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2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Green

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Mid-size crossovers frequently earn better fuel economy figures than their truck-based SUV cousins, and the Outlander is no exception to the rule. Even with all-wheel-drive, it achieves 25-mpg in the city.

Next year, for the 2016 model year, a new Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid) will arrive, providing both all-wheel drive and the capability to function as a series or parallel hybrid, depending on which is most efficient at the time. It will combine a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with two 60-kW motors, and an electric-only range of more than 30 miles (with full charges taking about 4.5 hours on 240 volts.

If you need three rows of seating, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander is actually one of the most fuel-efficient on the market.

V-6 Outlander GT models aren't as efficient as lower-trim models, and premium fuel is recommended. Considering that these models don’t feel all that much quicker—even though their paddle-shifters and six-speed automatic might make them feel sportier—they’re not worth getting for anyone who values fuel efficiency.

Both ES and SE models with the CVT and front-wheel drive earn a rating of 25 mpg city, 31 highway—numbers that according to Mitsubishi are best-in-class among seven-passenger vehicles.

Add all-wheel drive and you lose a mile or two per gallon, but you might be able to make some of that up by engaging the Eco Mode, which runs the system as a front-wheel drive vehicle until there’s actual slip of the front wheels. With either engine, Eco Mode softens throttle response and uses the air conditioning compressor more conservatively. And all models get a smart alternator that helps improve efficiency in combination with the electric power steering.

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