2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV review

By Tim Pomroy
2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR electric car
2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR electric car

Stouter suspension makes the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV a more versatile SUV option

Launched in 2014, the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) was a world first, combining Mitsubishi’s expertise in 4WD vehicles with the high-tech wizardry used in its all-electric i-MiEV city car.

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV driving range and power

Unlike most hybrids, where range on battery power alone is limited to one or two kilometres, the PHEV system in the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV uses a 13.8kWh battery to provide up to 54km of range. That might not sound like much compared to modern EVs that have up to 450km, but it’s less than the average daily commute for most people, making pure EV driving in the PHEV feasible.

For those with less predictable driving routines, the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander’s 94kW/199Nm 2.4-litre petrol engine comes into play. The hybrid mode is enabled when the battery charge is low and acceleration is required.

The petrol engine will drive the front wheels with the assistance of the electric motors, increasing output to 157kW and 332Nm. The system does all the work and, apart from options for conserving battery power and setting brake regeneration, the PHEV drives the same as a regular Outlander.

The GSR moniker, reserved for Mitsubishi’s sports variants, adorns the tailgate of this latest PHEV. Specialist suspension manufacturer Bilstein has supplied revised front suspension struts and rear shock absorbers, matched to uprated front and rear springs and improved mounts.

Black exterior detailing, self-levelling headlamps and 18-inch black machined alloy wheels distinguish the GSR from other models. The interior makeover has black finishes to the headlining and door trim, while the four-way electrically adjustable front driver’s seat is finished in micro fibre and leather.

How much does the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV cost?

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV is priced at $52,490, a premium of $8500 compared to a conventional 2.4-litre petrol AWD Exceed. Its spec level puts it just below the Exceed, missing out on sat nav and digital speed readouts. But the safety package is enhanced with blind spot warning, lane change assistance and rear cross-traffic alert.

With the boss’ imprimatur, we loaded the Outlander to the gunwales with beach paraphernalia for a 500km road trip to Scotts Head. Folding one side of the 60/40 split second-row seat allowed a surfboard to be stowed inside rather than on the roof, and the centre console and door pockets handled the snacking requirements with room to spare.

Heading off with an indicated battery range of just under 50km, most of the charge was eaten up in the slow journey through Sydney (which is where the PHEV does its best work reducing emissions). The rest of the drive was covered in hybrid modes using the most aggressive regenerative braking setting.

How does the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV drive?

While still not the best handling SUV, the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV is much better than before, with upgraded suspension tightening its on-road feel, improving body control and reducing movement – something immediately noticeable on stretches of the old highway. Ride comfort, smoothness and quietness remain Outlander strong points.

Charging the PHEV overnight using the household cable saw an indicated 54km range the next morning. It was enough to cover our trips to Macksville and, for much of our holiday, only EV mode was required. With the battery reducing our reliance on the petrol engine, we averaged 7.4L/100km for the trip, a miserly return by class standards.

The regular Outlander PHEV wouldn’t be my first choice for long-distance travel, as it’s more at home in the suburbs, but Mitsubishi’s thoughtful suspension tweaks have enhanced its all-round capabilities. This makes the GSR a much more attractive proposition for those outside the CBD.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander GSR PHEV at a glance

Pros: Better specification level; improved handling and refinement

Cons: No digital speed readout; dash design is starting to show its age