Mitsubishi PHEV hybrid first drive
AUSTRALIA’S best selling plug-in hybrid, Mitsubishi’s Outlander, has gained a new look, more safety tech, fast charging and marginally better petrol-free driving range.
It also higher price: each model is $3000 than its predecessor. The LS is $50,490 plus on-road costs and the flagship Exceed $55,490.
It’s still not available as a seven-seater because the hybrid controller module rear electric motor take up space.
The new model gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, LED headlights,
park brake what’s called a “Chademo” fastcharger connector that can top up 80 per cent of the battery’s capacity in just 25 minutes.
In addition to seven airbags and rear view camera, Exceed gains automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane change assistance, rear-cross traffic alert and a 360-degree camera. Smartphone app capability lets you switch on the aircon before
get in or set recharge time via your phone.
Claimed electric driving range has increased from 52km to 54km — real world,
is respectable at 30km34km. The petrol engine extends the about 500km.
Electric motors front and rear propel Outlander when moving from rest cruising at suburban speeds.
Typically, the petrol engine kicks in on freeway, driving
front wheels via a single ratio, direct drive axle. It can also charge lithium-ion battery to 80 per cent capacity in just 40 minutes, on the move or when parked and using about 3L of fuel process.
Average consumption, according to laboratory tests, has been trimmed from 1.9L/100km 1.7L/100km. But real world thirst varies greatly — anecdotally, 6L-8L mixing petrol and electric and 9L-11L on freeway running.
Charging the PHEV from flat via a regular 10-amp household power point takes about 6.5 hours, or five hours from 15-amp outlet.
ON THE ROAD
The Outlander PHEV starts and runs silently and, with its hi-tech whirr, it sounds as if you’re driving something from
Jetsons. electric motors have ample power with practice, it’s possible to use them most of the time.
As before, paddle shifters are used for minute adjustment of
regenerative braking. Ingeniously, Mitsubishi has eliminated the too-sharp brake pedal feel that is a hybrid trait.
Extensive changes you can’t see (such as new suspension and more sound deadening, including thicker glass) make driving much pleasant.
Tipping the scales at 1860kg, it weighs about 300kg more than a petrol model and 200kg more diesel, mass is felt when it changes direction. The soft suspension can feel wallowy at times.
There is no digital speedo and the cabin, although roomy, starting to look dated.
The base Outlander is under $30,000, the top-of-the-range model is $10,000 less than the PHEV Exceed and savings will buy a lot of petrol. Fast charging, smartphone tricks
improved refinement comfort make update worth
second look — if you can justify the price.