THE Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has taken the European market by storm and in the four years since it was launched, 100,000 sales have been notched up.
The UK is the car's biggest fan-base accounting for more than 34,000 units and despite the pressure from rival manufacturers and the constant stream of new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the Outlander remains the one to catch.
With that in mind, we tried the latest model in mid-range 4h trim level costing £36,955 and the SUV lived up to all the hype.
Powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine assisted by two 60kW motors, the Outlander PHEV can reach 62mph from a standing start 11.0 seconds and maxes out at 106mph.
According to official figures the combined fuel economy is 166.2mpg with carbon emissions of 41g/km. Realistically, those mpg figures would only be achieved if the car was plugged in daily and used for short commutes, but in real driving terms, the car is still highly efficient.
It looks imposing from any angle thanks to its upright body style, complemented by smart 18-inch alloys, LED headlamps with auto levelling, an electric sunroof, LED daytime running lights, front LED fog lamps and a powered tailgate.
Move inside and the car is charmingly designed with a perfect blend of upmarket and practical features to explore. There is full leather upholstery, heated seats, an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated steering wheel, Bluetooth with music streaming, a DAB digital radio, colour touchscreen, 360-degree parking camera and dual zone climate control.
But with practicality in mind, the Outlander offers on-demand four-wheel drive so it can confidently venture off road and the interior, while being stylish and upmarket, has lots of wipe-clean and sturdy surfaces.
There are some PHEV-specific readouts and controls to explore too. For example, there is an EV priority mode which means the car will run on electric power until it runs out of juice.
Then there is a Charge and Save mode whereby you can use the petrol engine to boost the EV charge levels. Finally, the regenerative braking can assist with charging the battery on the move.
When it comes to performance, the Outlander PHEV is most accomplished. It cruises effortlessly along at quite a click and the acceleration is smooth and responsive.
Admittedly, it's not the most dynamic SUV on offer, but the all-round driving experience is good.
The road-holding is assured meaning the car can confidently be driven into bends at pace and the cabin is well insulated against road, engine or wind noise.
Another plus factor is the efficient suspension system which smooths out all but the biggest bumps and potholes along the way.
Charging the car depends on the power source. For example, it can be boosted to 80 per cent in just 25 minutes from a fast charger, but a standard three-pin plug will see that time increase to five hours.
Comfort levels within the car are excellent and the Outlander PHEV can easily accommodate four adults - five if the back-seat passengers don't mind rubbing shoulders.
And storage options are thorough too with a boot capacity ranging from 463 to 1,602 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
There are cup holders, an illuminated glovebox, a centre console box, under-floor luggage compartments, a sunglasses holder and, on some models, a reversible boot mat that is standard carpet one side, but a washable rubber the other so carrying muddy boots won't be an issue.
Safety systems on the car are comprehensive too and it has achieved the maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP rating. Features include anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, hill start assist, four-wheel drive, Mitsubishi's RISE body shell (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) and numerous airbags.
Additional driver aids include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, dusk sensing headlights and plenty more besides.