Mit­subishi Out­lander PHEV 2.0 4WD 5hs

Is the UK’S best-sell­ing elec­tri ed ve­hi­cle easy to live with? We’re run­ning a 2016 model to nd out

What Car? - - Our Cars - Mark Pear­son Mark.pear­son@hay­mar­ket.com PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: JOHN BRADSHAW

Mileage 8455 Price when new £43,555 (in­clud­ing gov’t grant) Value on ar­rival £28,068 Test econ­omy 48.4mpg

“OH, SHE’S ELEC­TRIC,” re­marked a young man on the pave­ment as I stepped out of our used Out­lander. I should ex­plain, in case you think I’d en­coun­tered some­one who spends his days stand­ing on street cor­ners quot­ing Oa­sis songs at peo­ple, that this bud­ding car en­thu­si­ast had merely spot­ted the large ‘PHEV’ badge on the flanks of the car.

That sig­ni­fies that our car is a plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cle (PHEV) – bang on trend for our chang­ing times, de­spite this model ac­tu­ally hav­ing been on sale since 2014. Un­der­neath the Out­lander’s long bon­net is a con­ven­tional 2.0-litre petrol en­gine mated to two bat­tery­driven elec­tric mo­tors, one at the front and one at the rear, en­abling the Out­lander to be driven by en­gine power alone, by the bat­ter­ies or by a com­bi­na­tion of the two. These bat­ter­ies can be charged a bit while the car’s on the move or plugged into the mains for a proper dosage.

Fully charged, the car should have an elec­tric-only driv­ing range of around 30 miles. Per­haps more im­pres­sively, its of­fi­cial fuel con­sump­tion is listed at 166.1mpg and its CO2 emis­sions at 41g/km – ex­traor­di­nar­ily good for a large, prac­ti­cal five-seat SUV.

The reg­u­lar Out­lander has sold pretty well, even though it makes do with noth­ing more ex­cit­ing than a con­ven­tional 2.2-litre diesel en­gine. But it’s the PHEV ver­sion that has caught the eye of more than just the young man I men­tioned ear­lier. It’s the UK’S best­selling elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cle, with more than 25,000 sold to date, de­spite the halv­ing last year of the gov­ern­ment grant that ap­plies when buy­ing a new one to £2500. So pop­u­lar

is the Out­lander that it ac­tu­ally ac­counts for nearly 50% of all PHEVS on our roads.

Our new long-ter­mer is a 2016, one-care­ful-owner car, which I picked up from Mit­subishi dealer Shelly Mo­tors in Ep­som, Sur­rey. On close in­spec­tion, our car cer­tainly seems lit­tle trou­bled by its one year of us­age. I was in­ter­ested to hear that if you were to buy one like ours from a main dealer, it would cur­rently set you back around £28,000. New, our top-spec 5hs model will cost you a whop­ping £43,555, and that’s af­ter sub­tract­ing the grant, so straight away there’s a lot to be gained by buy­ing a used ex­am­ple.

You do get a lot of kit for that money, mind you, in­clud­ing a range of safety and con­ve­nience fea­tures such as adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and a col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion sys­tem. The ex­te­rior has plenty of ele­ments to please the eye, in­clud­ing colourkeyed bumpers, door mir­rors and door han­dles, while the in­te­rior is swathed in nappa leather.

Hop in and first im­pres­sions are favourable. There’s cer­tainly no sign of any wear. In fact, it re­ally does look as good as new, and there’s loads of head and leg room, too. Un­for­tu­nately, the hy­brid Out­lander is five-seat only, whereas the diesel model has seven seats, but at least all five oc­cu­pants have plenty of space to lounge around in. The driv­ing po­si­tion is tall, up­right – com­mand­ing, even – and, although the place­ment of some of the switches seems a bit hap­haz­ard and the touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is a lit­tle clunky to use, the in­stru­ments are clear and eas­ily read­able. Also, the Out­lander is easy to drive. So far, I’ve dis­cov­ered that the best thing to do is to work out what meth­ods of propul­sion the car is us­ing while you’re driv­ing. There’s a handy en­ergy flow dis­play on the screen that shows you just that and, as with all sim­i­lar cars, the ob­ject soon be­comes see­ing how long you can keep the car go­ing on full elec­tric drive around town be­fore the en­gine cuts in. It’s early days, but I reckon this abil­ity to cruise around town in near si­lence on elec­tric power will turn out to be the car’s great­est as­set – there aren’t many cars of a sim­i­lar size that can pull off this trick, even if the Out­lander can’t do it for that long. So, we’re go­ing to be run­ning this car for the next few months to see if it can live up to those bold fuel econ­omy claims (un­likely, we ad­mit, due to the in­ac­cu­racy of of­fi­cial tests, but it’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see what we can ac­tu­ally get from it in ev­ery­day use) and, of course, to see how it stacks up as a used car propo­si­tion. Is it too early to say that our Out­lander will match our high hopes? Def­i­nitely maybe, some might say.

WHY WE’RE RUN­NING IT

To nd out if a used hy­brid SUV makes nan­cial sense and to see how close it can get to its astro­nom­i­cal of cial fuel econ­omy gure ‘I reckon the Out­lander’s abil­ity to cruise around town on elec­tric power will be its great­est as­set’

Shelly Mo­tors’ brand man­ager presents Mark with his used Out­lander

An un­set­tled ride is one of the Out­lander’s weak­nesses

Hy­brids reg­is­tered be­fore April 2017 are road tax ex­empt

18in al­loy wheels are stan­dard on all Out­lander PHEVS

You can mon­i­tor where the car is draw­ing its power from

5h and 5hs mod­els have ‘Out­lander’ on their bon­nets

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