South Western Times
Sparking a power surge
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV first appeared in Australian showrooms in 2014, and although it hasn’t kickstarted a plug-in hybrid revolution as yet, it is still one of the most well-rounded offerings available to those keen to taste electric motoring without taking the plunge on a purely electric vehicle.
It has had constant tweaks over the years, which continued in 2020 when the new GSR variant slotted in between the entry level ES and top-spec Exceed trims.
Costing $52,490 plus on-roads, the GSR scores a Bilstein premium suspension, electric tailgate, black exterior highlights, eight-speaker audio and extra safety kit above the ES.
As always with a PHEV, you’re forking out extra for the hybrid powertrain.
In the Outlander, it consists of a 94kW/199Nm 2.4-litre petrol engine combining with a 13.8kWh battery powering two electric motors — one front and one rear.
Mitsi says it offers a combined max output of 157kW and 332Nm, while also offering 54km of pure electric driving.
The max output is impressive for a mainstream medium SUV, and the Outlander PHEV never feels sluggish, despite the hybrid system adding 220kg to the gross vehicle mass compared to a petrol-powered Outlander.
Acceleration is aided by the instant torque of the electric motors, plus all-wheel-drive.
As for the electric range, the most we ever saw on the display was 50km, and most we covered at least 45km before the petrol engine took over — easily enough for our daily commute.
The Outlander PHEV can get thirsty when the petrol takes over — it will also kick in when you plant your foot unless you’re in EV mode — but it’s difficult to say what our overall fuel use was for the week as the accumulated drive info would reset with every charge.
Given we had a range of 580km, both when we picked up the car and dropped it off, it’s safe to say it was next to nothing.
And unlike some electrified vehicles, which take an age to charge without access to high-speed charging or home wallboxes, the Outlander PHEV allows you to take full advantage of the green tech without any infrastructure changes at home: the battery takes about seven hours to fully charge from zero via a standard household socket, meaning it was at 100 per cent every morning.
It also has vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home capability, meaning it can power your home via a bi-directional charger. The GSR’s suspension makes for a comfortable drive, and it’s also quiet (especially driving under electric power, obviously).
Elsewhere, it’s pretty much like a normal Outlander — even the boot isn’t compromised, with the 463 litres available only 14 down on the petrol five-seat Outlander.
True, it’s not an amazing amount of cargo room for a medium SUV these days, but that speaks to the Outlander range’s age rather than a PHEV-specific issue.
The Outlander PHEV is still pricey for a medium SUV, but it also remains one of the least compromised easy-to-live-with plug-in vehicles on the market. The new GSR spec is probably the pick of the range.