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Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid now even more clean-cut

07:12 19 February 2016

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gets refreshed styling and even better economy and emissions performance.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gets refreshed styling and even better economy and emissions performance.

PA

The UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid last year was the Mitsubishi Outlander, but now there’s improved version. Matt Joy drives it.

What’s new?

It’s a good time for all types of electric cars as diesel is going through some dark days, plus the crucial infrastructure is getting better all the time. No wonder then Mitsubishi Outlander’s is so popular – the UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and one of the most practical.

Now there’s a substantially revised version with changes to the powertrain operation, suspension and interior and exterior design. Equipment levels have been given a boost too and crucially the Outlander PHEV remains eligible for the government grant which halves to £2,500 at the end of this month.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Price: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GX4hs £35,999 after £5,000 government grant (range £29,249 to £40,999 after grant)

Powertrain: 2.0-litre petrol engine plus twin electric motors producing 200bhp

Transmission: CVT automatic gearbox driving all four wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 11 seconds; top speed 106mph

MPG: 156 combined

CO2 emissions: 42g/km

Looks and image

The previous Outlander had all the sport utility vehicle design cues but it looked unusually tall for its length. That was something taken on by Mitsubishi because the new Outlander is longer than before thanks to redesigned front and rear bumpers. The new design is sharper too, giving the Outlander a more distinctive face and boosting the feeling of quality with revised lights and alloy wheel designs.

Space and practicality

The Outlander sits comfortably in the mid-sized SUV segment and is well equipped to offer useful space for passengers and luggage. The high driving position is appealing with a low-set dashboard offering a good view out, with more than sufficient head and legroom. It’s also spacious in the back, while boot space is 463 litres – a little less than some rivals because of the extra electrical hardware.

Behind the wheel

The underlying hardware of the Outlander PHEV is as before – electric motors front and rear combining with a 2.0-litre petrol engine to give a variety of hybrid modes. You can use the petrol engine as a range-extender or as direct drive to the wheels, and run the batteries to give a power boost or save their output for pure electric mode. One change is the sharpening of the system response at low speeds, cutting the 0-25mph time by half.

Retuned suspension, with stiffer underpinnings, creates a more composed ride while the handling is safe and secure for a car of this size and shape. But the Outlander PHEV’s biggest appeal is the flexibility of its powertrain, offering sufficiently brisk performance when needed alongside super-frugal economy in the right conditions.

Value for money

It’s currently priced the same as the equivalent diesel version with the £5,000 government grant included – but that drops to £2,500 on March 1 – which means you can sneak into the GX3h model for £29,249 and get 18in alloys, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth and a decent audio system, with a few extra toys thrown in for this latest model. Go for the GX4hs at £35,999 and you also get sat-nav with reversing camera, powered tailgate, radar cruise control and even a heated steering wheel.

Who would buy one?

If there’s a car for the moment then the Outlander PHEV is pretty much it. It’s practical, comfortable and usable, making it ideal for family car duties, yet the higher-specification versions feel reasonably luxurious. But it’s the potential for zero emissions running and spectacular fuel consumption over short journeys that makes it such an appealing prospect.

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