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Need advice on a mid-size PHEV

4189 Views 104 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  VW TECHNICIAN
Those who hate PHEV, please don't post in this thread. No reason to.

I need a mid-size PHEV available in the US that I can drive in town on electric only drivetrain but that can be used as a regular gasoline vehicle for long road trips without having to plan my route ahead of time and having to exclude certain scenic drives due to the lack of charging infrastructure along the way. I need the electric-only range to be at least 40 miles.

My ideal vehicle is the Li L9, but, of course, it's not available in the US. I need the cargo space to have at least 45 cubic feet behind the second row seats. I don't care about the 3rd row either way.

Is there anything remotely close to what I'm looking for? I've run out of options. One vehicle I stumbled upon the other day was the Lincoln Aviator PHEV, but the trim I would consider costs north of $85,000, which is not something I'm prepared to pay for a PHEV with rather short EV-only range at this time. However, it's torque is pretty good, allowing it to do 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, which is very respectable for a gasoline vehicle of that size. I think the Kia Telluride PHEV could fit the bill (price-wise), but it doesn't exist (yet).

Kia Sorento PHEV could be a candidate, but the electric-only range is kind of short (around 32 miles) and it seems kind of anemic to accelerate 0-60. So, I'm still looking.
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I need the cargo space to have at least 45 cubic feet behind the second row seats. I don't care about the 3rd row either way.

This pretty much rules out everything KIA besides the Sorento PHEV. However, its electric range is barely usable for my use case. I’d like something with over 40 miles of electric range at a mimimim.
With your requirements and type of vehicles you are looking there is nothing that will deliver in real world 40 miles on battery alone. Especially for US market.
Bolt EV would be great substitute if it fits as grocery getter and you can get one under 27k new. Unless you want to import some of Chinese hybrids.
In my opinion if you want reliability and want to keep it for long time...consider mild hybrid power plants they are much easier on your wallet once warranty is over.
Most of mild hybrids will eliminate alternator and Air conditioning will be run on electricity.... no belt power rubbing users on ICE engine. Avoiding to buy gasoline and forcing hybrid to run non stop on electricity will cost you on long run with costly repairs on ICE engine. PHEV are only efficient in stop and go traffic....on interstate they will use more fuel because of heavy battery pack that also makes it more complicated to keep it from freezing or overheating.
Mild hybrids are way to go if you want better efficiency and hybrid power plant. And they are less expensive than hybrids you can plug in.
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That depends on the programming, doesn't it? It's precisely for that reason that the Volt does “Engine Maintenance Mode” once a month or so where it runs the ICE long enough to warm up the oil, slosh it around, and boil off any condense water vapor. Less frequently, it runs “Fuel Maintenance Mode” where it insists on burning through some fraction of the gasoline/petrol that's in your tank. It's a clever car!

That's why most PHEVs have relatively small, light-weight battery packs!
It does help with active preventive maintenance run by software..... but ICE engines don't like to be left not running for extended periods of time. And especially when ICE engine is exposed to the freezing temperatures and it has to start after couple weeks of no use, it will take couple seconds to get oil flowing and getting all dry spots lubricated again. There are many ways to mitigate this problem with pistons or cylinder walls applying low friction coatings, going with low tension piston rings and etc. But as engine gets older it will wear out all low friction coatings and it will be only oil that keeps metals from touching each other.
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The only thing that comes to mind is RAV4 Prime
As far as they are leading company in hybrid technology I would still go with no plug in hybrid.
Next year there will be refresh version of Prius prime i believe 5th generation hybrid technology that may hit in city 40 miles between charging. But it is passenger vehicle with aerodynamic properties and low roof line.
I wish they offered diesel engine with this hybrid would be absolute king of miles per gallon of diesel. That not even EV could deliver when charging on fast DC chargers.
Some small I4 diesel engines in EU can go without any problems 4 liter of diesel for 100 imagine that with hybrid technology attached to the small efficient diesel engine.
Dieselgate killed small diesels in the USA . Though I don’t have fond memories of my Sportwagen’s high pressure fuel pump either.
Reason for high pressure failures are less than adequate quality and water dilution in US market vs EU ..... this is why BMW , MB and VW did go with older high pressure pumps and older styles of piezo injectors.
Another problem in US is cetane number that are all over the board. And there was no government mandated blocking devices to prevent use of low sulfur diesel in diesel designed for ultra low sulfur diesel..... There use to be pumps with both diesels that could be easily misplaced and filled with wrong diesel fuel. And at the early times refineries where not doing proper way of blending and getting specific quality out. US was known for this type of issues. But Australia market was even worse than US for manufacturers.
Please i don't want to start fight about my post, just stating facts about issues diesel engines have faced on US market.
Less than adequate cetane number drastically increases contamination of egr and intake manifold. And US market diesel engines where always calibrated for higher ratio of air vs fuel because of less than adequate quality of fuel and cetane number.
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They do on Kia Sportage PHEV in Australia.
I have small property in Australia but for vacation time.
The question is are you willing to move there to get this type of vehicle.
That is funny! We had the Outlander PHEV was marketed in the UK from 2014-2021 now the US are getting it…
How did they go with reliability with this PHEV in 🇬🇧?
Then, why put a DC charging port on it an all?
Convenience and requirements in some markets to get government rebates.
This is not something owner will need on PHEV.
I've found a dealership that is getting an 2023 Outlander PHEV SEL (unspoken for) in a week. This is an expensive vehicle in the SEL trim. I would need it to have the Premium package, which makes it around $50,000. On the other hand, it gets $7,500 in federal tax credit if sold before January 1, 2023.

I've done some more reading and watching on the 2023 Outlander PHEV, and it seems to be a pretty decent cargo space (33.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seats): 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander 3rd Row Seating & Cargo | Mitsubishi Motors

ID.4 has 30.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, while Model Y has 30.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seats (but Model Y has 4 cubic feet of space in the frunk). So, the total amount of cargo space in the Model Y (with the second-row seats up) is 34.2 cubic feet, whereas the 2023 Outlander PHEV has 33.5 cubic feet of space). Because this space is all in the same area in the 2023 Outlander PHEV, this cargo space can probably be used more efficiently than in the Model Y, so I would say the Model Y and the 2023 Outlander PHEV have the same amount of cargo space.

Additionally, it appears that the 2023 Outlander PHEV has a fully electric drivetrain with two electric motors (one on each axle). It's a permanent AWD. There is a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that can be used in two modes: one is as a pure generator for the 20 kW battery; the other as a direct drive for the front axel. There is not a lot of information on this vehicle yet, so I'm not sure if it's possible to select whether to use the gasoline engine as in a generator-only mode; however, it appears that the gasoline engine doesn't come in unless the battery is near empty, at which point there may (or may not) be a way to select how the gasoline engine would be used.

Personally, I would prefer driving this vehicle as a pure EV in town (as long as I'm staying within the battery range, which is 38 miles) and then use the gasoline engine as a generator only (while driving in town if I've exceeded the battery range). However, when going on a road trip, I would prefer allowing the engine to drive the front axle directly (maybe) because I've heard somewhere that it's more efficient when driving the front axle instead of being used as a generator. The details as to how the gasoline engine is used in the 2023 Outlander PHEV are very scarce at the moment.

I would probably get 97% of driving in the 2023 Outlander PHEV on electric battery only, which is excellent. The battery charges at 3.5 kW on J1772, which is slow, but it will charge to 100% in less than 6 hours, so it can be recharged every night to get another 38 miles. I could probably even charge it to 80% and still stay daily within the battery range (but it will be close). The SEL trim gets the CHAdeMO DC charging capability at up to 50 kW. I it charges 0 to 80% in about 38 minutes, which is a questionable feature.

This is getting closer to the concept of the Li L9, but we are still a long way off. I would need to have 80-miles of real-time battery range and 45-50 cubic feet of cargo space behind second row to consider it a perfect vehicle for my needs.
I guess your specific need vehicle is not coming any time soon... so you will have to consider mild hybrid that will better serve you if your intention is to have PHEV for long trips.
PHEV that have ability to plug and charge are efficient in town but loose efficiency on interstate because of big heavy battery. And depending on weight with occupants and additional staff in the back that you want to carry will even more affect what you can do on electricity alone. There are some great mild hybrids on the market now and some plug in hybrids that don't deliver what you need. But having this specific requirements for hauling staff inside of vehicle will be tough journey for you. And regarding efficiency using front axle on interstate is not quite true..... this is dependent on design and transmission choice. Hybrid vehicles have completely different types of transmissions.
Spent half a day yesterday calling every Ford dealer (about 15), every Lincoln dealer, and every Kia dealer in my metro area. Ford Explorer hybrid is not available anywhere in my metro area. There were only a few sold in the past year. US Southeast doesn't get much allocation for hybrids, according to Ford. Lincoln Aviator PHEV (really too expensive) is not available anywhere in my metro area. The wait time to get on on a pre-order either is 4-6 months best case scenario. Kia Sorento PHEV is not available anywhere in the US Southeast at this time. There is no pre-order with Kia, but they will happily charge you $10,000 over MSRP to try to get one for you. Kia Sportage PHEV hasn't yet been seen anywhere in the Southeast.

So, it's not so easy to get a hybrid or a PHEV. I know RAV4 PHEV is impossible to get either and the wait time is like 8-12 months on it.
I guess you will be better on holding on your new vehicle for next 12-18 months.... there will be dealership's offering great discounts just to move new vehicle's seating on the lots. If you ask me i would not pay one penny over MSRP or paying any extra fees some dealership's are trying to charge for paint protection or some other nonsense options.
If you want additional protection for paint or other things, shop by yourself and you will get it much cheaper than any dealership offers....this includes also extended warranties. Fixing what you have now is better investment than buying new vehicle.
I've watched some review videos that started to pop up on the 2023 Outlander PHEV. This Canadian dude got almost 50 miles in 30-32F with winter non-EV tires running heat, heated seats, and heated steering wheel city driving on 100% battery. In summer time, I assume it will be even better. This is possibly my next car to replace the Model Y (maybe).

The top trim has every feature one could think of. Now I just need to test drive one.
This vehicle's have been sold for quite while in 🇬🇧 so check out some other videos.
Don't expect any rebates because they will be made in Japan and imported here ( i may be wrong about this information). They have been well accepted in EU because of affordable MSRP vs competition and what you getting for the money. Hybrid technology is quite amazing peace of engineering....reliability is unknown because it is completely new technology that they didn't have before.
This website lists it as a full $7500 federal tax credit, which is strange because the pre-orders didn’t even start before October of this year. So, how can it qualify for $7,500? I think it’s made in Franklin, TN.
Use official government channels
Here is a review from a decade ago:

🇬🇧 is great testing ground for PHEV with a lot of rain and humidity that really helps find any problems developing over time.
They can market it as “tried and tested” rather than “outdated at launch”.
So what are your thoughts on 2023 model?
Not only can I not buy one, I can't even test drive one. I called all Toyota dealerships, and I was told that the last one that one of them had was over 6 months ago. None of them even has one that I can test drive. So, the Rav4 Prime is not attainable, as I won't try to get one out of town if I can't first test drive it.
It is very good hybrid 5th generation and quite need to test drive.... if you order one you will not be disappointed.... another choice is to try mild hybrid 48V system like BMW.... you can test standard Toyota hybrid and experience test drive....then try to imagine much faster vehicle with more powerful rear propulsion unit.
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Toyota is #1 in hybrid technology and BMW was with Toyota to gain experience and access to the technology that they are using.
BMW 5th generation propulsion unit is using 6 phase stators similar what is found in Toyota sandwich type electric motors....but BMW is not using magnets for much higher efficiency and more efficient drives if equipped with AWD.
Yes, I was in EV mode. I specifically selected it. There is an EV button that toggles through all the modes, so I made sure I was in EV.

Mitsubishi has contradictory information about the power of the electric motors in this PHEV.Their website says 70 kW (95 HP) rear and 60 kW front (81.6HP) front. However, the dealers list 134 HP rear and 114 HP front (for a total of 248 HP) and 332 lbs ft of torque. Supposedly. It’s only a few lbs ft of torque fewer than the AWD ID.4.

I can tell you that it didn’t feel anywhere like 332 lbs ft of torque or 248 HP. Maybe Mitsubishi sends a different version of this vehicle to the US because 176 HP sounds more like what it felt to me than 248 HP, and the torque wasn’t even close to that of the AWD ID.4. Otherwise, the 2023 Outlander PHEV in unremarkable and unrefined. The brakes feel tiny, weak, and grabby. The ride is so loose and imprecise. Just a terrible feeling driving this PHEV.
In England was best selling hybrid can't have it all... efficiency and performance. SUV should not be measured by performance....they are not made for that purpose.
Since you are an expert in cars, I suggest you test drive it. I would be interested in reading your opinion.
I will once i get across one of them... but just from reading paper materials it dosent look good....under powered engine....under powered electric motors and it looks like very expensive MSRP for what you getting. In Germany was never accepted England where people have less opportunity for high speeds and they are more focused for efficiency vs anything else. I don't think it will work out in US well.... Americans don't like underpowered vehicles. But from EU time on the market it looks they are designed quite well with not many issues. It may have use for some owners who are not interested in performance. But if you compare this to Toyota Raw4 prime ....Toyota is much better put together hybrid and way more powerful... and 5th hybrid generation from Toyota is designed very well and transfer from EV to ICE engine have been optimized so well that is impossible to feel when they switch back and forth. I do have experience with Raw4 prime and i will judge it by this vehicle once i get the chance to test this hybrid and probably get him on lift to see under what is hidden.
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