Step by step tutorial for using the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV — part I: absolute minimum to get you started

… what they do not tell you in the manuals, there is a learning curve to using this vehicle.

Got myself a Mitsubishi outlander phev and just learning to drive it is a steep learning curve. It is a fantastic vehicle but it is not an easy car to get used to or even starting to drive right away. It’s not like the car salesman hands you the keys, you jump in, put the key in the ignition slot, start the car, adjust your seat and off you go. First of all, there are no keys! Hence, I have decided to compile things that I am still learning, and some tips and tricks. I will add in videos, etc, but mind you, unless you actually get into the car and start driving.

There is so much to learn about this car. The car came with a 500+ page manual, and I did tldr; and dived right into the most important aspects of learning about the car. Here is a compilation, it will flatten your learning curve. If you spot errors or additions, etc, please let me know.

Bookmark this site. You will absolutely need it.

First of all, locking and unlocking the car isn’t as straightforward as many of us think (or at least I think). Figured it out after some trials and errors (what? errors in locking/unlocking a car? read on).

It may seem a no-brainer as to how to get in and out of the car. Not with this one, if you do not know how to. It was frustrating for us in the first hour to correctly use the locking and unlocking function of the doors. The car comes with a “key bar” that has “lock”, “unlock”, and I thought if you press that the car will lock itself. Not with this one. We had to press a “black” rubber “button” behind the the handlebar on the driver’s side and that would lock the car.

Would it?

We checked it with turning the handle. The door opened. We learned later that you will need to press the rubber button once, and hear the beeps and walk away. Do not pull the handle or if you do, do so within 3 seconds. So, here is the lowdown:

Press this black bar once for locking and unlocking the vehicle and wait for a beep

The actual theory of locking and unlocking the car is quite complex and read this page:

OK, other cars have steering wheels, ignition switches, gears. You get in the car, sit, strap the seat belt, slide the key in ignition slot, turn it and start. If the battery is not flat, the car will spur to life. NOT with this one. It has a key block. Carry it at all times. So here are the step by step:

  1. Get inside the car and prepare to drive.
  2. Put on your seat belt, and unlock the parking brake (do it manually by pressing the level with your left thumb and gently lowering it down. On a right hand drive system, the parking brake is in between two seats in the front, so you will need to work with your left hand.
  3. Press firmly on the brake and THEN press the POWER button ONCE. Wait till the screen behind the steering wheel says “READY”. Then the car is ready, but does not move yet!

See this video:

  1. Press on the brake
  2. Then using the lever/switch on the left hand side, move the lever to either R, or D (rear or drive mode, whichever is most appropriate; we will later cover about B)
  3. Lift the foot off the brake and press on the accelarator/gas pedal

You must learn how to use the selector lever to make the car run. The selector lever looks like a transmission but the resemblance ends there. The selector lever is ACTUALLY a series of buttons that are very neatly organised, it’s a fake looking transmission lever, it is NOT, it’s basically a button or a dongle, :-)

Before you can start your car, you will need to select your selector lever and your driving mode (eco versus normal versus B and combine with charging and save and using the paddle). That’s a lot. This is the selector lever:

The selector lever of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

When you “start the engine” (remember there is no sound!), you will be prompted to be in the normal mode. Most of the time (as far as I learned, this is just fine, if you are starting out. In future posts, I will discuss the different options of saving fuel etc).

Here are the buttons:

  • R button: Rearing, you can use a rear-view camera to rear the car. The car also comes with a sensor if a car parked behind is now too close
  • D button: Drive forward.
  • B button: This is the battery charging button. Use it or use the paddles by the side of the steering wheels. More on this later
  • N button: Puts the car in neutral mode
  • P button: You will find it in the front of the selector lever assembly. Use it for activating the park gear
  • Charge button: Charge the battery using the internal combustion engine. Charges the car up to 80% in 40 minutes of driving at speed above 60 km/hour
  • Save button: Fixes a battery to a certain percentage and adjusts the battery percentage to utilise it later

Combining these buttons and paddles, you can maximise fuel efficiency of this car. The selector lever looks like a gear, but it is a “button”, as it does not “engage”, if you will select a button, it will return to its original position and the display behind the steering wheel will show you the selection. You are pretty much dependent on _that_ display to manoeuvre your vehicle. If all of these sound confusing, I suggest you watch this video. Konny Huq explains the thing really well:

Inagist, the following are seven minimum principles to get max out of the car:

  • First, plan your journey, you will need this: try to anticipate or identify the slow sections, cities, towns, and the highways.
  • Second, aim to drive in electric mode as much time as you can.
  • Third, keep the car charged at all times. Now, for charging, you do not NEED to charge it on roadside fast charging stations. The car pretty much charges itself as it moves, and you can make use of that. Charge in-house. Takes about five hours from flat to full but do not pull the plug before charging is full (more on this later in a different episode)
  • Fourth, slow down. Aim to drive no faster than 90–100 k/h on highways and no more than 50–60 k/h in city areas. Accelerate slowly, brake slowly. Feather your accelarator/gas pedal. That will not only result in a far more relaxed driving, but save fuel and safe driving as well.
  • Fifth, if you can, engage in Eco mode as you drive. Slows you down, and powers down the air conditioning and heater
  • Sixth, if you can, pre-heat/pre-cool the car on cold/hot days. You can pre-heat the car as the car is charging. If you find that your heater is through internal combustion engine, consider fitting in an EVBox (I do not know more than this, as I have not fitted one)
  • Seventh, in highway, use either the charge or the save depending on how much charge you have on the car; reserve battery and use it when you drive in the city.

On the right hand side of the front panel behind the steering wheel, there is a button imprinted with something like a “copy” symbol on the left hand side of the panel. Press on that button and cycle through the different types of information display. More on this in a future post.

When you complete the journey and want to bring the car to a halt, three steps:

  1. Press the brake
  2. Pull on the handbrake
  3. Press the P (parking button) on the front

You do not need to press or fiddle with the neutral button, :-), I did nto get that first (phew!), here:

Do not need to use the neutral button (

Step 4: pair up your bluetooth phone with that of the car. Next time, when you want to play music from the phone, use bluetooth and activate it.

Several things:

  1. Normally, charging the car should be straightforward. Using the cable and the provided brick of the charger, insert the charging trigger to the car charging unit.
  2. DO NOT press the button! Just gently slide it in
  3. Turn on the mains
  4. DO NOT USE an extension cable. Use the provided black cable. Should work fine as it is 5 meters long
  5. Do not charge the car if the battery is near full. The manual forbids it:
This is from the owner’s manual. Some sites will advise charge no matter what. Don’t do it!

See this video:

How to drive the car to maximise efficiency

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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