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What is the Mitsubishi Outlander?

The Outlander is a comparatively soft-focus SUV from a company famous – in the UK at least – for either trail-ripping rally cars or old-school off-roaders.

It’s been around since 2001 and is now into its third generation. It squares up to the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail, among others. The Outlander is best known, at the moment, for its plug-in hybrid PHEV version, which has benefited from government grants incentivising such vehicles.

At-a-glance 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander specs

  • Top-speed: 115-118mph
  • 0-62mph: 10.2-11.6 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 38-160mpg
  • Emissions: 41-154g/km
  • Boot space: 128-1,608 litres

Which versions of the Mitsubishi Outlander are available?

There are petrol and plug-in hybrid versions of the Outlander – the diesel option was discontinued at the end of 2018. Each is available in a variety of trim levels and specifications, with varying levels of equipment, interior appointment and trim.

The PHEV commands a premium over its exclusively fuel-burning siblings. If you were hoping for a hot Evolution version of the Outlander, or a similar performance variant, we’re sorry to disappoint.

If you fancy the idea of the PHEV system combined with a capacious cargo area, Mitsubishi sells a van version of the Outlander - the first plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle to be offered in the UK. 

Mitsubishi Outlander styling and engineering

The current Outlander shed 90kg versus the model it replaced, partly through use of high tensile strength steel in the bodywork. It has been very popular due to its PHEV option. This version is capable of more than 150mpg in certain conditions, with a 33-mile electric-only range.

Mitsubishi Outlander rear

As for styling, the Outlander has more or less had the same silhouette since the second-generation car debuted in 2006. It has a modern – albeit not particularly distinctive – face and rear end. It’s not unattractive, but it’s unlikely to impress the neighbours. The functional, flair-free cabin is much the same as it has been since this generation was launched.

How does the Mitsubishi Outlander drive?

The Outlander is a comfortable and capable family SUV with seating for up to seven. The PHEV also offers the ability to drive on battery power alone, making it very versatile for urban drivers who cover short distances. It’s not terribly fast, although there is a briskness associated with electric power.

Nonetheless, comfort is the priority here – not sportiness. The PHEV can be a bit noisy with its clever transmission working the petrol engine hard. Regardless, it’s better than the diesel. Rivals do what a non-hybrid Outlander does, but better.

How much does the Mitsubishi Outlander cost?

This is a big point of contention with the Outlander. Yes, the PHEV is an intriguing and, for some, very suitable prospect. It is, however, really quite expensive. SUVs like the RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe are arguably better, and cost similar or less money. You also have to consider how the electric market has evolved since the PHEV arrived in 2013. Back then, Tesla pretty much ruled the roost. Now, cars like the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric can offer 300 miles of electric range for a not-unreasonable sum. The number of viable EVs on the market is only due to rise. Are the Outlander PHEV’s days numbered as a result?

Find out how Outlander drivers rate their Mitsubishis with our user-generated owners’ reviews.

Mitsubishi Outlander Model History

Current generation Mitsubishi Outlander

February 2013 – Third-generation Outlander reaches UK showrooms with a 2.2-litre diesel engine, six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes, four trim levels – GX2, GX3, GX4 and GX5 – and a focus on achieving a top-rated Euro NCAP crash test score.

April 2014 – Outlander PHEV – plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – launched with 2.0-litre petrol engine and two electric motors (front and rear) to provide permanent all-wheel drive hybrid SUV for the same cost as a diesel model. Benefitted from CO2 emissions as low as 46g/km, making for big tax breaks. Derivatives are GX3h and GX3h+.

January 2015 – New PHEV version called GX5h and GX5hs target company car drivers, with low benefit-in-kind bills promised despite high specification including leather, sunroof and touchscreen multimedia.

October 2016 – special edition Juro version of Outlander PHEV is launched. Based on GX3h+ specification and costing the same, this had TomTom sat-nav along with cruise control, heated front seats, climate control and a touchscreen CD/DVD unit.

November 2016 – improved diesel specification aligns it with PHEV line-up. Trims are 2, 3 and 4 with more kit on all trim levels.

January 2017 – Outlander PHEV updated to keep up with rivals. Suspension and safety were both upgraded, while the plug-in hybrid powertrain was tweaked and now boasted CO2 emissions of 41g/km and fuel economy of 166mpg. Electric range was 32 miles, while the battery could be rapid-charged to 80% in 25 minutes. Trims were 3h, 4h and 5h.

March 2017 – Juro version revised with an electronic parking brake, EV Priority mode, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay mirroring, DAB and a reversing camera.

June 2017 – Keiko special edition launched for diesel version of SUV. This was based on Outlander 3 and gets leather seats plus Mitsubishi’s touchscreen multimedia system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

June 2018 – final update for the PHEV model ushers in larger 2.4-litre petrol engine and revised figures, including a recalculation for more representative fuel economy and emissions to the latest WLTP standard. Headline figures include 141g/km and 46g/km, while 0-62mph took 10.5 seconds and electric range was quoted as 28 miles.

4hs and 5hs trim levels feature additional sensors and safety equipment, adding adaptive cruise, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning plus parking sensors front and rear and a 360-degree camera. 5hs luxury features include premium nappa leather in a range of colours, and more adjustment for the electric seats.

Second-generation Mitsubishi Outlander (2006-2013)

Mitsubishi Outlander MkII (2006-2013)

The second-generation Outlander grew-up and sharpened-up its styling. It’s a broader, boxier car than the original – a shape the current model has maintained.

It was closely related to the Citroen C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007 – essentially the French-badged models were effectively the same car – and its ‘GS’ platform also underpinned the Mitsubishi Lancer and Evolution X, as well as some Fiat Chrysler vehicles including the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Patriot and Chrysler Sebring.

Sporty looks helped it stand out. For the facelift, it even got the sharpened snout of the crazy Evolution X.

First-generation Mitsubishi Outlander (2001-2006)

Mitsubishi Outlander MkI (2001-2006)

The Outlander was a different car back in 2001: a much softer SUV with no electric add-ons, much like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Land Rover Freelander. There was even a half-baked performance model in the form of the Turbo R, with a 240hp version of a Mitsubishi Evolution engine, although the UK missed out officially on this model, a few have crept-in as private imports.