Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV road test review – ENDA MULLEN drives this Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GX4hs
THE war against environmentally unfriendly SUVs – or Chelsea Tractors as they came to be called in certain quarters – never got too serious thankfully.
Okay, mums on the school run might have got more than a few dirty looks and perhaps there was the odd keying incident here or there but there were never any placard-waving protest mobs demanding such gas-guzzling monstrosities be removed from our streets.
If there had been the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV would be the perfect means of sticking the proverbial two fingers up at such protesters, or rather a means to pretty much stop them in their tracks.
These days there might be many more leaner and greener SUVs and crossovers to choose from it’s not all V8 petrol-powered Range Rovers and the like – but the PHEV (it stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is pretty much out there on its own in the environmentally-friendly stakes.
It shows that an SUV can be as green as anything else – or even more so.
This hybrid Outlander has taken off big time and the real reason is that it makes economic as well as environmental sense. In fact the Outlander PHEV has just clocked up 10,000 sales in the UK during its first year on the market.
Essentially it’s a plug-in hybrid that can be powered by battery power or petrol – or indeed a combination of both sources of energy.
You can simply plug it in to a regular domestic electrical socket overnight and it has a battery-only range of up to 32.5 miles – ideal for many people’s daily commute. Better still install a fast-charging wall-mounted charger that can be fitted by British Gas for £115 under a government green energy scheme.
Real world motoring, particularly navigating slow moving traffic, means the range might be a fair bit less than that 32.5-mile quoted figure.
But if so then it simply switches into petrol-powered mode, and while using that the battery gets charged.
The maths speaks for itself. If bought as a company car Mitsubishi charge the same for the PHEV as for the regular diesel model (£28,249-£34,999) after the £5,000 plug-in grant from the Government is included.
And it’s as a company car that the PHEV makes perfect sense.
Over a three-year period it could save a driver more than £11,000 in tax and if the business fuel allowance is factored in that could rise to £18,000.
I heard of a vet recently who reckoned he was set to save £7,000 a year – he was simply told by his accountant to ‘buy one’.
Other financial inducements worthy of mention include no road tax and exemption from the London congestion charge.
Outside of its outstanding environmental credentials and cost-saving benefits the PHEV is pretty much like any other mid-sized SUV.
It has the traditional SUV-style boxy design blueprint, meaning it is open and roomy with a generously sized boot.
Build quality and fit and finish are good throughout, though its switchgear and instrumentation are characterised by a familiar Mitsubishi spartan and rugged feel which might not be to all tastes.
To drive the Outlander is decent enough. There’s an element of pitch and roll, as with any SUV, and it delivers a supple ride.
In electric mode it has that eerie silence that’s a little unusual at first but is something one soon becomes accustomed to.
Smooth and refined it also has a real turn of pace when one needs it.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GX4hs
Mechanical: 119bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving four wheels via automatic gearbox
Max speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 11.0 seconds
Combined mpg: 148
Insurance group: 24
CO2 emissions: 44g/km
BiK rating: 5%
Warranty: Three years/unlimited miles