2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

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Safety

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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Highlander Hybrid are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Highlander Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Highlander Hybrid’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.

The Highlander Hybrid has standard Safety Connect™, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Outlander PHEV have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights and around view monitors.

Warranty

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

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mitsubishi doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Outlander PHEV.

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

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 50 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Mitsubishi is ranked 20th.

Engine

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The Highlander Hybrid’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 46 more horsepower (243 vs. 197) than the Outlander PHEV’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Highlander Hybrid has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander PHEV (17.1 vs. 11.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Highlander Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outlander PHEV:

Highlander Hybrid

Outlander PHEV

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

11.9 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Highlander Hybrid has larger tires than the Outlander PHEV (235/65R18 vs. 225/55R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has standard 20-inch wheels. The Outlander PHEV’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Highlander Hybrid has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Outlander PHEV; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander Hybrid’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the Outlander PHEV (112.2 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander Hybrid is 4.7 inches wider in the front and 4.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Outlander PHEV.

For greater off-road capability the Highlander Hybrid has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Outlander PHEV

(8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Highlander Hybrid to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Highlander Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Outlander PHEV can only carry 5.

The Highlander Hybrid has 39.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Outlander PHEV (141.3 vs. 102.1).

The Highlander Hybrid has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 4.6 inches more front hip room, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom, 5.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Outlander PHEV.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander Hybrid’s middle and third row seats recline. The Outlander PHEV’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the Outlander PHEV.

Highlander Hybrid

Outlander PHEV

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

30.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

66.6 cubic feet

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Highlander Hybrid. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The Highlander Hybrid’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outlander PHEV’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a memory system.

The power windows standard on both the Highlander Hybrid and the Outlander PHEV have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Highlander Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outlander PHEV prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the Highlander Hybrid the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Outlander PHEV can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander Hybrid 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 help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Hybrid Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the Highlander Hybrid to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

When the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Outlander PHEV’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Highlander Hybrid (except LE). The Highlander Hybrid’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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE/Limited/Platinum has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

The Highlander Hybrid is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outlander PHEV doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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

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