It was an offer too good to refuse: Take a helicopter ride from Long Beach to Avalon, then spend the day driving the unpaved back roads of Santa Catalina Island in an SUV.
It didn’t matter that the exploring would be done in a Mitsubishi. With an invitation to explore some of the “no cars allowed” Catalina dirt roads, I’d have shown up for a Ford Pinto.
I was pleasantly surprised. Mitsubishi’s new plug-in hybrid Outlander is a competent, comfortable compact sport utility vehicle.
Executives at the Japanese car company call the Outlander PHEV a “halo car” — a vehicle that will create buzz and attract new buyers to the brand. They boast that it’s the first plug-in hybrid...