Will the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Compete With the Toyota RAV4 Prime?

Green Car Journal awarded the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV the Family Green Car of the Year. The 2020 Toyota RAV4 was not without accolades, tagged as the Number 1 Best Hybrid SUV by Kelley Blue Book. As Mitsubishi and Toyota roll out their 2021 versions of each SUV, shoppers and critics alike wonder if the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will compete with the Toyota RAV4 Prime.

The Outlander PHEV has stood alone above the competition

Since 2014, the current Outlander Plug-In Hybrid has been a best-seller option among hybrids in the U.S. According to cumulative numbers, it’s the worldwide top-selling hybrid. The reason Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV has stood alone above the competition has to do with a unique set of features that include a combination of plug-in capability, all-electric mode, and all-wheel drive, similar to the go-anywhere Chevy Volt, but in an SUV body style.

What’s new on the 2021 Outlander PHEV?

Despite the model’s success, the Outlander is due for a facelift. Mitsubishi was shooting for a sportier look with the 2021 Outlander, but newly released information suggests that the facelift will not come into effect until 2022. 

Whenever it does come, the redesign will include finely detailed horizontal headlamps, a beveled leading edge, which connects to a rectangular grill on a higher hood, along with rear fender creasing. Taking advantage of their Renault/Nissan alliance, the carmaker is building the Outlander on the same frame as the Nissan Rogue.

Among the new Outlanders, standout features are a larger gas engine and an extended gas-free range. The new 2.4-liter engine will boost the SUV’s horsepower from 117 to 133 and a boost from 80 hp to 93 hp in a pair of rear engines. The 2021 model’s battery pack will see an improvement from 12 kWh to 13.8 kWh, doubling its current all-electric range of 22 miles to 44 miles.

The 2021 RAV4 Prime has its sights on the top spot


Avoid Buying the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage at All Costs

Few exterior design changes are in store for the 2021 RAV4 Prime, which has enjoyed popular curb appeal since its 2019 redesign. However, a lot of exciting new things are going on inside. Most notable is a horsepower boost from 209 to 302, which will make it the second fastest auto in Toyota’s lineup.

Despite its boost in power, the RAV4 Prime puts up numbers that could exceed EV critics’ expectations. All-electric miles expected for the 2021 RAV4 Prime are right around 42 with a combined 38 mpg, extending the vehicle’s range to 600 miles on a full tank of gas and a full charge. These numbers leave the 2021 Ford Escape PHEV far behind with a range of only 530 miles.

How do Outlander PHEV and RAV4 Prime compare in 2021?

The 2021 Outlander PHEV has made some major improvements to its all-electric range, which should match or beat that of the 2021 RAV4 Prime. However, even with a larger engine, it lags far behind the Toyota model’s horsepower and fuel economy. 

The Outlander’s range should come close to that of the 2021 Ford Escape PHEV, still well behind the competition.

In contrast, the 2021 Outlander PHEV has several distinct advantages the RAV4 Prime lacks. The Outlander’s benefits include a base sticker price of $2k lower than the RAV4 Prime and its unique capacity for DC fast-charging, which means that on a CHAdeMO connector, you can achieve an 80% charge within 25 minutes. 

However, the biggest advantage enjoyed by the Outlander is its range of inventory. RAV4 Prime will come out in limited quantity, making it harder to find that Outlander will enjoy relative abundance.

The Outlander PHEV will face stiff competition from RAV4 Prime in 2021

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime will provide stiff competition against the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Though the Outlander’s Toyota classmate shows some impressive potential, getting your hands on one is going to be a tricky proposition. On the other hand, buyers will find it easy to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV off the lot, which means the Outlander will maintain its top spot as the best-selling PHEV in 2021.