Mo­tor Re­view

Cheshire Life - - Inside - WORDS: Chris Pick­er­ing

Mit­subishi Outlander PHEV

The re­cently-re­vamped Mit­subishi Outlander PHEV com­bines the ben­e­fits of an elec­tric car with the con­ve­nience of a petrol en­gine

The Mit­subishi Outlander PHEV has con­sis­tently topped the list of the UK’s best­selling plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles ever since the orig­i­nal ver­sion was launched in 2014. It com­bines two elec­tric mo­tors with a con­ven­tional petrol en­gine to pro­vide im­pres­sive re­al­world fuel econ­omy, per­ma­nent four-wheel drive and the op­tion of trav­el­ling up to 28 miles on elec­tric­ity alone.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The lat­est model fea­tures a raft of im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing a new 2.4-litre petrol en­gine, an up­rated elec­tric mo­tor on the rear and a slightly larger (13.8kWh) bat­tery. Charg­ing takes ap­prox­i­mately five hours on a stan­dard three-pin do­mes­tic plug and run­ning on elec­tric­ity alone equates to around a third of the cost you’d spend on fuel for an equiv­a­lent petrol-only model. What’s more, there’s a grow­ing net­work of pub­lic charg­ing points that will do it in as lit­tle as 25 min­utes.

We man­aged a real-world elec­tric range of 23.3 miles. That might not sound like much, but it’s more than twice the length of the av­er­age UK com­mute, so some peo­ple could fea­si­bly carry out all of their day-to­day driv­ing with­out us­ing a sin­gle drop of fuel. Switch to hy­brid mode and the fuel econ­omy will de­pend heav­ily on how of­ten you need to use the petrol en­gine, but keep the bat­tery topped up and over 100mpg is at­tain­able on short trips. Even with the bat­tery de­pleted we av­er­aged 43mpg, which is im­pres­sive for a car of this size.

HOW IT DRIVES

The Outlander PHEV’s elec­tric driv­e­train is smooth and vir­tu­ally si­lent at low speeds. Things do get a lit­tle louder when the petrol en­gine wakes up, and there is a touch of wind and road noise, but it re­mains an im­pres­sively refined pack­age over­all.

The elec­tric mo­tors pro­vide plenty of torque, which means that the ini­tial pull­away feels live­lier than the 10.5 sec­ond 0-to-62 mph time might im­ply. And, while it never sets out to be sporty, the Outlander

PHEV han­dles sur­pris­ingly well for a big car, with crisp steer­ing and a nicely bal­anced chas­sis.

SPACE AND COM­FORT

The plug-in hy­brid ver­sion of the Outlander comes with five seats (un­like its petrol and diesel equiv­a­lents that of­fer seven). Un­less you re­ally need the third row, how­ever, there’s lit­tle to choose be­tween them.

There’s still plenty of head and legroom front and rear, plus lots of stor­age space. Boot volume is hin­dered slightly by the ad­di­tion of the bat­ter­ies, but it re­mains com­pet­i­tive at 463 litres, while the 60/40 split rear seats fold flat to give a cav­ernous 1,603 litres of load space.

AT THE WHEEL

There are five (me­chan­i­cally iden­ti­cal) trim specs, rang­ing from £36,755 to £46,060. All bar­ring the en­try level

Juro fea­ture leather seats, which of­fer a good blend of com­fort and sup­port, while a seven-inch touch­screen dis­play is stan­dard on all mod­els, as is smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity via An­droid Auto and Ap­ple Car Play.

FI­NAL SAY

The gov­ern­ment may have scaled back the fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives for plug-in hy­brids, but there is still the po­ten­tial to save sig­nif­i­cantly on run­ning costs if you keep the bat­tery topped up. Mean­while, gen­er­ous equip­ment lev­els, de­cent dy­nam­ics and im­pres­sive re­fine­ment en­sure that the Outlander PHEV’s ap­peal ex­tends well beyond its eco cre­den­tials.

SPEC AND TECH Price: Mit­subishi Outlander PHEV 4HS £42,020 (range from £36,755) En­gine: 2,360 cc, 224PS, in-line four cylin­der petrol hy­brid with sin­gle-speed trans­mis­sion Per­for­mance: 0 to 62mph in 10.5 sec­onds; top speed 106mph Fuel econ­omy: 139.7mpg (WLTP com­bined) Elec­tric range: 28 miles (WLTP) Elec­tric­ity use: 169Wh/km (WLTP weighted av­er­age) CO2 emis­sions: 46g/km

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