely Mitsubishi will have a runaway success. It’s too bad, really, as the Outlander PHEV might be a truly competitive vehicle. Sadly, its popularity is stifled by Mitsubishi’s forgettable public image and dwindling lineup.

  • Leave it
    • Suffers from bad brand image
    • Official details held until Geneva debut


Mitsubishi Outlander

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV High Resolution Exterior
- image 670750

Read our full review on the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

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Read more Mitsubishi news.

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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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