Out­lander is recharged

Geraldton Guardian - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

Mit­subishi con­tin­ues its push to be at the lead­ing edge of hy­brid and elec­tric ve­hi­cle de­sign.

This hardly comes as a sur­prise as the Ja­panese com­pany is one of the world’s big­gest play­ers in the elec­tric items.

Our test ve­hi­cle for the past week has been a 2018 Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV (Plugin Hy­brid Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle). It first ar­rived in Aus­tralia in 2014, but such is the break­neck rate of tech­no­log­i­cal change it re­cently re­ceived a re­vi­sion.

Ob­vi­ously these con­cen­trate on the pow­er­train, but there are changes to the plat­form and sus­pen­sion, as well as styling changes in­side and out.

The plug-in Out­lander PHEV for 2018 is al­most fu­tur­is­tic thanks to a huge new front end and a mild tail tuck. In a throw­back to the 1970s, it has chromed and sil­vered high­lights. Yep, fu­tur­is­tic and retro — Mit­subishi is hav­ing two-bob each way, and we like what we see.

In­side, the lat­est Out­lander PHEV has a re­designed steer­ing wheel, re­vised de­sign of ac­cents in the trim and re­shaped seats. Ma­te­ri­als have a more up­mar­ket feel.

The big­gest news in the lat­est Out­lander is that a DC fast-charge sys­tem can recharge the bat­tery to 80 per cent ca­pac­ity in about 25 min­utes. Ma­jor changes to the driv­e­train make Out­lander sig­nif­i­cantly more ef­fi­cient. Of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion is down by about 10 per cent, from 1.9 to 1.7 litres per 100km.

New Out­lander has an EV Pri­or­ity mode that lets you use it purely as an elec­tric ve­hi­cle, pro­vided there is suf­fi­cient charge in the bat­ter­ies.

As a last re­sort, if you’re mak­ing long trips Mit­subishi Out­lander can run on petrol for 500km to 600km if you drive sen­si­bly.

Out­lander is of­fered in LS and Ex­ceed grades. Both have smart­phone Link Dis­play au­dio with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto2 in­te­gra­tion, and DAB+ ra­dio. You need to use your own smart­phone for satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion.

Both mod­els are well equipped, with the up­mar­ket Out­lander Ex­ceed hav­ing such ex­tra items as for­ward col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion that can also de­tect pedes­tri­ans, 360de­gree mon­i­tor, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, blind spot mon­i­tor and rear cross traf­fic alert.

Petrol con­sump­tion dur­ing our test pe­riod ranged from zero in the city area where we ran it as a pure EV, to seven to eight litres per 100km on petrol once the bat­tery was dis­charged.

EV range was usu­ally in the 35km to 45km range, so if you’re only do­ing short trips and can charge the Out­lander overnight you can go for weeks, even months, with­out call­ing into a ser­vice sta­tion.

Ride qual­ity and com­fort have been im­proved, pri­mar­ily thanks to changes to the plat­form to in­crease struc­tural rigid­ity.

There is also ex­tra sound dead­en­ing ma­te­rial and re­vi­sions to the sus­pen­sion to re­duce noise.

Com­fort is good, with a very quiet in­te­rior on smooth roads. Rough sur­faces no­tice­ably in­creased sound lev­els, so the Out­lander isn’t quite in the lux­ury sedan class. But keep in mind that this is an SUV that is al­most in the four-wheel-drive class.

Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV holds on well in bends, partly be­cause of its low­ish cen­tre of grav­ity due to un­der­floor bat­ter­ies. It’s no sports SUV like some of the Euro­peans in this class, though.

Mit­subishi Out­lander may look like a typ­i­cal SUV or 4WD but is ac­tu­ally a high-tech glimpse into the fu­ture. Smooth, quiet and easy to drive, it’s worth con­sid­er­ing for some­thing out of the ordinary.

Pic­ture: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Mit­subishi Out­lander might look like a typ­i­cal SUV or four-wheel-drive but is ac­tu­ally a high-tech glimpse into the fu­ture.

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