2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, brake and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the top-selling plug-in vehicles on the market. Even the automaker tells customers that the newest models “can take you anywhere,” but current owners wish to leave their SUV at home to avoid an accident. The defective electrical system, malfunctioning service brakes and poorly operating powertrain are all a disaster waiting to happen.

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes Mitsubishi pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 877-795-3666 today.

NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Vehicle Speed Control
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Fuel/propulsion System
Unknown Or Other
Electronic Stability Control
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Electrical System

A plug-in hybrid, such as this Outlander, relies on the electrical system even more than a traditional model. Sadly, Mitsubishi doesn’t take this seriously.

One Edmunds review states, “If you forget to unplug the car from the charger and push the reverse button a signal will appear on the dashboard alerting the driver to unplug the car. This puts the car in a pause state but you must push the PARK button; otherwise, after exiting the car, walking around to the passenger side, and unplugging the charger will result in the car spontaneously reversing without a driver. This happened in our garage and nearly killed my wife.  The car was also damaged because it hit my house. Mitsubishi was unconcerned that a human life was in danger and said to file a claim with your insurance company for damages to the vehicle.”

There’s a recall related to other electrical system concerns as if the above situation wasn’t scary enough. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V62100 says that some safety systems might turn themselves off when they should be on. This affects nearly 60,000 vehicles and related to the Forward Collision Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Electronic Stability Control, Brake Auto Hold, Anti-lock Braking and Electric Parking Brake. When these systems aren’t in place, it’s impossible for an accident to be automatically averted, putting occupants at risk of injury. So, yes, this Outlander PHEV could take people anywhere, but most smart drivers don’t want to risk it.

Problems with the Collision Avoidance System

It’s essential to have properly functioning brakes in order to stop on time, but the Outlander PHEV struggles to maintain braking integrity.

Here is one complaint left on the NHTSA website. “On multiple occasions, I have received a brake alert when nothing was in my way. Today, when driving down a side street at about 20 mph, I was given a brake warning and then the automatic brakes turned on and my car skidded to a stop. I was fortunate no one was behind me or we would have been rear-ended.”

The Outlander PHEV’s safety systems can’t decide if they want to fail or work over-actively. It shouldn’t come as a shocker that there is also a recall related to this problem. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V620000 states that the Collision Avoidance System might apply prolonged braking, which results in rapid deceleration and leaves occupants at risk for a rear-end accident. Does the Outlander PHEV have a split-personality? One minute it doesn’t want to keep those in the cabin safe, and the next minute it is overreacting to a speck of dirt or a leaf on the road.

Problems with the Transmission

When it comes to the powertrain, the most important component is clearly the transmission. This system doesn’t operate much differently on a plug-in hybrid and can still face numerous problems.

One problem is documented on this NHTSA complaint. “Parked on a 25% grade pointing downhill. When I tried to start the Outlander, the screen produced a RBS error. The gas based engine would not start. The EV motors seemed to come on with vehicle little power. When I called Mitsubishi to tow the car they said, quote ‘That doesn’t normally start this soon.’ This tells me they know there is a problem. My PHEV has been in the shop since Monday, I’m being told they reset the Check Engine Light error and they don’t see a problem. This is not a fix. I took pictures after I restarted it the third time. The one thing that remained was the driving range for both gas and EV only had dashes, they should show how many miles are available for EV and gas.”

With the acknowledgment of so many other problems, it’s no surprise that Mitsubishi has nothing to say about powertrain-related problems. From their standpoint, there’s nothing unusual to see. Maybe the Outlander PHEV should be renamed, the Elephant in the Middle of the Room. Clearly there are problems that must be talked about, especially if people are going to remain safe on the road.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Mitsubishi pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateSep 03, 2020
While driving my vehicle, the propulsion reduced warning light came on and the car went from 70 mph to 10 mph. I was driving up a grade in the late evening. I had a full tank of gas but no miles left on the electric charge indicator. After I pulled over and waited a few minutes the light went off and I was able to drive the vehicle home. I took it to the dealership the next day. The dealership was not able to find the problem and insisted I come get the car. It is not safe to drive a car if it reduces its speed/ power for no reason.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateAug 08, 2020
Call volume is set for 11 and can't be heard over common road noise. This causes distracted driving as the driver attempts to turn off bluetooth or worse to transfer the call to the phone - which is illegal in most states requiring hands free calls. This is a long known problem and was supposed to be fixed in earlier models. It still isn't. Dealers can't do anything. Yet I can't crank the music up volume without issue. This typically occurs when the vehicle is in motion on either streets or highway.
CategoryVehicle Speed Control
DateJun 30, 2020
The vehicle slowed down to 20 mph when the outside air temperature was near 95 deg f and the road slightly uphill. A message came on the dashboard that read limited propulsion. It happened on I-15 on the way to vegas last september. I filed a complaint with bbb and the answer I got from mitsubishi was that it is designed that way. I have a copy of the mitsubishi manual stating that. I wrote letters with no action. This already happened twice. I am afraid to drive the car in hot weather. See the attached 5 detailed files for info. *tr
CategoryVehicle Speed Control
DateFeb 25, 2020
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 mitsubishi outlander. The contact stated that while attempting to park the vehicle, the vehicle failed to shift into park. The contact was able to shift the vehicle into other gears however, the vehicle failure to shift into park persisted. The contact turned the vehicle off and restarted the vehicle however, the failure persisted. The vehicle was not taken to a dealer to be diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 26,535.
CategoryElectrical System, Electronic Stability Control, Power Train
DateDec 06, 2019
Started up the car and started backing up out of my garage. When I put my car into reverse I saw my charging port door open on the passenger side of the car at this point my cars back end was partially sticking out of the garage I put the car into park by pushing the park button, I opened the door got out of the car and left the door open and started to walk down the driver side towards the back end of the car I got outside the garage right next to the rear driver side tail light, and the car went into reverse and drove out of the garage it took the door and bent it back to the driver side front fender and kept going almost ran me over I had to run and jump in the car and slam on the brakes. I called my insurance company and they had a tow truck pick it up the next day and bring it up to the dealership my friend picked me up and brought me to the dealership so I could tell them what happened and they told me that's not possible and to call mitsubishi corporate so I did. The dealership had my vehicle for a total of 46 days between the diagnostic test and having the body repaired which my insurance paid for and I had to pay the deductible mitsubishi would not pay to have the car fixed and blamed the entire event on me. I even went to the dealership and had the service guy get into the car and gave him a full demonstration on what had happened and he agreed that it's not possible to get out of this car if it was in reverse. I have a documented bad back and can't get out of a car all that well it takes me a min and I was at the back of the car outside the garage before the car started moving and proved on multiple occasions of this event and they still said call ghost busters after I picked up car it did it again this time I have video proof and they still won't do anything and even called the police on me because I had their loaner while they had my car see next post.
CategoryElectrical System, Power Train, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 06, 2019
I picked up the car from the body shop code on dashboard ev system service required no gas or battery so went to gas station and vehicle wouldn't go into park went home called my wife and had her come outside she had to put gas in. Then drove to the dealership I had my wife get out and go get help she came out with a salesman. He saw what was going on so he called the manager and asked him what to do. He told him to take the car and give me a loaner. The only way to switch was emergency brake. Wouldn't go into park/neutral. Went inside asked manager come outside and see the car and he said that doesn't matter to me, what the f*** do I care about that it has nothing to do with me! So I went back outside the salesman drove into service give loaner. The next day the salesman told me nothing's wrong with the car pick it up. I have videos of this event happening and corporate closed my claim and told the dealership there is nothing for them to do because its fine and the video footage was not enough proof and not to drive the car. I reopened the claim, I wanted to talk to a higher up member of management, I asked corporate if I could keep the loaner until resolution and they said yes. So service said I have to have that loaner back that night I told him what the lady at corporate told me. He said no they didn't I told him to call and ask to pull the recorded call. The next morning I had a va appointment at 10am and was sitting in the waiting room and got called by service I need the car by 12pm I told him I was at a dr. Appt. An hour away ed him no way possible I can get it to him by noon ed him when I got back we can get it squared away he said nope tell me the address you're at and I'll come get it I said absolutely not I will bring it to you when I'm done with my appointment. They called the police and told them I stole the car returned loaner waiting on resolution.
CategoryExterior Lighting, Structure:body, Unknown Or Other
DateDec 06, 2019
I bought my car in march of 2019 and after my first car wash I realized there was a paint defects little divots down to the primer all over on the hood and other places on the vehicle the dealership attempted to repaint vehicle paint due to factory defect three times to a non-mitsubishi body shop and dealership did not inform mitsubishi corporate about this matter informed the dealership in may I was not going to except this car back and would like a new car because I shouldn't have to have my brand new car painted by someone after a month or two of owning the vehicle and especially three times and still nothing they said they would trade it out and they will find something comparable for me I checked in if not every day it was every other day from april/may to october and no word back very disappointed about this matter also looking over the paperwork with another mitsubishi dealership yesterday and looking at the way they did the paperwork at the dealership I bought the vehicle from charged me 20,000 dollars more for the car then what I was supposed to pay for it total amount they charged me for it was 52,299. 00 from what we understand from the paperwork and it says I put down 3816. 75 and never put anything down. The other dealership I went to told me that I'm 17,000 dollars in negative equity on the vehicle so it's going to be hard to trade it in and nobody with help me with this issue. The dealership I bought it from told me in this sale that I would have positive equity in the vehicle because of all of the rebates because it was a 18 rollover and military discounts and etc. And also the equity in the two vehicles I traded in were positive equity. On the invoices the only two they would give me say 2 hoods and body work nothing at all about paint see attached invoices & documents
CategoryElectrical System, Seats
DateSep 16, 2019
Tl* the contact owns a 2018 mitsubishi outlander phev. While driving at low speeds, the front parking sensors erroneously activated and a beeping sound was heard although no objects were present in front of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to corner stone mitsubishi (580 main st, wilmington, ma) where the front parking sensor was replaced, but the failure continued. Also, while driving, the front driver and passenger seats were very loose and moved when braking and accelerating. The cause of the failure was not determined. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 13,000.
CategoryService Brakes, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJun 06, 2019
The forward collision mitigation system activated braking when a motorcyclist passed between lanes on the highway. I was traveling about 45 mph in medium traffic. The motorcyclist passed on my left and brakes were applied by the car when the motorcyclist was approximately 20-25ft in front of me.
CategoryService Brakes, Vehicle Speed Control, Visibility/wiper
DateApr 24, 2019
Put car in drive took off on it's own went up to 40 mph and stayed there shout it down and restarted ran ok rest of the day. Next morning did same thing. I did the something I did the day befor. Called service and mitsubishi usa both said bring it to the service department so I started up the road and on the interstate I put it in cruise control. There wasn't anyone in front of me and the brakes slammed on. Good thing no one was behind me . So I took it out of cruise control drove on up the road and the wipers came on it wasnt raining. Just got it back and they didn't do anything to it. Said couldn't get it to duplicate what I said it did. So guess I'm there test dummy for this car
CategoryElectrical System, Engine, Power Train
DateApr 17, 2019
Started vehicle and immediately got multiple warnings including the service engine soon light. When I tried to drive the car, it had almost no acceleration. It would not start the gas engine and the regenerative braking was disabled. The rbs and acc warnings were due to the systems being disabled because the hybrid system was non functional. It was all on electric but at a severely reduced power level. I tried to turn off and turn on the car a few times but there was no change. I decided to try to plug the car into the charger for a minute to see if that would reset it, and it seemed to help. The car operated normally but the service engine soon light stayed on. I pulled codes and got p0aa9 which points to a failure of the battery voltage isolation sensor inside the battery control module. I called the dealer and they told me not to drive the car and they towed it to the dealership (150 miles away.) they had to reflash the computer anyhow due to 2 recalls and they said that was what triggered the fault. They never did find a cause but I did notice someone else posted here that they were told "that usually doesn't happen that early." my car is 8 months old with 3500 miles on it.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Power Train
DateJan 09, 2019
The charger supplied by mitsubishi melted during normal charging. Mitsubishi has stated that the cord is not defective and will not cover the cost of replacement nor are they interested on the possibility of an electrical fire caused by the loose plug terminal and hot spot.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Power Train, Service Brakes
DateOct 26, 2018
Parked on a 25% graded pointing down hill, when I tried to start the outlander, the screen produced a rbs error. The gas based engine would not start. The ev motors seemed to come on with very little power. When I called mitsubisi to tow the car they said, ouote"that doesn't normally start this soon" , this tells me they know there is a problem. My phev has been in the shop since monday, I'm being told they reset the check engine light error and they don't see a problem. This is not a fix. I took pictures after I restarted it the third time. The one thing that remained was the driving range for both gas and ev only had dashes, they should show how many miles are avaliable for ev and gas.
CategoryService Brakes
DateOct 16, 2018
On multiple occasions I have received a brake alert when nothing was in my way. Today, when driving down a side street at about 20 miles per hour, I was given a brake warning and then the automatic brakes turned on and my car skidded to a stop. I was fortunate no one was behind me or we would have been rear-ended.
DateOct 04, 2018
Driver's side glass spontaneously shattered while driving down road with no rock strike. Driving down the road at 70 mph with sun on driver side window and ac on. Car only one month old.

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

Share your story

Does this ring a bell? Have you had a bad experience too? Sound off and share your experience with other visitors in the comment box below.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Michael B

    This spring my new 2020 Outlander PHeV mysteriously developed 8” vertical dents on both upper rear sides from top of tailgate to bottom tip of rear side window frames. There are no scratches nor any evidence of collision. (See pics) The Dealership says it’s never happened before and reject responsibility for this as the result of a manufactures defect. They want me to claim vandalism even though vertical dents are identical on each side. They tried to pull one dent but that left many dimples. I had had a MITSIBUSHI trailer hitch installed by the dealer, but only towed an empty utility trailer and a small aluminum fishing boat both under 1500lbs. Our rides do have significant bumps, potholes and some washboard. I feel the outlander frame may not have been redesigned and strengthened adequately to withstand the extra weight and stress of the heavy PHeV batteries in the rear area. Responsibility for corrective action is still being denied by MITSIBUSHI.

Leave a Reply or Comment

Write a comment below to share online. Or, instead you can to our legal team.

Please select your star rating.

Briefly describe your experience Briefly describe your experience

What’s your name? What’s your name?

What’s your phone number? Please enter a valid phone number

Want to know if you could sue? Get a free legal evaluation Lemberg Law?

Get Your No-Obligation
Case Evaluation

Send a secure message to our legal team.

What’s your name? What’s your name?
What’s your email address? What’s your email address?
What’s your phone number? What’s your phone number?
Briefly describe the problem Briefly describe the problem
Confidentiality Guarantee: We keep your information completely confidential and will not send you spam or sell your information.