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