Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Week ending: August 29
Miles driven this week: 96
Read the full review of the Mitsubishi Outlander
I had the chance to borrow Nigel's long term Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV last week to ferry the kids to and from summer camp. I was glad of the PHEV's bus-like size and feel when I had to cram three of them in the back.
My eldest got the short straw by sitting between his younger brother and his friend, and I was surprised to hear him say he felt squashed. The other two were in booster seats.
I ended up getting him to sit up front with me on the drive home from camp, although that meant he could reach all the buttons. This created a barrage of excited ramblings, such as 'what does this one do?' and 'look, mum, this one opens the sunroof', as I manoeuvred the PHEV through narrow urban streets.
I was glad of the brilliant parking cameras – otherwise I would have had to park a few streets away from my house, necessitating a long walk for the kids which wouldn't have gone down very well.
Week ending: August 22
Miles driven this week: 238
This week the PHEV turned tow-car again – this time to trailer a broken weekend project car for some TLC and an MoT in Norfolk.
It left London with a full charge from the wall socket and just made it from Richmond to the bottom of the M11 without so much as lighting a spark plug (about 23 miles), despite carrying another car on its back.
The adaptive cruise control then took care of the motorway mileage, along with the Outlander’s ‘make you reach for it a little bit’ coffee-cup holder. Pressing the 'charge' mode button behind the gearlever returned some energy to those empty batteries, ready for the smaller A-roads that arrived as we headed into the Fens.
So, on the way back, a test: could we get enough juice back into the PHEV's batteries by the time we ran out of M11, to get around the North Circular on electric power alone?
Yes, just – as you can see by what was left on our return.
By Paul Regan
Week ending: August 15
Miles driven this week: 1479
Not having had much experience of electric cars, I elected to drive the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV back from a recent photo shoot in South Wales. It’s had a busy week, being part of an upcoming group test. Pulling onto the main road was a novel sensation, as the car serenely glided off with no gearshifts and almost no noise.
The first half of the journey passed without incident as I explored the different driving modes offered by the twin-motor set up. Engaging maximum regenerative mode means that you effectively only need to use the accelerator; you can modulate your speed simply by lifting off.
About 90 miles into the 160 mile drive, the PHEV was flashing lights and wailing sirens to tell me I’d exhausted both the petrol and battery power. Having put a splash of fuel in, thinking it’d be plenty to get me back to the office, I was surprised that by the time I arrived back, the sirens and lights had once again begun predicting doom.
The motorway, it seems, is not the PHEV’s natural habitat. Which is a shame considering the low-mounted battery-pack means it feels more stable than its diesel counterpart. Around town, where you can keep it in electric-only mode, it makes a lot more sense, silently wafting you around with reasonable low-speed comfort.
By Michael Vousden
Week ending: August 6
Miles driven this week: 64
I first drove the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV a few months back, when it was launched. Last weekend I got a chance to reacquaint myself with it, taking it out, four-up with the family, here, there and almost everywhere.
The first point of note was the peace of mind a plug-in hybrid delivers – there's no need for range anxiety, because the engine is always there to kick in and get you to your destination.
Yet on an electric range testing 30-mile round trip to Wisley Gardens (exciting, I know), I became irrationally concerned that I might use some fuel. If there's such a thing as reverse range-anxiety this was it, and as I accelerated like a snail to preserve charge I became a minor nuisance for other road users.
Yet more frustrating was the fact that Wisley claims to have two electric chargers on site. If I'd been able to find them (as far as I could see, there are no signposts in the vast car park) and access them, my journey home would have been easy.
That said, when I asked at the entry desk about their whereabouts, I was told I'd need to pay a deposit to get the card to access them, which would have meant parking, walking to the desk to get the charge card, back to plug in the car, and then back to the entry desk. Having an electric charging infrastructure is just one part of the challenge – making it easy to use is another it seems.
I made it home without too much drama in the end, charged up and went about my business the next day on electric power too. All in, I covered around 60 miles for a few pence of electricity, which was rather satisfying, especially in a car big enough to carry my family and their collective bits and pieces with ease.
Downsides? There are a few. The Outlander PHEV is a slow car to make progress in, even if you aren't trying to save electricity. The ride is brittle, not helped I suspect by the battery weight, and the steering is as uninvolving as I've experienced. It is not a loveable car – but it is unique (for now) in doing what it does.
No surprises, then, that the PHEV is currently riding high in the hybrid sales charts, taking number one spot for all cars that qualify for the governments electric car grant of up to £5000. It may not be perfect, but it has an appealing niche all to itself.
By Jim Holder
Week ending August 1
Miles driven 85
Often with plug-in hybrid cars, you end up doing some mental maths to work out whether or not the many compromises outweigh the benefits in terms of running costs and so on. The PHEV has its fair share of compromises. Ride quality isn’t the finest, it isn’t the most dynamic thing to drive and while it has a great deal of kit, many rivals have nicer cabins.
There is one thing that is very hard to fault however. You genuinely could buy a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for its practicality. It has numerous cabin cubby holes and such like for storing all your paraphernalia, and the rear-seat backrests can be nudged forward to slightly increase the boot size from the standard 465 litres.
With the seats up, the boot is pretty generous anyway, but fold the seats and the load area is flat for easy loading, too. A couple of weeks ago it was heavily laden with caravan kit. This week it was boxes of tools, more camping stuff and four classic car wheels. With everything removed, there were no nasty nicks in the trim, marks or grazes. The Outlander is tough.
It’s not perfect, but whether you are heading up the shops or a mountain, the PHEV feels perfectly able to get you, and all your kit, there without breaking into a sweat.
By Nigel Donnelly