THE two Outlanders looked alike, but that was about all.
One was the plug-in hybrid electric PHEV, the other the topof- the- range luxury Aspire, with conventional petrol power.
We drove the PHEV for a fortnight - and it didn't cost a cent in fuel.
The first production plug-in hybrid electric SUV in the world, it really is a breakthrough, one ideally suited to folk who mainly travel 50 to 70km a day. But it will also handle long trips, and offroad conditions.
It has strong torque and runs eerily quiet on electric power, and will do about 70km before its battery is depleted. But then its 2.0litre petrol motor kicks in, recharging the battery as you drive. Or you can press a console button to fire up the petrol motor anytime before the battery is drained.
And if you have a 15 amp power socket at home, use that to charge the battery overnight. We didn't have one, but never needed it anyway.
There are three driving modes: all electric (and emission-free) on the twin 60kW electric motors, Series Hybrid, which uses the 87kW petrol engine as a generator for the electric motors and Parallel Hybrid, which employs the petrol engine to drive the car while at the same time charging up the battery.
Braking and coasting also regenerate the battery. Total range is close on 900km. For the rest, it's an Outlander, Mitsubishi's popular mid-sized SUV with five seats, all the safety, comfort and entertainment things of the moment, and all-wheel drive.
We got used to it in no time and ended up very impressed with its torque, silence and economy.
Makes a lot of sense, and costs from $47,490.
Then we hopped into an Aspire, and were disappointed with what initially felt like poor performance. Of course, the 2.4litre petrol motor with its 124kW/220Nm had lots of oomph, but we'd been spoilt by the PHEV's shove-in-the-back torque.
At $52,490, the Aspire is the glam model, with premium appointments, lots of piano-black trim inside, soft- touch materials and an interior that can take seven people and their luggage.
What's more, the motor is ultra efficient, with an average fuel consumption of 7.4litres/100km.
The aerodynamic SUV has heated leather seats, a hotshot audio system, seven-inch touch-screen and it rides on smart 18-inch alloy wheels.
An option pack added Adaptive Cruise Control, which keeps the car a safe distance from the one in front, plus several other goodies and a glass sunroof. Also, the second and third row seats fold to allow a variety of seating or cargo configurations.
And at night, the headlights give superb reach and spread.
A class act in either electric or petrol form - it comes in diesel too.