Ma­jor re­vi­sions for Out­lander PHEV

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

Mit­subishi has been at the fore­front of pure elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles for many years, both in Aus­tralia and glob­ally.

The Mit­subishi i-MiEV took its place in Aus­tralian au­to­mo­tive his­tory as it was the first-ever pure elec­tric pro­duc­tion car to go on sale in this coun­try.

The Ja­panese gi­ant is now start­ing to push hard in Aus­tralia on the PHEV (Plug in Hy­brid Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle) front.

The Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV was launched in Aus­tralia in 2014 and has just re­ceived a se­ries of ma­jor re­vi­sions. These are far reach­ing, not only on the hy­brid driv­e­train, but also to the styling, in­fo­tain­ment, sus­pen­sion and over­all re­fine­ment.

Mit­subishi has given its PHEV a more up­mar­ket look and feel to aim it be­yond the early adopters who have been the big­gest cus­tomers to date. In­deed, it has looks that are al­most fu­tur­is­tic in its class.

The body has a new front end and a tail tuck that have chromed and sil­vered high­lights work well.

In­side, the changes are more sub­tle; there’s a re­designed steer­ing wheel, new accents in the trim, mod­i­fied seats and pre­mium ma­te­ri­als.

Mul­ti­ple changes to the Out­lander’s driv­e­train (which is an all­wheel-drive sys­tem, some­thing that’s less and less com­mon these days) make it no­tice­ably more ef­fi­cient.

Of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion is down by about 10 per cent, from 1.9 to 1.7 litres per 100km.

This new model fea­tures an EV Pri­or­ity mode that lets the driver op­er­ate the Out­lander purely in EV mode pro­vided there is suf­fi­cient charge in the bat­ter­ies; ex­cel­lent news for your neigh­bours if you do very-early morn­ing starts, or get home late at night.

It also stops all ex­haust pol­lu­tion in un­der­ground carparks.

Pure EV range is listed at a max­i­mum of 54km; ob­vi­ously this de­pends on driv­ing style, road gra­di­ents and other vari­ables, but it’s a de­cent dis­tance for a ve­hi­cle in this class. If you live, say, about 40km from work and can charge at both ends of the trip you could run the Mit­subishi all week with­out us­ing petrol.

The big­gest news is that a DC fast-charge sys­tem can recharge the bat­tery to 80 per cent ca­pac­ity in about 25 min­utes. That’s around the time you might spend hav­ing a cof­fee or do­ing some shop­ping at the typ­i­cal road­side ser­vice area.

Aus­tralia is still se­ri­ously lack­ing in charg­ing sta­tions, that sit­u­a­tion will even­tu­ally im­prove.

How­ever, a ma­jor part of the prob­lem is the com­plete lack of in­ter­est by Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments in as­sist­ing those who want to buy clean-run­ning ve­hi­cles.

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

The lat­est Out­lander is avail­able in LS and Ex­ceed grades. Both have new fea­tures such as; smart­phone Link Dis­play au­dio with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto2 in­te­gra­tion; DAB+ ra­dio; pow­ered and heated door mir­rors; LED head­lamps with auto lev­el­ling; and a DC fast charg­ing socket.

Topline Out­lander Ex­ceed also gets adap­tive cruise con­trol, for­ward col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion that can also “see” pedes­tri­ans, 360-de­gree around mon­i­tor, au­to­matic high beam, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, blind-spot mon­i­tor; lane change as­sist, and rear cross-traf­fic alert.

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

On the road in a com­plex drive pro­gram ar­ranged by Mit­subishi we had every­thing from peak-hour traf­fic in Ade­laide’s CBD, to open coun­try roads, in­clud­ing some dirt sec­tions and wind­ing hills.

Fuel con­sump­tion ranged from zero in the city and for the next 30km out of town, to seven to eight litres per 100km once the bat­tery was dis­charged.

Some added charge was picked up on down­hill run­ning, but this was min­i­mal.

Com­fort is very good, with a near-silent cabin on smooth roads and a well-con­trolled ride.

Rough sur­faces did sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease sound lev­els, but on the whole the Mit­subishi is al­most in the lux­ury sedan class.

Though it’s a heavy SUV the Out­lander PHEV han­dles well enough, partly be­cause of the low­ish cen­tre of grav­ity due to un­der­floor bat­ter­ies.

It’s no sports ma­chine but it will keep you out of trou­ble.

As well as the fas­ci­nat­ing Out­lander Plug in Hy­brid Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle it’s also sold with con­ven­tional petrol and turbo-diesel en­gines.

Mit­subishi Aus­tralia says, “In many mar­kets there have been suc­cess­ful poli­cies in­tro­duced to en­cour­age EV sales.

If Aus­tralia were to adopt some of these it would be a pos­i­tive start but it will re­quire a long-term fo­cus across all lev­els of govern­ment to achieve a sig­nif­i­cant change in EV ve­hi­cle de­mand in this mar­ket.”

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV has looks that are al­most fu­tur­is­tic in its class.

Mit­subishi has given its PHEV a more up­mar­ket look.

The Out­lander PHEV fea­tures a re­designed steer­ing wheel.

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