Who says a 4×4 SUV can’t be eco-friendly? Mitsubishi took that idea and totally shattered it with the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Electric Hybrid (PHEV).
From the outside, and on the inside too, the PHEV pretty much looks like a regular Outlander.
Traditional but timidly curious drivers need not fear – Mitsubishi has not gone crazy with a futuristic looking interior.
The stubby automatic gearstick, paddle brake modifiers and digital centre console are about the only indications in the inside that you’re driving something different. Other than those, you could be in the diesel model.
The cream leather upholstered interior in our top of the range Intense+ test car was beautiful and quite sophisticated looking. The cabin is huge, with great leg and headroom back and front. There’s enough room for three adults in the back. A low transmission tunnel runs through the middle of the car, but it doesn’t encroach too much on rear centre legroom.
However, if you’ve just two rear seat passengers, for added comfort there’s a pull down armrest with two cup holders.
The front seats in the test car were heated, a touch of luxury which is very welcome on chilly days.
The cabin in the PHEV has the same great array of storage cubbies as the diesel model and bottles stand upright in the door bins.
The test car also had a sunroof which opens.
Boot space is compromised in many Electric Vehicles because the batteries are sometimes housed there, not so with the PHEV. The boot is huge, and the rear seats lie almost flat, to further increase the cargo area.
It’s worth noting that, unlike the diesel model, the PHEV is not available as a seven seater – despite the cup holders in the boot.
The centre console in this car is well designed. The big EV dials are easy to follow and it also shows how the car is being powered. Sat Nav directions show up in centre console.
The touchscreen infotainment unit in the centre console also provides driving statistics and information. I found however, that there was quite a lag in it and it’s very slow to start up. On the plus side, it was very easy to pair your phone with and audio quality was excellent.
The PHEV is powered by two motors and a 2.0-litre petrol engine. The paddles on the steering wheel are not to change gears, but to regulate how hard the braking works. The car can also be put into 4WD with a touch of a button.
It has three drive modes. Electric Vehicle mode is totally electric and the car has a stated cruising range of 52km and can travel at speeds of up to 120kph in this mode.
Series Hybrid is a combination of EV and generator and kicks in when overtaking or driving uphill.
When the car’s in Parallel Hybrid Mode it’s essentially being driven by the petrol engine. The PHEV also has a charge-on-the-go function via regenerative braking.
The car automatically selects the most appropriate drive mode.
The PHEV is lovely to drive. Because of its EV capabilities, it has pretty swift acceleration for a car of its size. The petrol engine kicks in seemlessly when needed.
We took it up the mountains in horrible, wet conditions. It performed great and really gripped the road. We barely noticed the atrocious conditions outside.
The PHEV can be charged at home or via on-street standard or fast chargers. I opted for the fast charge, which filled to 80 per cent in 24 minutes. That gave me 24km of EV, which was perfect for my 10km commute.
You’d need to charge it again at the other end to be sure of a full EV trip – but if you didn’t get a chance to do that, there’s no range anxiety as the petrol engine would kick in.
Overall, I really liked it. It’s a good looking, really interesting, comfortable car that has all the practicality of a traditional SUV with the promise of much cheaper motoring.
I say promise, because you’d need a long term test drive to really test the nuances of this technology. However, being a city driver, I can already see how its EV capabilities would be very useful for a short range urban driver.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is available now, with prices starting from €41,950 for the Intense+ trim. Prices for the Instyle+ trim I was driving start from €47,450. This includes the €5,000 grant and tax relief.
Engine: 2.0 MIVEC PHEV (petrol)
Acceleration: 0-100kph in 11seconds
Maximum Speed: 170kph
CO2 emissions: 44g/km
Combined fuel economy: 1.9l/100km
Annual road tax: €170
First Look – Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV