Comparing the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV
2017 was quite the year for new vehicle concepts. So many futuristic ideas, self-driving technology, and an uproar of alternative fuel vehicles came to light. Notably, the very successful Kia Niro was a major change for Kia, bringing sporty style to a hybrid crossover with coupe-esque lines.
Later into the year, Mitsubishi Motors was making noise every few months with a new announcement about its future plans in the industry. Before the Nissan-Renault Alliance was solidified, they released a new crossover built completely in-house, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
In December 2017, Mitsubishi finally brought the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to the North American branch and Kia released a plug-in hybrid version of the Niro, the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid. So how do the two PHEV crossovers stack up? Here’s a closer look at the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
What Are Plug-in Hybrids?
First, a little homework. When it comes to alternative fuel vehicles, the main three are hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicles (EVs). Hybrids were the first to come about, and they were a lot like regular cars because they are mostly powered by an internal combustion engine (I.C.E.). The difference is, hybrids have a small battery powering an electric motor that slightly improves fuel economy and emits fewer tailpipe emissions.
Then came PHEVs. PHEVs have an internal combustion engine, but they also have a battery that is large enough to power the electric motor separate from the I.C.E. PHEVs can travel far greater distances because they receive energy from both, the I.C.E. fuel and the electric motor’s battery. Not only this, but because of the larger battery, PHEVs can travel solely on electricity for greater distances with regenerative braking in play. That’s the process that diverts energy expended when braking to the generator attached to the battery pack that powers the electric motor. PHEVS also can be recharged for as little as a few dollars, making their I.C.E. unnecessary if looking to go green. If really in the market for a green vehicle though, then consumers would want to look for electric vehicles like the 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV, able to travel up to 238 miles, tailpipe emission-free.
Let’s look at the powertrains that make up the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV. Under the hood of the Outlander PHEV is a 2.0-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine designed with MIVEC and able to generate 117 horsepower. “DOHC” stands for “Double Overhead Camshaft”, an engine design that, in layman’s terms, divides the work of the intake of air and fuel and the exhaust of the resulting fumes between two camshafts versus one to reduce engine stress – or in other words, simplifies the entire operation. “MIVEC” is Mitsubishi’s brand of variable valve timing (VVT) technology that changes the frequency of when an engine’s cylinder performs intake and exhaust, leading to a better performing engine. In addition, two electric motors powered by 12.0kWh lithium-ion batteries make up the Outlander PHEV powertrain, one at the front axle and one at the rear, each able to generate 60 kw, or 80 units of horsepower.
Under the hood of the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV is a 1.6-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine designed with CVVT and gasoline direct injection (GDI). “CVVT” stands for “continuously variable valve timing”, and like MIVEC, it is another version of VVT designed to optimize the engine’s performance. GDI is a fuel delivery system that pressurizes fuel and then injects it directly into the engine’s combustion chamber via its fuel line. The gas engine generates 103 horsepower. A single 8.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the Kia Niro PHEVs electric motor, able to generate 45 kw, or 60 units of horsepower.
Fuel Economy and Driving Range
When it comes to fuel economy and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and especially electric vehicles, a different type of measurement is used. This is known as MPGe, or Miles-Per-Gallon equivalent. MPGe is used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to convert the power used by a PHEV or an electric vehicle into a term that’s familiar to most Americans, i.e. “mpg”. Plug-in hybrids can have two kinds of fuel economy, mpg and MPGe.
The combined city/highway fuel economy for the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV when only powered by the gas engine is 25 mpg. When the engine and the battery are working together in hybrid mode, the Outlander PHEV has a combined city/highway fuel economy of 74 MPGe.
The combined fuel economy of the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV gas engine is 46 mpg. When using both gas and electricity, the Niro PHEV has a measurement of 105 MPGe.
Driving range is also a little different when it comes to alternative fuel vehicles, especially plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Being that they can drive purely on electricity or both, gas and electricity, there are two measurements for each. When driving solely on the electric motors, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can travel 22 miles. When using both electricity and gasoline, the Outlander PHEV has a total driving range of 310 miles. The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV has an electric range of 26 miles and a total driving distance of 560 miles.
Most PHEVs have more than one way to charge, the most practical being via a 120V outlet, the same level used for household appliances. Commonly found at most charging stations, and available for home installation, is the 240V outlet. Using a 120V outlet, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV takes between eight and thirteen hours to reach a full charge. Using a 240V outlet, the Outlander PHEV only takes about 3.5 hours. Similar numbers can be found for the 2018 Kia Niro PHEV. The Niro PHEV is able to fully recharge in a little less than nine hours if using a 120V outlet, and about 2.5 hours when using a 240V outlet.
When it comes down to it, how a consumer chooses between the two depends on what the PHEV will be used for. Driving long distances? The 2018 Kia Niro PHEV driving range will be a great choice. Mostly need a vehicle for the day-to-day commute and errands? The MPGe of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will do just fine. Look for your own Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid in our inventory.