Mitsubishi Outlander

PHEV 4h 2.4 Auto

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, profile, static
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, front, dynamic
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, rear, static
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, on charge
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, driver display
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, interior
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, boot

IT has taken a while but, with the technology fast improving and more and more models hitting showrooms, electric cars have finally caught the imagination of United Kingdom motorists.

Statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in April 2019 revealed that ownership of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) increased by almost 30 per cent last year, with more than 620,000 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric cars now in use.

In the case of plug-in models specifically, there are now 195,000 on British roads, an increase of nearly 77 per cent over the previous 12 months.

One car which has been a driving force behind that surge in interest is Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV - the amped-up SUV that had an immediate impact when it launched in 2014.

The previous year fewer than 1,000 plug-in hybrids were sold in the UK - but by the end of 2014 Mitsubishi had sold more than 10,000 Outlander PHEVs.

Global sales passed 200,000 earlier this year and, despite a growing number of competitors, the Outlander has been Europe's best selling plug-in hybrid for the past four years and remains the best-selling plug-in vehicle - hybrid or fully electric - in the UK.

Powered by a 2.4-litre petrol engine in conjunction with electric motors on both front and rear axles, it offers up to 28 miles of electric-only motoring on a full charge, which can be achieved in five hours using a domestic socket.

Theoretically, therefore, if your daily commute was less than that you could get through the working week, charging the Outlander every night, and not use a drop of petrol - making visits to the pumps a rare event.

As with official mpg figures, though, the mileage and range stats for plug-in hybrid vehicles are open to considerable variation.

Using creature comforts such as the heating or air conditioning, for instance, will have an impact on the electric range as will driving this motor at anywhere near the 84mph which it can achieve on battery power alone. And once the charge is depleted and you're running on old school carbon fuels the Outlander is no more economical than any other 4x4 weighing more than two tonnes.

That said, the official fuel consumption (139mpg) and carbon emissions (46g/km) figures the Outlander can claim thanks to its hybrid capabilities offer attractive savings in taxation, especially to business users, regardless of how accurate they actually are.

There is also the fact that driving even for a few miles a week on electric power will have a positive impact on individual and collective carbon footprints - something which the boom in sales of AFVs proves is becoming important to more of us.

And when you can do your bit for the environment but still drive around in a five-seat SUV with all-wheel drive capability and enough space for the family, it's all the better.

Driving around in the Outlander is a pretty enjoyable experience too. Given it's high-tech powertrain, operation is simple and straightforward if you let the car decide for itself when to use electric or petrol power, or a combination of both.

Progress is smooth and remains impressively hushed when the 2.4-litre powerpack kicks in and the light power steering makes manoeuvring this sizeable chunk of metal and batteries relatively easy even in busy car parks.

Five trim levels are available, priced from £36,755, and all come with decent equipment. Our 4h test car is one step up from entry-level versions and has all you'll really need, including leather upholstery, heated front seats with electric adjustment for the driver, 360-degree camera, dual-zone air conditioning, eight-inch touchscreen interface, powered tailgate, cruise control and blind sport warning.

It's a little surprising that no models get navigation but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included across the range so you can link your smartphone to the screen to find your way around.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4h 2.4 Auto

Price: £39,500

Mechanical: 135ps, 2,360cc, 4cyl petrol engine and dual electric motors driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 106mph

0-62mph: 10.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 139

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 46g/km

Bik rating: 16%

Warranty: 5yrs/62,500 miles

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