Week ending June 26
Miles driven 315
The PHEV is a clever thing, what with different levels of power regeneration, fast-charging capabilities, four-wheel drive and all at a sensible price, but none of this is worth a jot if it doesn’t get on with the important business of being a car.
This week, that is exactly what it was required to do. A game of golf meant four people and four sets of golf clubs needed to be transported 65 miles to Worthing, and 65 miles back afterwards. First things first, getting four sets of clubs into the boot. This was quickly declared a ‘no contest’ as the Outlander’s capacious boot took all four bags without complaint. We could even use the luggage cover too, such is the depth of the available load space.
It was the first time I’d driven the car with with four people in it. In truth, it is quite hard to discern much of a difference in performance terms because the PHEV is a solid (rather than sparkling) performer, even unladen. With four well-upholstered adults on board, any dulling of performance wasn’t noticeable.
With a 130-odd miles of motoring, plainly we needed to rely on the Outlander’s hybrid modes of operation, although the petrol engine did the bulk of the donkey work. One of the car’s best traits is its refinement. Even with the engine running and working hard, noise is well suppressed. If you like your transport hushed, this is the car for you. On motorways, there is a reasonable amount of road noise, made all the more noticeable by the fact there's so little other noise from the car.
All told however, all three passengers had plenty of head and legroom, and the rear passengers liked being able to adjust the backrest angle of their seats. Clever stuff aside, the Outlander PHEV does a very passable job of being a normal, practical car when required.
By Nigel Donnelly
Week ending June 12
Miles driven 445
We’ve got a few miles under the wheels of our plug-in Outlander now but the handbook has been a regular companion as we’ve got used to the SUV’s various quirks.
That sounds a little like a criticism, but it isn’t. It’s just that there are a few things to learn to make sure that the Outlander is working at its best. For example, there are a few drive and charging mode options to get to grips with, and the level of power regeneration is adjustable, too. At its simplest, you can just hop behind the wheel and drive, but in order to get the most out of the electric range available and to get the best economy, understanding the car’s power systems is important.
For example, fresh from a full charge, the car indicates a range of 27 miles, but with the air-con switched on, that drops to just 22 miles. That said, the car manages its own use of battery power, seamlessly firing up the petrol engine as and when required. There are buttons to preserve battery charge and also to charge the battery while you drive, if you aren’t happy with the car’s own management of its system. You can also force four-wheel drive mode if you need it. The car is capable of some very clever stuff, but understanding it all means you need to do some revision.
While all this is very interesting, the thing that everyone really wants to know is the mpg figure. So far, with daily charging and some weekend running about, I’ve completed over 400 miles on half a tank of fuel. The car is at its best when just pootling along and that steady driving is the key to good economy.
I’ve not actually refuelled the car enough to get meaningful mpg figures yet, but some sketchy ‘back of an envelope’ estimates give a very rough figure on my 25-mile round trip commute of somewhere around 90mpg. To me, that seems like a very promising start. I’d hope that in the next week or so, we’ll have some more concrete figures to look at.