Latest report: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV long-term test
08 April 2019
Author: Rachel Boagey
The latest Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV joins the Business Car fleet and we assess whether it has what it takes to be a good fleet choice.
|18in alloy wheels, smartphone link display audio, dual zone climate control, LED headlamps with auto levelling, black leather seats, keyless operation system, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, 360-degree parking camera, Bluetooth with music streaming, DAB digital radio, front seat heaters, heated steering wheel, cruise control, front passenger seat ISOFIX child seat mounting, second row ISOFIX child seat mountings (x2), power tailgate. eight-way electric drivers seat, Apple Carplay support, Android Auto support, heated windscreen, engine start/stop button, leather steering wheel, dusk-sensing headlights, LED daytime running lights|
|Colour Sterling Silver Metallic (£550)|
Update 2: The big green petrol machine
With an official range of around 28 miles, it is quite easy to begin to question whether there is enough electric range available in the Outlander PHEV to make any sense in the real world.
Don't get me wrong; if like me you use the car purely for short hops to the supermarket and a 40-mile trip to the office, during which you barely dip into the petrol and religiously charge it up in-between, you will wonder why you didn't have a PHEV before. Those situations are when the Outlander PHEV definitely makes sense.
The doubts emerge when you want to go any further than that. On its current mileage of 2,120, its electric-only range has varied between 12 and 27 miles, depending heavily on the weather, might I add. I used it for an evening drive home from the office on a very cold Thursday and barely ten miles into the M25 stretch of the commute my eyes were diverted to the almost empty gauge after a full charge was completed just half an hour before.
It is times like these on long motorway slogs when the electric drains very quickly when driving fast and so does the petrol in the 2.4-litre tank, meaning lots of stops at motorway service stations. You know exactly when the switch to petrol happens too, as the turbocharged engine suddenly (and loudly) roars to life. On its newly rated WLTP cycle statistics, the Outlander PHEV emits around 40g/km on a combined cycle, which is surprisingly low and has also been quite accurate so far on average when running on mostly electric.
I have recently adopted the habit of pushing the 'save' and 'charge' button to see how much electric I can regenerate while driving on petrol. This activates series hybrid mode, where the engine runs to charge the battery providing power to the wheels. It doesn't seem to have had too much of an effect on the mpg of the petrol engine so far, and it is still averaging 38mpg, even with this mode activated almost every time I have a full tank of petrol.
I'll look forward to seeing how the mpg changes when I do longer motorway runs on petrol alone.
First report: Great all-rounder?
It is easy to forget that Mitsubishi pioneered an electric car long before it was fashionable and it subsequently added a plug to its family SUV, providing an electric option with its biggest seller.
And there is a lot to like about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which is why we were more than happy to welcome it onto the Business Car fleet recently, and I was happy to be the one plugging an electric car into my motoring journo lifestyle.
With the onset of winter and talk of snow on the weather forecast (even down south), I am rather excited to have four-wheel drive, and I am also interested in experiencing the promise of guilt-free short drives and managing charging on longer ones.
The Outlander PHEV's big selling point of course is its hybrid powertrain and a lot has changed in this latest version. Where there was once a 2.0-litre petrol engine, now there is a 2.4-litre unit. The rear electric motor, the battery and the generator are all stronger, and the software that integrates all of this has been updated too. These updates mean the car is closer to the expectations of businesses who want to do their bit in helping the environment, not to mention save themselves some pennies due to its exemption from the London Congestion Charge and very low rates of company car tax - how long this will last remains to be seen, however.
"The rear electric motor, the battery and the generator are all stronger."
This Outlander holds enough charge to drive for around 28 miles with zero emissions. So far we have found that the best way to make the most of the battery economy is around town, where you can spend almost the whole time whizzing around without even rousing the petrol engine. On first impressions, and doing a couple of drives back and forth to the airport, it is clear that the electric engine quickly falls flat at high speeds, not to mention cool temperatures. Luckily, when the battery is depleted or you just want to go further, the petrol engine kicks in to save the day.
The boot is a decent size, albeit not as big as you would get in the Skoda Kodiaq. The reason for this is that the rear of the car houses the batteries and electric motor, resulting in around 25% less capacity. We will do a few more airport runs over the next few months in order to decide whether this is really a problem worth sacrificing a hybrid engine to solve, though.
The question I'm really looking to answer in my six-month custodianship of this car is whether the petrol-electric hybrid bit of the equation makes any sense in the real world, and ultimately if we'd recommend putting one of these onto your fleet. Watch this space.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4h 2.4-litre petrol hybrid auto 4WD
P11D price £39,445
As tested £39,995
Official consumption 159.5mpg
Our average consumption 39mpg