Mitsubishi have a lot of firsts and one of them was the introduction to the Australian market of a mainstream plug-in hybrid SUV in the form of the Outlander PHEV in 2014.
Since then, it has had a couple of facelifts and the introduction of the GSR model. The new-for-2021 GSR trim level includes unique two-tone, 18-inch alloy wheels and black exterior trim, giving the Outlander PHEV a sharper look, though it doesn’t really live up to the GSR name of the past.
What sets the PHEV GSR apart is its suspension tune. It scores Bilstein monotube front struts with ball-bearing upper insulator assemblies, Bilstein rear dampers and increased front and rear spring rates to justify the black GSR badge on its tailgate. And inside there’s tactile seat inserts (with leatherette bolsters), an electric driver’s seat, silver stitching and anthracite headlining.
The Outlander PHEV GSR is powered by an all-alloy, 2.4-litre, naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, featuring Mitsubishi’s ‘MIVEC’ variable valve timing tech, and producing 94kW at 4500rpm and 199Nm at 4500rpm. It’s joined by a 60kW/137Nm electric motor on the front axle and a 70kW/195Nm unit at the rear.
Mitsubishi calls the twin-motor set-up ‘Super All Wheel Control’ (S-AWC) and aside from enhancing on-road stability it gives the PHEV GSR off-road ability, but in a mild way only.
Mitsubishi’s combined cycle fuel economy claim (ADR 81/02 urban, extra-urban) is just 1.9L/100km, emitting 43g/km of CO2 in the process. If you keep the battery topped up and use more of the electric site, then this is possible. However, running on fuel it was closer to 6L/100km.
As expected there are active systems like ABS, EBD, EBA, and traction and stability controls, active tech includes, ‘Forward Collision Mitigation’ (Mitsubishi-speak for AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, ‘Blind Spot Warning’, lane departure warning, ‘Lane Change Assist’, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beam, and an ‘Emergency Stop Signal’ function. There are also front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
The GSR is also equipped with seven airbags (driver and front passenger front and side, full-length curtain, and driver’s knee).
It drives rather well although it is a little firm. The sporty suspension does not give like many other SUV’s and when you are out for the weekend and exploring this is not a bad thing. It can however get a little tiresome when driving around town, although it is not that bad really and it is a GSR after all. It is no “sports” SUV and the steering is a little lighter than it should be but it is that little bit better in drive quality over the standard Outlander.
The Outlander PHEV GSR, which is second of three trim levels, is priced at $56,490 drive-away which comes in well over $15,000 above a base model all-wheel drive petrol variant. This is also a five-seater over the ES’s extra row of seats.
It may seem pricey, but you do get all of that battery power and fuel saving so the offset may be worth it for some.
Car and Bike New Opinion
We have liked the Outlander PHEV from when it was first introduced and it has only become better over time. It looks better now, drives better now and is really just overall better.
Battery technology is coming along in leaps and bounds and with the new model due later this year, it may pay to keep the cash in the pocket. But while we know what this one is like, the new one may not live up to the standard, although we think it will. Have a drive and see because Mitsubishi are doing a great job with the PHEV.