Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Updates To The Popular Green SUV
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Outlander PHEV was first launched in 2014 and despite the growing number of competitors, it remained Europe’s best selling plug-in hybrid three years in a row from 2015 to 2017. It is also still the UK’s top selling plug-in vehicle, hybrid or electric.
A recent round of updates was reason enough to take another look, so here goes...
Visually it is business as usual, but the eagle-eyed will spot the new front grille and bumper, LED headlights, rear spoiler and all-new 18-inch alloy wheels.
A new 2.4-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine is now fitted along with a more powerful and capacious battery.
Perhaps a little reminder is called for here to explain how the system works. Two electric motors drive the front and rear axles independently, with the batteries allowing forward progress at speeds of up to 84mph.
Beyond that speed, the petrol engine will cut in to boost performance and will also burst into life if the battery pack charge falls to below 30%.
On the move these changes to propulsion are seamless and there are some clever touches allowing the driver to manually select the method of power. For example, you might choose to travel on petrol power for the faster part of a journey, saving the battery for urban travel.
This function is becoming increasingly useful as more and more towns introduce emission charges for more polluting vehicles.
It is also possible to select a charging mode on the move, whereby the petrol engine charges the battery, useful if it has not been possible to plug the car into a charging station.
If this all sounds a little complicated, in practice it is simplicity itself.
At home the Outlander can be charged from a normal domestic socket in about four hours, but a high powered charger can do the job in around half an hour or so.
Mitsubishi quote an all-electric range of 28 miles in ideal conditions, so not Yorkshire in December then... I managed about 22 miles, enough for everyday local running around.
The updated Outlander now feels spritelier on the road. The 0-62mph sprint time has dropped by half a second and there is now a ‘Sport’ mode which brings with it sharper throttle responsiveness, sportier power steering and more grip via the Super All-Wheel Control system.
There’s also a new SNOW mode to improve low-grip launching and cornering abilities on slippery surfaces, while the traction control system has been revised to improve hill climbing performance by carefully managing rear motor torque without compromising stability.
The ride comfort has been improved, though larger bumps do make their presence felt. Handling is safe and secure – this is not a car to thrill, so better to adopt a relaxed and gentle approach more in keeping with the car’s green credentials.
Mitsubishi quote an official (and unrealistic) 159.5mpg for the combined cycle. A gentle 45 mile run into Leeds one evening, starting with a full battery, yielded 82mpg according to the trip computer. The return journey with the battery now empty, a less impressive 34mpg. You get the idea...
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The Outlander PHEV range starts at £36,755 and all models are well equipped. Safety levels have been improved and a five star Euro NCAP rating is all the reassurance that you need. Top models such as the 4s on test add Lane Departure Warning, Automatic high-beam, Blind Spot Warning and adaptive cruise control to the mix.
The interior boasts ample space for five large adults to spread, but if you want seating for seven, then you will have to choose diesel power.
For many urban motorists who travel shorter distances, the Outlander PHEV makes perfect sense. The higher mileage driver may be better served elsewhere. The big but is now the latest generation of all-electric vehicles that are starting to arrive on our shores. Gone is the woeful range that afflicted early EVs, to be replaced by models such as the new Kia E-Niro that boast a theoretical range of 282 miles.
However, the issue for many urban dwellers is the lack of charging infrastructure and so for them the Outlander’s ability to charge on the move is ideal. Strong sales are therefore likely to continue.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4s
2.4-litre petrol engine with two electric motors
0-62mph in 10.5 seconds
Top speed 106mph (84mph in EV mode)
CO2 emissions 46g/km
EV range 28 miles
5 year warranty
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Updates To The Popular Green SUV, 4th December 2018, 22:16 PM