Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV
Price £34,304 - £45,554
- Cheap for a hybrid
- Exempt from road tax
- Excellent fuel economy
- Batteries reduce boot space
- Looks same as standard Outlander
- Conventional model is better to drive
At a glance
"The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a hybrid that's capable of seriously impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures."
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is no ordinary family 4x4. It's a petrol-electric hybrid, which means it's powered by a petrol engine and electric motors. The front wheels are driven by a conventional 2.0-litre petrol engine plus an electric motor and the rear wheels are turned by another electric motor.
Most of the time, the petrol engine works like a generator recharging the on-board batteries that power the electric motors. Electrical power is also generated when the vehicle brakes or decelerates. When more power is needed, perhaps for overtaking, or when the batteries run low, the engine also drives the front wheels. At high speeds, the engine provides most of the power.
The Outlander is also capable of running on electric power alone for up to 32 miles. If your journeys are short and the engine has had little opportunity to recharge the batteries, they can be fully recharged from a domestic electrical power socket in five hours. This falls to three-and-half hours using a special charger or as little as 30 minutes using a rapid charger, although this is only to 80% capacity.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV can return up to 148mpg, although in real-world driving you can expect more like 50mpg or as much as 90mpg if your mix of journeys includes a higher proportion of electric-only driving. Either way, these are impressive figures for a large 4x4. Not only that, the model also has zero road tax.
Also impressive is the Outlander's price. Once you’ve deducted the government's £5,000 grant for plug-in electric vehicles, the PHEV costs around the same as an Mitsubishi Outlander diesel.
The Outlander PHEV has few direct rivals, but could be regarded as an SUV alternative to the long-established Toyota Prius hatchback. Being four-wheel drive, the Outlander PHEV is also good in slippery conditions and a reasonable tow car – still more factors in its favour. Its batteries are stored under the floor, so it's as spacious as the diesel version, too, with a good-sized boot.
Mitsubishi cars have a good reputation for reliability and the company has a lot of experience making electric vehicles. For peace of mind, the Outlander PHEV's electrical components are covered by a five-year/62,500-mile warranty. The model was awarded the maximum five-star rating by crash test body Euro NCAP and also has multiple airbags and electronic stability control.
With prices starting under £30,000 and low fuel bills, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is cheap to buy and run
Clever Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV never feels quick, but silent electric running is novel
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is quieter than the conventional car, but the interior is a bit drab
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s hybrid technology barely harms practicality
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is very safe and should be reliable