Outlander PHEV 4hs
dual power sources of
hybridised electric and conventional
boasts a headline-grabbing
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN the Outlander PHEV is bought only by those keen to
do their bit to save the planet. Being both a 'green' and fully-fledged
SUV it also makes an ideal family motor.
Looking more like a large and sharply-dressed estate car, albeit a high-riding
one, the latest Outlander sports a highly distinctive front-end with a sleek
grille and equally sleek LED headlights, all emphasised by some eye-catching
chrome-rich architectural detailing. The glasshouse roof is topped-off by a
large roof spoiler while the tail benefits from a lack of visible tailpipes
and rear light clusters that wrap around into the rear wings. The flanks are
lean and clean, with the precise arcs of the wheelarches wrapped around multi-spoke
18-inch alloy wheels.
Few users understand the technology behind their iPhone; they just know what
screen icons to press. Likewise, PHEV users don't need to grapple with the seriously
clever technology that makes the Outlander's high-tech hybridised powertrain
tick. Besides, finding out what buttons to push to get the best out of it is
as easy as ABC.
of all, the Outlander's hybrid drivetrain self-governs admirably, switching
seamlessly and automatically between each of its three drive modes as and when
needed. Most of the time the two electric motors (delivering, respectively,
80bhp at the front axle and 93bhp at the rear for variable all-wheel drive)
are driving the wheels powered by the battery pack beneath the boot floor, with
the petrol engine acting as an onboard generator to keep the battery pack charged.
the technology behind
their iPhone; they just
know what screen
icons to press.
Likewise, PHEV users
dont need to grapple
with the seriously clever
technology that makes
the Outlanders high-tech
tick because the
each of its drive
modes as and when
The PHEV powertrain responds well to the throttle, delivering crisp volt-fuelled
performance thanks to the 'instant' hit of torque from the electric motors
unlike combustion engines they don't need to build up power with revs but deliver
their maximum output instantly.
Acceleration is smooth and refined, particularly in Sport mode, and when it's
active (contributing drive to the front axle, notably when accelerating and
at motorway cruising speeds) the upsized 2.4-litre petrol engine makes for determined
yet unruffled progress, serving up zero to 62mph in 10.5-seconds and running
on to a 106mph top speed more than enough for the UK's legal limit.
Should you decide to glide along in soothingly silent pure-electric mode then
you can and at speed of up to 84mph. In this 'EV Priority' mode the Outlander
is powered by both the front and rear electric motors using energy sourced from
the battery pack. Should you wish to save your battery charge for, say, a city
part of your trip, just press the Save button; alternately, pressing the Charge
button starts the petrol engine charging the battery pack.
Next up is the 'Series Hybrid' mode which is automatically activated whenever
some extra muscle is called for; accelerating hard, driving up a steep hill
or when the battery pack is down to its last few minutes of charge. In this
mode the front and rear motors are still powering all four wheels but the 133bhp/155lb
ft petrol engine will kick in to boost the battery. If there's enough juice
in the battery pack to manage without any petrol engine help the system switches
back to EV Priority mode.
Finally there is 'Parallel Hybrid' mode. In this setting the petrol engine powers
the front wheels (while simultaneously charging the battery) in partnership
with the front electric motor while the rear motor powers the rear wheels. Again,
the system reverts to Series Hybrid or EV Priority mode as much as possible.
This Parallel Hybrid mode is automatically activated at high speed.
The driver can override these self-selected modes by locking the PHEV in electric-only
mode which, providing the battery pack is fully charged, will allow it to cover
up to 35 in-town miles. For many users this will be perfectly fine as they're
likely using it to commute into cities that, sometime in the not too distant
future, will be barring all but zero-emitting vehicles from their streets. The
good news is that your Outlander will never be 'outlawed'.
those able to restrict their journeys to, say, 25-or-so-mile runs, and then
recharge the battery pack from either the mains (via a domestic 13-amp socket:
five hours for a full charge) or a public fast-charging point (to 80% in just
25 minutes!), motoring will be cheap indeed. Remember, if there's nowhere to
charge the system's fallback is to charge itself using the petrol engine. All
of which means total peace of mind because you'll never be stranded with a flat
battery. Goodbye 'range anxiety'!
those able to limit
their journeys to 25-or-so
miles and then recharge
the battery pack from
either the mains or
a public fast-charging
point, motoring will be
cheap indeed. Remember, if theres
nowhere to charge, the
systems fallback is
to charge itself using the
petrol engine. All of
which means total peace
of mind because youll
never be stranded with
a flat battery...
During driving the charge can also be boosted by the regenerative braking that
'harvests' energy every time you lift off the accelerator. Again, you can leave
this to the plug-in's AI to oversee or you can flick the gear-selector into
its B position for regenerative braking or use the paddle-shifters on the steering
wheel to select any of the six intensity levels for the harvesting: with a strong
setting,lifting off will also slow the car effectively providing 'engine
braking' when descending steep hills on or off road. If this all sounds daunting,
it's not because unless you choose to assert control everything is done for
you with no fuss.
Now, about that headline 139mpg... If its über-economy you're after then you
must plug-in at every opportunity. Kept in EV mode and using the Outlander for
trips of 28-35 miles between 3-pin plug charge-ups from the domestic mains sees
the Outlander using virtually no petrol at all (which is better even than 139mpg)
and is the secret to accessing the plug-in's sweet spot.
Driving more spiritedly and keeping up with traffic (so using the petrol engine
as well as the electric motors), but with mains charge-ups only as and when
we could get back to base, the overall mpg figures were still impressive
55.1mpg. Few owners running a large automatic 4x4 SUV (using either straight
diesel or petrol) would dare complain about that.
Climb in and settle behind the wheel and you'll immediately feel relaxed and
at ease the commanding driving position provides a fine view over the
bonnet and a regular-shaped rear screen and three deep windows per side makes
for excellent all-round visibility. The improved seats are satisfyingly supportive,
particularly around the shoulders, and the bolstering is good but not overdone
so it's easy to get out again at your destination; the leather feels good to
the touch and both the driver and passenger benefit from height-adjustable belts
and two-stage seat heating. The driver goes one up and gets powered seat adjustment.
The cabin is spacious with plenty of room in all directions from the
footwells, where there's ample room to allow driving in boots, up to your head
(even a six-foot driver will have very generous headroom), and the broad centre
tunnel ensures plenty of space between the front seats, so the wide centre armrest
can be shared with no nudging.
fascia is dominated by a large central panel housing the infotainment touchscreen
(set at the same height as the revised driver's instrument cluster so it's easy
to switch your gaze between them and quickly back to the road with minimal distraction),
underscored by the dual-zone climate controls.
in and settle
behind the heated wheel
and youll immediately
feel relaxed and
at ease the
position provides a fine
view over the bonnet
and a regular-shaped rear
screen and three deep
windows per side makes
for excellent all-round
The improved seats are
particularly around the
shoulders, and the
bolstering is good but
not overdone so it's easy
to get out again at your
The heated, leather-wrapped wheel is multifunction (media, voice, phone, cruise,
speed limiter) and you won't need to read the handbook to work out what does
what. The instrument panel's two dials one for charging information;
the other a trad-look speedo are crystal clear and set either side of
a multimode driver's information display.
Entry is keyless with a Stop/Start button conveniently sited on the dash. Close
to your left thigh is the joystick-style selector lever and various drive mode
switches. Looking at the seven-inch touchscreen you won't, unfortunately, find
an inbuilt navigation system with more and more drivers using a linked
smartphone to get navigation directions optimised for traffic conditions, Mitsubishi
have gone with the flow. Some, us included, would still prefer a built-in SatNav
but c'est la vie!
That noted, smartphone connectivity is a doddle with Apple CarPlay and Android
Auto both standard and, of course, it's simple to make and receive calls, access
text messages and listen to music safely while driving. Also standard is remote
smartphone App compatibility, Bluetooth, and a DAB digital radio.
In-cabin storage will cope with a family's odds and ends and includes a real-world
glovebox, large storage bin under the front central armrest, and bottle-holding
front door pockets and now that a regular shot of caffeine is officially
good for you the indispensable cupholders to go with your habit.
The PHEV comes in five trim levels and the popular middle-range '4hs' spec comes
very well equipped. Standard kit, in addition to all that mentioned elsewhere,
includes dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, reversing
camera (with a standard rear-looking as well as a 360-degree bird's-eye view
of the Outlander and its surrounding), electronic parking brake with auto hold,
electric pre-heater, privacy glass (from the B-pillars back), heated powerfolding
door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving), an auto-dimming
rearview mirror and, naturally, power windows.
Safety and driver 'assists' start with a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating and
a full set of airbags (including one for the driver's knee), Forward Collision
Mitigation with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter,
blind-spot and lane departure warnings, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, auto lights
and wipes, LED headlamps with auto levelling, LED daytime running lamps, LED
front fogs, automatic high beam switching, a heated windscreen, and tyre pressure
those wanting a competent SUV the 4.7-metre Outlander offers space and practicality,
and with a 2,670mm wheelbase the cabin is extremely accommodating. Those travelling
in the middle row sit about six inches higher than those in front but still
enjoy generous headroom. Plenty of knee- and leg-room, multi-adjustable backrests
and comfy seats along with a large centre armrest with built-in cupholders plus
well-sited outer armrests make it all the more inviting and most definitely
a place for some Strictly Come Lounging.
2019 the Outlander's suspension, steering, brakes, all-wheel drive and hybrid
powertrain have all been fettled. Rise-wise, improved body control and new damping
definitely make it feel more compliant and comfortable; it helps, too, that
in-cabin refinement is good with well suppressed road and wind noise, and that
it cruises motorways confidently and quietly.
it has permanent
all-wheel drive along
with 190mm ground
clearance, effective off-
road angles and a 400mm
the Outlander PHEV will
take you safely off the
Off-road you can trust the
drivetrains brain to
manage the traction for
you. Theres also a Lock
mode for the 4x4 that
makes pulling a caravan
or trailer (up to a braked
1,500kg) both safer
A stronger bodyshell provides a better base for the suspension to do its business
and, combined with the upgraded all-wheel drive system, makes for decent cornering
poise and sure-footed traction. Add to that a quicker steering rack with accurate
turn-in and beefed-up braking and you have a well-resolved package delivering
reassuring handling dynamics whether you're driving alone or chauffeuring your
Given it has permanent all-wheel drive along with 190mm ground clearance, effective
off-road angles (approach: 21.0° / breakover: 19.0° / departure: 22.5°) and
a 400mm wading depth, the Outlander PHEV will take you safely off the beaten
track. Again, as when you're on the blacktop in tricky low-grip weather conditions
(a Snow driving mode is just a button-press away) you can trust the drivetrain's
'brain' to manage the traction for you when you're far from the tarmac. As you
might expect, there's also a Lock mode for the 4x4 that makes pulling a caravan
or trailer (up to a braked 1,500kg) both safer and easier.
A powered tailgate (opens/closes via the dash button as well as the key) makes
for easy access to the boot. Even with the battery pack secreted away under
the floor in the back, the boot still offers up 463 litres along with a further
35 litres in an underfloor cargo box. Drop the fold-flat 60:40-split rear seats
and you'll triple that to a van-like 1,602-litre loadbay with a seamless and
totally flat floor.
Although the Outlander PHEV is a genuine 4x4, plugging-in is more important
than mud-plugging plug-in regularly and you'll reap impressive financial
savings on your running costs. Added to that is the smart upgraded cabin, sure-footed
all-wheel drive handling and notably more polished driveability. And if you're
using it to move your family around, there's nothing quite like it for the money.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4hs
Maximum speed: 106mph | 0-62mph: 10.5 seconds | Test Average: 55.1mpg
Power: 221bhp | CO2: 40g/km