Mitsubishi Outlander GX4hs 2.0 PHEV
Week ending June 5
One of the most popular bits of work on the What Car? website is a list of economical SUVs. Motorists like the idea of elevated driving positions, the chance to traverse winter weather without imperilling themselves and the ease of cabin access that this class of car typically provides. One of the compromises, however, has always been economy. Typically, an SUV is bigger, heavier and has extra driven wheels which all do their collective bit to decimate the average number of miles per gallon you can achieve. They tend to attract higher rates of VED, too.
Mitsubishi is confident that the new Outlander PHEV can tick a lot of boxes for would-be SUV owners. This plug-in petrol hybrid has all the benefits of conventional SUV ownership, including all-wheel drive, but bolts on the prospect of low company car tax, three-figure mpg and zero-rate, Band-A road tax. Factor in a modest price premium over the humdrum diesel model, and it is obvious that the Outlander has potential.
With carbon dioxide emissions of 44g/km, the Outlander is about as green as something with an engine can be. It has a pure electric driving range of slightly more than 30 miles, and an all-in petrol-electric range of around 400 miles.
I’ve taken delivery of my car in the top GX4hs trim, which means it is festooned with all manner of baubles to make it a very pleasant place to sit. There is a £2100 premium over the regular GX4h trim level and that adds a gamut of safety and convenience features to the already comprehensive kit list. As to whether that extra money is worth spending is really up to the individual. The adaptive cruise control is good, if a little more complicated than rivals' systems, while the collision-mitigation system is welcome. The first thing I do whenever I climb aboard however, is switch off the lane departure-warning system, which is irritating in the extreme because it is so deeply pessimistic. If it even sees a white line it seems determined to let me know about it.
In terms of optional extras, we’ve got the posh floor mats (£60), metallic paint (£500) and a tow bar (£439). The Outlander has a towing limit of 1500kg, which puts all manner of mid-market caravans and larger trailers within reach. Happily, the standard Witter tow bar is retractable so doesn't disfigure the back of the car or graze shins when unloading the weekly shop. The other expense so far was to buy a fast-charging cable. The car is supplied with a three-pin domestic-charge cable, but the provision of fast 32-amp charging at the What Car? office meant the 5m fast cable (£299) was a must.
With a week of driving under my belt, I’m gradually getting used to the car and its various operating foibles. I’ve had the (large) handbook in my lap a few times as I figure out how various things work, but first impressions are looking promising for a happy motoring year.