★★★★★ | Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

With increasingly stringent legislation, manufacturers are being squeezed and challenged to meet changing goals for reduced emissions and an ever more environmentally friendly footprint.

By January 2018 there were more than 100,000 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV sales across Europe, making it the most popular plug-in vehicle. In fact, despite a growing number of competitors, it remains the best-selling plug-in vehicle – hybrid or electric – in the UK.

Which brings me to the next point.
For the layman, the hybrid sector is a little confusing. There are several different types. Self-charging, plugin, parallel, range-extended and more.

Mitsubishi have a very interesting way of delivering their Hybrid solution.

The Outlander PHEV has an electric motor for each axle. That means one motor powers the rear wheels, one powers the front wheels, so 4X4.

Electricity for these motors comes from either the battery, which ideally should be charged from the mains for maximum efficiency, or can be charged by the engine while you are driving (not very efficient though). When you are driving, if you use up all of the battery power, or you need more power than the battery can supply (say an overtake or spirited drive) the engine kicks in and generates more electricity. In extreme cases, if you accelerate hard or really labour the vehicle, the engine will also provide drive to the front wheels to assist the electric motors.

The petrol engine is a 2.4-litre petrol engine, which uses MIVEC variable valve timing system. It’s very quiet and smooth and is surprisingly efficient.

The battery capacity has been increased and is now 13.8kWh and in electric-only mode, the Outlander will now do 84mph on a private road.

Another interesting feature is that it has only one forward gear as it is essentially an electric drivetrain. This means progress is seamless and driving it is absolute simplicity.

In electric-only mode, in real-world driving conditions, the Outlander should do up to 28 miles on a charge. It doesn’t sound like much, but remember that this is a hybrid and this is more than enough for a lot of people’s daily commute.

The theory is, you charge up on cheap electricity overnight, drive to work, charge up at work, usually for free (if you need to) and drive home, all on electric only. On longer journies, you can travel without range anxiety as you have the security of the petrol engine to generate power.

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It’s not uncommon for owners to go months without having to top up the petrol tank, as most of their journeys are fully electric, or mostly electric.

What’s the Mitsubishi Outlander like?
In brief, it’s a very well-engineered, well built, roomy and practical, luxury SUV.

The current model has had a host of improvements and additions, making it a beautiful car, very well appointed.

The updated Outlander benefits from new LED headlamps and all-new 18” alloy wheel design as well as super-All Wheel Control system with new SNOW and SPORT driving modes.

Higher body rigidity through the use of structural adhesive welding plus a quicker steering rack with SPORT mode remapping means improved handling and safety. There are larger front brake discs (vented) for improved feel and stopping power too.

As you would expect there are a full suite of advanced safety features and technologies, such as;

Five-star NCAP safety rating, Automatic headlamps, Rain-sensing wipers, Reversing camera,
Electronic handbrake with auto hold. There are also excellent LED headlights and daylight running lights with automatic high-beam, a very effective 360-degree camera with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning system with lane-change assist and even more.

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With this level of electronic assistance, it would seem like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV might be a bit cold and emotionless but actually, despite all of the electronics, it’s very easy to drive and feels very familiar. You don’t notice any intrusion and I found I felt instantly at home driving it.
The luxurious Interior was a very nice place to be with quality leather and high-grade plastic throughout.
Our test car had gunmetal grey leather seats with 8-way electric adjusted front driver’s seat and matching door upholstery and centre armrest, premium Alpine audio system with remote smartphone app compatibility (apple carplay and android auto), heated front and rear seats, power tailgate and heated steering wheel.

In summary, it’s hard to review the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV because there is so much to it.

This is not a straightforward luxury car review. The PHEV side of the vehicle is so clever and well-engineered and has some significant benefits over a conventional car or SUV. It’s not a one size fits all car. If you are a high mileage driver, this probably isn’t the best choice for you. However, in most other respects, the Outlander PHEV offers some great benefits. During our time with the car, we genuinely saw well over 200mpg averages. That’s not fake journalist talk either. The batteries were charged and we were driving the car as we normally would. Over a couple of days of running kids around, commuting to work and usual duties like shopping and so on, we regularly saw 200+mpg journeys. It really showed how effective this Outlander PHEV is if used correctly. Obviously, many journeys are completely petrol free.

I would strongly urge you to call into your local dealer and arrange a test drive. The staff will talk you through the technology and the Hybrid powertrain and I’m sure you will be very impressed.
Prices start at £36,755

About the author: Mark Turner
Journo @ Blacktopmedia & freelance for various digital & print publications & some corporate mags. Big petrol head, particularly bikes!