2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Leaf has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Leaf SL’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Leaf and the Outlander PHEV have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Leaf’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Outlander PHEV’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Mitsubishi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Leaf’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 26th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 26th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Outlander PHEV running on electricity (124 city/99 hwy vs. 78 city/70 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Outlander PHEV running its gasoline engine (124 city/99 hwy MPGe vs. 25 city/26 hwy).

The Leaf’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 151 miles on a full charge. The Outlander PHEV can only travel about 22 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Brakes and Stopping

The Leaf’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Outlander PHEV are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The Leaf SV/SL’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outlander PHEV’s 55 series tires.

The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Leaf has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Leaf’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Outlander PHEV (106.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Leaf S’ turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the Outlander PHEV’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.6 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Leaf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 750 pounds less than the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The Leaf is 8.4 inches shorter than the Outlander PHEV, making the Leaf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Leaf has .6 inches more front headroom and 1.2 inches more front legroom than the Outlander PHEV.

Ergonomics

The Leaf SV/SL has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Outlander PHEV’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The Leaf’s standard doors lock when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Outlander PHEV only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Leaf has standard extendable sun visors. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Leaf and the Outlander PHEV offer available heated front seats. The Leaf SL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Outlander PHEV.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the Leaf SV/SL. The Leaf’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a navigation system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Leaf, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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