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MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER

2.4 PHEV Juro 5dr Auto

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - By Jonathan Crouch

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The Outlander PHEV is a plug-in hybrid SUV that gives Mitsubishi a real edge in this corner of the market. Jonathan Crouch reports on the revised version.

Ten Second Review

The improved Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gets a smarter look, a nicer interior and a new, more efficient 2.4-litre engine. As before, it's a plug-in hybrid that can't fail to impress. It'll get 28 miles on a full electric charge, which means that many commutes will cost pennies in energy charges. The emissions figure of 46g/km also means free London congestion charge and a minuscule benefit in kind tax bill.

Background

Prior to the launch of the Outlander PHEV in 2013, Mitsubishi wasn't really a car maker that you looked to for leadership in exploiting profitable market niches. The Japanese company was instead merely a purveyor of solid, well-priced and reliable cars that were rarely exceptional in any key regard. But the Outlander PHEV changed all of that, bringing Plug-in hybid technology to buyers at a time when rivals still had designs barely on the drawing board. As a result, this petrol/electric SUV was Europe's best selling Plug-in hybrid in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and more than 100,000 units have been sold across the continent, with 140,000 Outlander PHEVs sold worldwide. Now though, is when it gets difficult. Competitors have got their acts together and this Mitsubishi is facing ever-tougher competition in the SUV D-segment family sector where this car competes. Hence the far-reaching changes made to the revised model we're going to look at here.

Driving Experience

Mitsubishi has made far-reaching changes to this PHEV model's drivetrain. A 2.4 Atkinson cycle petrol engine with 135PS replaces the previous regular Otto cycle 2.0 litre unit. It allows for higher torque, smoother operation, and overall higher efficiency. As part of this, the generator output is increased by 10%, the rear motor output is increased by 10%, the drive battery capacity is increased by 15% and the drive battery output is increased by 10%. All significant increases. There are more driving settings too, for the 4WD system. The NORMAL and 4WD LOCK modes of previous models are joined by two additional options. A SPORT mode gives the driver more direct control. A SNOW mode provides greater confidence on snow-covered, or slippery surfaces. Otherwise, things are much as before. Drive in full electric mode and you'll feel the huge torque of the motors and be able to cruise at motorway speeds on electric power alone, although not for too far. Refinement is very good, even without the sound of an engine to drown out wind and tyre noise. There's a very handy feature included where you can request the battery holds a particular level of charge and you can also use the petrol engine as a generator, to drive battery power back up to 70 per cent of its capacity. There's also a sophisticated five-level regenerative braking system that the driver can select using the wheel-mounted paddles or what you'd otherwise take to be the gear lever.

Design and Build

This improved Outlander PHEV gets a number of subtle visual exterior improvements, such as smarter LED 'tech-look' headlamps, rectangular front fog lamp bezels, a more substantial front grille and a front centre cover skid plate. A more elaborate multi-spoke two-tone design for the 18 inch alloy wheels and the addition of a larger rear spoiler aim to give the car a sharper and more sophisticated look. Inside, the changes made try to create more of the kind of quality feeling you'd get in a German rival, highlighted by the quilted fine leather upholstery, redesigned hip-hugging front seats, smarter switchgear, a restyled instrument panel, classier trimming and rear air conditioning outlets. Moving back into the second row, there's reasonable space for two adults - or three at a squash, though taller folk may feel the need to recline back the adjustable backrests. There's no seven seat version offered, which probably won't come as a surprise, given the rearwards need to accommodate all those batteries. These sit in a floor-mounted battery pack that necessitate a reduction of 14-litres in boot space and rear legroom is a touch more pinched due to the raised floor height. The 463-litre boot is still more than adequate for most requirements and the luggage bay is well shaped.

Market and Model

Prices for the PHEV Plug-in hybrid look very competitive, starting at well under £35,000 after subtraction of a £2,500 government Plug-in Vehicle grant. Prices range all the way up to around £40,000 and there'sc a choice of three trim levels - 'Juro', '4h' and '4hs'. Expect a decently high spec to come as standard across the range. Even base variants gets niceties like 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control and cruise control. Top versions get niceties like leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a DAB radio, self-levelling LED headlights and a 360-degree camera. Safety's well covered off too, particularly near the top of the range where you get features like a 'Lane Departure Warning' system and 'Adaptive Cruise Control'. Thee's also 'Forward Collision Mitigation', one of those systems that scans the road ahead as you drive at urban speeds, looking for potential accident hazards. If one is detected, you'll be warned. If you don't respond - or aren't able to - then braking will automatically be applied to decrease the severity of any resulting accident. Finally, there's also one feature we haven't seen before - Mitsubishi's 'Unintended Acceleration Mitigation System'. This detects cars parked to your front or rear when you're starting up and, if necessary, will actually automatically brake the car to prevent accidents that might otherwise be caused by unintended acceleration. Neat.

Cost of Ownership

The WLTP test-rated combined fuel consumption figure is 139mpg - which merely serves to remind us that we have an urgent need for yet another new European fuel consumption test which more closely mirrors everyday driving conditions. Likewise, the emissions figure the Outlander PHEV records - 46g/km of CO2 (WLPT) - won't be something you'll be managing day in, day out. As an exercise in taking advantage of a flawed testing procedure, it's remarkable. This plug-in hybrid can drive for 28 miles (WLTP) on a full electric charge (for city driving, the figure is 35 miles) and can be fast charged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. This means that for some drivers, they'll be able to pop the car on charge in the evening, do the commute and bring it home without using any petrol at all. Mitsubishi reckons that if you cover more than 100 miles between charges, the diesel is going to work out more cost-effective. Charge the Outlander PHEV more frequently and the numbers swing in its favour. Residual values ought to be strong, as the trade has quite taken to the Outlander and this plug-in hybrid was the first example of its type in the sector.

Summary

As long as you get on with the styling and don't have a pressing need to seat seven people, we've got nothing but good things to say about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It's one of those rare vehicles that is massively better than you expect it to be. The calibration of the hybrid powertrain, the options it gives its driver and the sheer depth of engineering that's apparent in the way it's been built all point to a car that deserves all the acclaim it's now getting. Being first to market improves the chances of success - and so it's proved. This SUV deserves its success.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - June Neary gets to grips with Plug-in hybrid technology with Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

June Neary gets to grips with Plug-in hybrid technology with Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV

Will It Suit Me?

Switching to electric power in your car isn't as hard as I thought it might be. At least that's my conclusion after some time behind the wheel of Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV. This petrol/electric hybrid has recently been revised, giving me a good opportunity to find out just why it's been so successful on these shores.

Practicalities

The only outward difference between the diesel Outlander and the PHEV model is that the hybrid comes with just five seats, against the diesel's seven. If you can live without the extra seats, then you'll be rewarded with excellent luggage space in a well thought out cabin. Five adults will sit in comfort and the clear infotainment display works intuitively with both touch-screen and button controls. I thought that the rather elegant design of the Outlander PHEV carried enough prestige to rub shoulders with BMW and Mercedes SUV's on the school-run, and it won't look out of place outside Waitrose. The Outlander's robust nature lends itself to riding over the mild terrain that Crossover buyers may be accustomed to, such as muddy car-parks or the fringes of a farm, with two motors fulfilling the roll of the complex mechanisms required in the diesel's four-wheel drive system. Mitsubishi builds cars that can take a hammering and the Outlander PHEV feels like it will stand up to heavy duty use. Plastic abounds in large swathes across the cockpit, but is finished nicely where the occupants interact with it the most.

Behind the Wheel

The overall experience of the Outlander PHEV begins before climbing aboard, as your house becomes your personal filling station. Charging the battery at a standard 13amp socket will take about five hours. For faster charging, it's recommended that a dedicated charging point be installed at your home. If you don't have time to re-charge, topping-up with unleaded will keep you moving. The 2.4-litre petrol engine can drive the front wheels directly, saving electricity for specific areas like city centres. The revised engine allows for higher torque, smoother operation, and overall higher efficiency. Now for the tech bit: as part of this, the generator output is increased by 10%, the rear motor output is increased by 10%, the drive battery capacity is increased by 15% and the drive battery output is increased by 10%. All significant increases. There are more driving settings too, for the 4WD system. The NORMAL and 4WD LOCK modes of previous models are joined by two additional options. A SPORT mode gives the driver more direct control. A SNOW mode provides greater confidence on snow-covered, or slippery surfaces. On the move, the Outlander PHEV switches imperceptibly between pure electric drive, hybrid drive, and direct drive and a simple dial on the dashboard makes clear how power is being used at any given moment. The motor uses regenerative braking to feed additional charge back into the battery but, style. Around town this petrol/electric Mitsubishi breezes along with an addictive smoothness and a quiet hum that will soon form the underlying soundtrack of the UK's major cities. It cruises effortlessly at high speeds over long motorway miles and only on the twisty roads, or under heavy breaking, are you reminded there's a lot of extra weight on-board. All PHEV variants of the Outlander have identical performance characteristics, accelerating to 62mph in 11 seconds and topping out at 106mph. Mitsubishi claims 141.2mpg on the combined cycle WLPT test for this car and a CO2 return of just 46g/km. Driving on petrol alone, the Outlander will return around 33mpg and a full tank and charged battery should allow a driving range of about 540 miles. On electric power alone, the vehicle will cover around 28 miles on a full charge, which covers most people's daily commute.

Value For Money

So, what'll you pay for cutting edge plug-in technology in this car? It certainly helps that, rather generously, the government will put £5,000 towards the asking price, courtesy of the Plug-in car grant, that may not continue much longer. The Outlander PHEV range starts at around £30,000 (government grant contribution included) if you're happy with a lesser spec.

Could I Live With One?

I was initially a little wary of plug-in hybrid technology but quickly adapted to connecting up my car at the end of each day. What you get here is, essentially, a sensible five-seat estate car with the looks of a prestige compact SUV. And one that, for short runs at least, needn't cost you anything in fuel at all. That's a big draw for buyers and I can see why it's been so successful. Smooth, comfortable and with a good turn of pace when called for, the performance on the road stacks up against the astonishing fuel economy and financial savings to result in a thoroughly good all round vehicle. I liked it.

Trim - Part Leather

  • Artificial leather/suede - Black (£0.00)

Paint - Metallic

  • Metallic - Atlantic Grey (£550.00)
  • Metallic - Sterling silver (£550.00)
  • Metallic - Orient red (£550.00)
  • Metallic - Granite brown (£550.00)

Exterior Body Features

  • Metallic paint (£550.00)
  • Pearlescent paint (£550.00)
  • Solid paint

Paint - Pearlescent

  • Pearl - White pearl (£550.00)
  • Pearl - Amethyst black (£550.00)
  • Pearl - Ruby black (£550.00)

Paint - Solid

  • Solid - Frost white (£0.00)

General

  • Coin Series: JURO
  • Coin Description: PHEV
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 5
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 62500
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Safety Concerns?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 27E
  • Service Interval Mileage: 12500
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 177
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.4
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1

Engine and Drive Train

  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 88
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 97
  • CC: 2360
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • Gears: 1 SPEED

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: True
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Combined (mpg): 156.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 141.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min: 141.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max: 141.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min: 2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max: 2

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 10.5
  • Top Speed: 106
  • Engine Power - BHP: 177
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Power - KW: 130
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 245
  • Engine Torque - NM: 332
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 33.9

Weight and Capacities

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1880
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2390
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 45
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1500
  • Max. Loading Weight: 510
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Roof Load: 80
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.6

Tyres

  • Tyre Size Front: 225/55 R18
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/55 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 18" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Length: 4695
  • Width: 1800
  • Wheelbase: 2670
  • Width (including mirrors): N
  • Height: 1710
  • Height (including roof rails): N

Emissions - ICE

  • CO2 (g/km): 40
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N

Fuel Economy

  • 156.9 MPG (Combined)
Fuel Tank Size: 45 Litres

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