Toyota RAV4 Prime Vs Mitsubishi Outlander
Toyota RAV4 Prime and Mitsubishi Outlander Which one is the Better Plug-in hybrid SUV? That’s what we’re going to find out.
The RAV4 prime has been a really hot commodity for the past few years.
Demand and Availability
The waiting period for one can be ridiculously long. And even if you can find a dealership that actually has one, they’re often charging a huge price premium.
It’s a similar size SUV with similar performance efficiency and pricing, and both SUVs are even manufactured in Japan.
And perhaps most significantly, you don’t have to wait in eternity or pay a ridiculous markup to get your hands on one. This is an SUV that you can just walk into a dealer and pretty much buy right away.
But is it a good alternative to the RAV4 prime? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out. So let’s start with the efficiency because these are both plug-in hybrid vehicles, they do have large hybrid battery packs and they are able to travel on electric power just like an electric vehicle.
When you charge them on a full charge, the RAV4 prime is able to travel up to around 42 miles or 68 kilometers on electric power.
And the Outlander plugin hybrid is very close, able to travel around 38 miles or 61 kilometers.
So either way, both of these SUVs have more than enough electric range for the typical daily commute.
So as long as you keep them charged on a regular basis, you’re not going to have to spend very much money on gas.
Now when it comes to charging, both of these SUVs will take around two hours to charge on a level two charger, but you can plug them into a regular household outlet, a 120 volt outlet where they will take several hours to charge.
Now, one small advantage of the Outlander is that it is compatible with level three DC fast charging, but it is the more outdated chato connector, which unfortunately is not the best.
But of course, the great thing about plugin hybrid vehicles is that you don’t need to keep them charged all the time.
If you need to do a much longer drive, even a road trip somewhere, you have that hybrid engine there as a backup.
And when it comes to hybrid efficiency, this is where the RAV4 prime has a huge advantage.
In hybrid mode with the gas engine on the RAV4 prime is able to achieve up to around 40 miles per gallon or six liters per 100 kilometers, more or less the same fuel economy as the RAV4 hybrid, and that’s class leading efficiency in this class.
The Outlander Plugin Hybrid, on the other hand, is not able to do quite as well. It’s only rated for around 26 miles per gallon or nine liters per 100 kilometers when driven in hybrid mode with the gas engine on.
Now, realistically in the real world, I have been able to get better fuel economy than that, but it’s still not as good as the RAV4 prime. And because
It’s able to travel over 500 miles or over 800 kilometers on a tank much further than the Outlander, it is the overall winner between the two when it comes to efficiency.
Power and Performance
Now what about the power and performance? Well, in the case of the RAV4, we have a two and a half liter naturally aspirated four cylinder engine that comes connected to two electric motors up front, an ECVT planetary gear type transmission, and a third electric motor at the back wheels giving you standard all-wheel drive.
It is basically the same hybrid system that’s used in the RAV4 hybrid and many other Toyota models only because we have a much larger battery pack and more powerful electric motors.
You do get a lot more power. It produces just over 302 horsepower, which makes this a surprisingly quick SUV.
Now the Outlander has a surprisingly similar hybrid setup.
It uses a naturally aspirated 2.4 liter four cylinder engine, which again comes connected to two electric motors up front and a third electric motor at the back wheels giving you all wheel drive.
The system produces 248 horsepower and 332 pound feet of torque, which makes it a fairly quick SUV, but not quite as powerful as the RAV4 prime.
And because the RAV4 has more power than the Mitsubishi, it also has a better towing capacity.
It’s able to tow up to 2,500 pounds as opposed to 2000 pounds in the Outlander.
Either way, both of these are still class leading four small crossover SUVs, but even though the RAV4 does feel more powerful and does have a better towing capacity, it’s actually the Outlander that feels like the more refined and smoother SUV to drive.
Now the RAV4 is still a very smooth SUV. The hybrid system has excellent refinement and it’s more or less totally seamless when the gas engine is turning on and off, but the Outlander’s hybrid system is somehow even smoother.
Unlike the RAV4, which has an ECVT and does have that typical CVT feel as you accelerate, the Mitsubishi has a one speed transmission essentially.
It really doesn’t have a transmission at all. VGAs engine is basically working like a generator to make power for the electric motors when it’s needed.
And because of that, it has more of an electric vehicle feel and that really makes it feel like a much smoother end, more comfortable SUV to drive.
Now, I would still say that both of these are still very refined and comfortable SUVs, but the Outlander definitely stands out a little bit when it comes to its quietness and overall comfort.
And the Outlander also has a more sophisticated electric all-wheel drive system that’s able to move the power around between the wheels, which gives you better handling and better off-road capability.
So essentially the RAV 4 is the better choice when it comes to power and efficiency, whereas the Outlander is a little bit better when it comes to quietness, smoothness and overall Comfort.
Reliability and Warranty
But how do these two SUVs compare when it comes to their reliability and which one is going to have the better hybrid system for the long run? Well, Toyota is of course the pioneer when it comes to hybrid technology.
And the hybrid system that’s used in the prime is essentially the exact same hybrid system that Toyota uses in many different models that they’ve been refining and improving for many years now, it’s extremely well proven, extremely durable, and really well suited for long-term reliability.
So if you’re planning on keeping your vehicle for upwards of 12 to 15 years, the RAV4 is a really safe way to go.
But although Toyota is the industry leader when it comes to hybrids, it’s actually Mitsubishi that has the bestselling plug-in hybrid SUV with the Outlander.
Mitsubishi has now been using the same hybrid system in the Outlander for over a decade now, and it has proven to be fairly reliable.
And either way, both of these SUVs do give you a really good warranty.
Cost of Ownership
In the case of the Toyota on top of the regular three and five year warranty that you get, you also get a 10 year warranty on the hybrid battery pack, and Mitsubishi does even better than that.
On the Outlander, you have a five year comprehensive warranty, a 10 year powertrain warranty, and a 10 year hybrid battery warranty, which is the best in the industry.
Now, having an excellent warranty is one thing being easy to deal with when it comes to warranty claims and servicing.
Now that is something else, and that’s where I have my reservations with Mitsubishi because they are a very small manufacturer and don’t really have a very good dealer network.
They can sometimes have issues when it comes to servicing and parts availability and warranty claims, whereas you don’t have those kind of concerns with Toyota because they are the largest manufacturer and have a huge dealer network.
They’re much easier to deal with when it comes to servicing and parts availability.
So even though the Outlander plugin hybrid does have a really solid reputation, the RAV4 is still the better choice and the safer choice when it comes to overall cost of ownership and reliability in the long run.
Now, even though these are both clearly very efficient SUVs that can potentially save you a lot of money and gas in the long run, especially if you charge them and use the electric power as much as possible, there are going to be some that wonder what are they going to be like when they’re much older past the warranty period more than 10 years old and the battery fails.
How much is that going to potentially cost? Well, I did actually look up the cost of the hybrid batteries for both SUVs.
On the Toyota Parts website The price of the RAV4 Prius battery is about 8,400 us and as for the Outlander, I was able to find the cost of the first generation Outlander plugin hybrids battery, which is around 7,300 US.
Now, because the current generation Outlander does have a much larger battery around 20
Kilowatt hours instead of 13, it is predictably going to be more expensive if I were to guess probably in the range of between 10 to 15,000 US.
Now, it is important to remember here that not only do both of these SUVs have a 10 year warranty on the hybrid battery, but battery failure on these kinds of hybrids is normally extremely rare and not likely to happen until the vehicles are at least say 12 to 15 years old. So it really is a non-issue for most buyers.
But if that’s something that still concerns you, I would say that the Toyota is the safer option in that area because Toyota is such a large manufacturer and by far the largest when it comes to hybrids, there is a really good aftermarket for third party companies that offer Rebuilts or remanufactured batteries for a much lower price than a brand new OEM battery.
So you do have more options. So far it’s the RAV4 that seems to have a lot more advantages, but the Outlander does shine a lot more when it comes to the interior.
Ultimately, both of these do have well-designed functional interiors that have very good usability.
They both have fairly straightforward touchscreen and infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
They both have really good storage space and lots of straightforward controls for your climate functions.
Interior Comfort and Space
But there’s no question the Outlander does have the nicer interior when it comes to materials fit and finish and the overall look and feel.
It just feels nicer and more comfortable than what you get in the RAV4.
Now, these are both extremely practical SUVs and you do get plenty of rear seat space and cargo space with the RAV4, but the Outlander is a little bit more spacious and not only does it give you more room, but you also have the bonus of a third row of seats.
Now, I really need to emphasize here that these are in no way proper third row seats. They really are more of emergency booster seats.
For really small children, there is absolutely no way a pair of adults can sit comfortably back there even for really short trips.
So even though they are nice to have, realistically, most of the time you’re just gonna be keeping them folded into the floor to maximize the use of the cargo space.
Now, when it comes to safety, these are actually both very similar. Both SUVs come with a lot of standard active safety features, and they both are top safety picks by the IIHS.
Pricing and Incentives
And that brings us to pricing. Both SUVs are priced around 45 to 52,000 US The Outlander is priced between 50 to 60,000 Canadian, whereas the RAV4 prime is about $2,000 more.
So both SUVs are very close in pricing. And it’s worth mentioning that even though neither UV is eligible for the tax rebates in the us, they are both eligible for the $5,000 federal rebate in Canada as well as provincial rebates in some provinces, which can lower the
Price quite a bit. So at the end of the day, which SUV is the better choice to go with? Well, I still think that the RAV4 prime does have more advantages.
It has better fuel economy and hybrid mode, slightly more electric range. It’s more powerful and has better towing capacity, and it has the much safer, better reputation when it comes to the reliability of its hybrid system.
So it really does have more advantages. But the major issue with it that it’s just so difficult to get your hands on one.
The waiting periods for these SUVs have been ridiculous for the past few years, and any dealership that actually has one has normally charged enormous markup for it.
So it’s really not the type of vehicle that you can realistically buy, at least not in most areas if you’re able to actually buy one.
And for MSRP, I would say absolutely go for it. It’s an absolute no-brainer, but if you’re not able to get one and you really want to have a plugin hybrid, SUV, the Outlander is a perfectly fine alternative.
It’s extremely comfortable to drive. It still has good efficiency and great electric range. It has a very spacious interior and excellent safety rating and a fairly well proven hybrid system.
I realistically wouldn’t even consider any other Mitsubishi models to buy. But the Outlander plugin hybrid is certainly different.
It’s a very well designed SUV, and even though it is my runner up choice in this comparison, if you’re not able to get a prime and you want to get into a vehicle right away, it’s a perfectly fine choice.