Mitsubishi Outlander

finds inner space

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2015, front
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2015, side
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2015, rear
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2015, interior
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2015, charging point

WITHOUT a doubt our very own Captain Kirk, Tim Peake, is the most important thing to be fired into space since England last lost a penalty shoot-out.

For a start he is a most personable chap, chipper and very straight of spine, clearly showing the Russian commander the correct deportment when boarding a Cold War vintage roman candle to be blasted into possible oblivion.

He even went along with the jolly jape which covers for a lack of ablution facilities aboard a Soyuz craft by ‘christening' the rear wheel of the delivery vehicle, said to be a custom started by Yuri Gagarin but really dating back to Laika the space dog.

On top of that he seems very friendly and I am assured that he tries to give each of us a cheery wave whenever the ISS passes over the UK.

Now he has shown true Brit by leaving the station armed with a toothbrush to repair a faulty power unit before sunrise hit the solar panels. Obviously the ISS is fully electrical and with the forecast for colder weather the lads can't huddle around a wood burner so a bit of rewiring was pretty essential.

Had this been a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV the crew could have relaxed until after the end of Celebrity Pointless because the petrol engine will always generate enough juice for the telly while powering the air conditioning. Then as soon as the mains supply is back on it can be plugged in and fully charged up.

And therein lies the rub with cable fed hybrids. You have the two options but for maximum range and economy the car really needs to be plugged in at night, not least because the range on petrol alone is greatly reduced over a diesel Outlander. It will recharge from the engine but painfully slowly.

So why buy one? Well obviously, despite an initial hefty £40,000 price tag for the two-litre automatic in GX5hs spec, you will save money on fuel and by not paying any road tax. Similarly as a business user benefit in kind punishment is painless. Oh, and should you be of the mind set, you are innocent of Terracide.

Okay but is it any good? Most definitely yes. Without resorting to the agricultural brutishness of a Shogun, the Outlander has the space and ability for most off-road callings. I took it shooting in the pre-Christmas great flood and we came away unscathed.

What helps in the rough is having two motors, one driving the front wheels and one the back. A word of concern, however. Ground clearance is not fantastic and a quick peep underneath showed cabling which may not enjoy contact with rocky terrain. Just saying.

On the road this is a relaxed car with reasonable performance - 62mph comes up in 11 seconds - and fully charged has a potential mpg of 146. Yes you read that right. Smoothness is a given and obviously in electric mode you can enjoy total silence.

Mitsubishi is not famed for padded luxury in its cabins and the Outlander, while fully leathered, has surfaces arguably too hard for a car this expensive. On the other hand this brings with it practicality.

In fact with acres of interior space and a large boot it is one of the most practical cars of its type and remember there are seven seats in here.

There is plenty of equipment for both safety and comfort. The GX4 has lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and anti-collision pack. This may not be the most exciting interior but that is not to say the list of electricals is wanting. Heated leather seats, reversing camera, sunroof, sat-nav and powered tailgate are all standard features.

Until someone comes up with a better idea the Outlander PHEV is a good way to combine petrol, electric and 4x4 which in turn brings with it reduced running costs and zero taxation.

Quite logical really, Jim. A hybrid but not as we know it.

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