Which car accounts for 50% of all UK plug-in vehicle sales ? Answer. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Since its introduction in 2014 it has transformed the ultra-low emission vehicle landscape here in the UK, with endorsements from the likes of Boris Johnson, if that was an endorsement, only increasing it’s popularity. Even in the ‘terracotta army-land’ of North Cheshire, the PHEV has managed to get a small foothold amongst the footballer-type Cheshire-set who usually favour Range Rovers & Porsche Cayennes & who care not an iota for global warming or fuel prices
I drove the PHEV back in 2014 & in late 2015 the model had a mid-life facelift. Both of these came with an electric range of 20 miles, enough to get you to the shops & back & perhaps to school & back as well, but not much further. Step forward then the 2018 Outlander PHEV, with a claimed electric range of 30 miles. Not only will the latest PHEV go further on electric, some small improvement’s from Mitsubishi have gone a long way to making this latest version a much more desirable motor.
Most important though, are the changes to the engine. There’s a new Atkinson cycle petrol engine & the drive battery capacity has increased by 15% to 13.8kWh. Drive battery output, electric generator output & the rear electric motor outputs have all increased by 10%.
On the outside, the Outlander PHEV was the first execution of Mitsubishi’s new SUV design direction – ‘Dynamic Shield’, which embodies the functionality & reassuring safety inherent in Mitsubishi SUVs. This has been updated on the new model. There’s a new front grille design, that carries the Mitsubishi Three Diamond mark, there’s also new front & rear bumper’s, LED headlamp system, 18″ alloy wheels & fog lamp bezels. Four-wheel-drive is also there if you want it.
Inside, Mitsubishi has worked hard to improve the quality & luxuriousness of the interior. Updates include new front seats, improved engine refinement, which equals less cabin noise, revised switchgear including a new Drive toggle with a SPORT button, a new instrumentation cluster, the introduction of rear air-con vents, a selection of new cabin trims & black headlining.
The Mitsubishi Multi Communication System is still offering the driver a simple way to communicate through hands-free Bluetooth, Apple Car Play or AndroidAuto. There’s no SatNav on board, so Google Maps is your best bet connected via a USB cable.
The Outlander PHEV also contains a 360-degree camera, Mitsubishi’s Unintended Acceleration Mitigation System, which prevents accidental acceleration from a stationary position – whether forward or reverse. The Lane Departure Warning System does not activate below 40mph and vehicle momentum changes caused by level five & six regenerative braking trigger the brake lights.
As well as being safer the new PHEV is also faster & more fuel efficient. Improvements to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s dual powertrains means that it’s not only more efficient than before, it also offers better driving performance. The 0-62mph acceleration benchmark is dispatched in 10.5 seconds, some 0.5 seconds faster than before, while its overtaking acceleration is also improved by a similar margin (e.g. 50mph-62mph is reduced by 0.6 seconds to 3.7 seconds).
My PHEV4h test model came extravagantly equipped with a long list of goodies, including 18″ wheels, Smartphone link display audio, dual zone climate control, black leather seats, keyless operation system. front, side, curtain & knee airbags, blind spot warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, DAB digital radio, front seat heaters & a heated steering wheel. Also on offer are cruise control, a power tailgate, 8 way electric drivers seat, the very important 10amp 240v 5m charging cable & LED daytime running lights
In truth, when compared to say a Land Rover Discovery, the interior is more functional than inspirational. However, it’s definitely better than before, with some nice soft touch plastic here & there & a quality feel to the switchgear that’s been missing from some Mitsy’s for some time.
Up front, there’s acres of space for driver & front seat passenger & in the rear too, space is excellent. Only the centre rear seat feels squashed, primarily because the seat belt connector is awkwardly positioned.
The boot is a useful 463 litres, although the battery does eat into the depth of this. Fold the rear sets down & this goes up to 731 litres. There’s also a neat hidden 35 litre compartment at the rear of the car underneath the boot floor, where you can stow away the charging leads.
Despite the PHEV weighing around 1800 kg , there’s no obvious lack of speed or power. Put your foot down & the engine quietly does it’s job & it is this lack of noise that makes the acceleration seem greater than it really is, 0 – 62 mph in 10.5 seconds & a top speed of 106 mph. A fully charged & fueled up PHEV has a range of 560 miles. If you can find a fast charger the battery can be 80% charged in 30 minutes. Charging at home takes longer though, around 5 hours using a domestic socket. Luckily, I have a Rolec wall charger at home & this time is cut to just 3.5 hours.
When I first connected the charging cable to the Rolec EV socket, it wouldn’t charge. Mitsubishi have cleverly added a timer system to the charging system, whereby you can set the time for the charge to start & finish. This timer had been set up by the last user of my test car, meaning it wouldn’t start. A quick scroll through the infotainment screen & system settings, allowed me to turn this off. Very useful though this is, it had me flummoxed for a while.
As luck would have it, I had a van launch in Luton to attend whilst testing the PHEV. That meant a 360 mile motorway return trip from Altrincham to Luton & back. Motorway driving is a pleasurable thing in the Outlander PHEV. The quiet petrol engine make the miles disappear & via Apple Car Play I got to listen to my favourite podcasts & utilise Google Maps, both at the same time. In petrol mode I did 335 miles & had around a fifth of a tank left. The petrol engine is fine on economy at 65 mph or under, but go just a few miles an hour faster than this & the economy drops.
I selected the EV drive setting about 30 miles from home near Crewe on the M6. Knowing I was going to be in road works for 20 miles at a constant 50 mph, I thought I would see just how far the electric motor would take me. I’m happy to report, that I was able to drive using electric only for the last 26 miles of my journey & still have about 10% battery life left. Excellent !
Around my locality over shorter distances to the shops for example, I took advantage of the Save Charge button whilst on the move. Apart from the longer trip to Luton & back, I spent the remainder of my week driving locally & I was able to do this on electric charge only. Charging at home definitely helped & I would urge anyone looking at a plug-in hybrid to get a charger at home or at work if they can, as it’s just quicker & easier to charge with a proper EV wall socket than using a domestic three-pin plug.
For company car drivers who are big motorway users, a long journey at motorway speeds need to be undertaken using the petrol engine, but anything shorter or at a constant speed of 50mph or below, offers the driver the opportunity to go electric only. And that extra 10 miles could make all the difference.
Championed by Boris, four years on & the Outlander PHEV has only got better. It’s a shame that the near-sighted government recently pulled the plug-in grant for cars that do less than 70 miles on electric charge. But, with a reasonable asking price, better quality both inside & out & that 30 mile electric range, the Outlander PHEV is still a good bet for those not quite ready to go full-on electric.
A Brexit 4/5.
l tested Outlander 4h 2.0 PHEV Auto 4WD
|Outlander PHEV Juro||£36,755|
|Outlander PHEV 4h||£39,500|
|Outlander PHEV 4hs||£41,600|
|Outlander PHEV 5h||£43,500|
|Outlander PHEV 5hs||£45,1600|
|Outlander PHEV||4WD Auto|
|Dimensions (mm)||L 4695 / W 1800 / H 1710 / WB 2670|
|Boot Space (Litres)||463 (+35L under floor cargo box)|
|Track F/R (mm)||1540 / 1540|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||190|
|Off Road Angles (Degrees)||Approach 21.0° / Breakover 19.0° / Departure 22.5°|
|Towing Capacity (kg)||1,500 (braked trailer)|
|Engine||2,360cc MIVEC Atkinson cycle|
|Max Output (ps)||135 @ 4,500rpm|
|Torque (Nm)||211 @ 4,500rpm|
|Charging||AC230V 16A:4.0 hrs / CHADeMO~80% in 25 mins|
|Top Speed (MPH)||106|
|Top EV Speed (MPH)||84|
|Battery Storage||300V Lithium ion battery pack, 13.8kWh capacity|
|EV range||28 (WLTP) / 35 (WLTP City Driving) / 33 (NEDC)|
|Combined Cycle MPG||139 (WLTP) / 159.5 (NEDC)|
|CO2 Emissions||46 g/km (WLTP) / 40.3 g/km (NEDC)|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||1,880|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||45 litres|
|Suspension F/R||McPherson Struts / Multi-Link|
|Brakes F/R||Ventilated Discs / Solid discs|
|Service Intervals||12,500 miles / 12 months|
|Warranty||5 Years / 62,500 miles|
|Anti-Perforation Warranty||12 Year Anti-Corrosion Perforation|
|Roadside Assistance||3 Year Pan-European including Home Start|