Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is described by the Japanese car company as being the first production plug-in hybrid electric SUV in the world.
It can run on battery power alone, in petrol mode, or a combination of both, and like all of this type of vehicles, it is eerily quiet, smooth and full of strong torque. When first started, it is totally silent, and only a message on the dashboard – Ready – indicates that the engine is running.
It differs from other electric vehicles currently on the market, that the battery can be charged from a 15 amp power point, or alternatively by the petrol engine while driving. The downside of the second option is that a charge consumes 3 litres of petrol, reducing the fuel saving capacity of the car.
Driven in the petrol/hybrid mode, fuel consumption, which had previously in the all-electric mode, sitting at zero, gradually started to rise and fifty kilometres later was sitting at around three litres per hundred kilometres.
When run without the aid of ‘free’ electricity by way of a power socket, the Mitsubishi petrol engine consumed around six to seven litres per hundred kilometres, mainly on open road running. In other words – that’s about what you would expect from a turbo-diesel engine in similar circumstances.
The power plant offers a 2.0 litre petrol engine and two 60 kW electric motors, linked to a single-speed automatic transmission, and AWD option.
Switched to AWD, the Mitsubishi handled conditions in the manner of real 4WD, with strong torque courtesy of the electric motors, good traction and reasonably sharp angles. While it is a little on the low side and occasionally scraped underneath at times.
The Outlander PHEV offers a well provided standard package, including power windows and mirrors, push button start, climate control, sound system, reverse camera, Sat-Nav, auto wipers and headlights, alloy wheels and adaptive cruise control.
The cabin also boasts well designed seats, ample storage spaces and some other nice touches including a generously-sized and well laid-out driver info screen.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV really is a vehicle for all conditions, a genuine petrol-electric SUV that will meet the needs of many owners. It certainly introduces the next evolution in motor cars and is a glimpse of what will gradually expect to see in showrooms in coming years.
But, price is still a big issue. Starting at $52,490, that’s a full $9000 above the petrol only version of the Outlander.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre petrol producing 87kW and 186 Nm and two electric motors front and rear
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $52,490