Our cars: Mitsubishi Outlander, Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic Tourer

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in proves less than electric for towing, while the Skoda Octavia shines bright, and the Honda Civic Tourer carries itself well.

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Every day, we take a look at a few of the cars that we are living with. Today, it's the turn of the Mitsubishi Outlander, Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic Tourer.


The majority of hybrid cars are not really geared up for towing duties, but the Outlander is both an SUV and a Mitsubishi. As a result, it isn't unreasonable to expect it to put in the odd shift as a tow car.

Motorists who tow things, like everyone else, want a car that does plenty to the gallon, is cheap to tax and painless to own. These are things promised by more modern SUVs, of which the Outlander PHEV is one of the most interesting.

I hooked up a 2014 Swift Lifestyle 2 with the PHEV for a weekend away, but seeing as it was my first time towing with the Mitsubishi, I stayed pretty local. The 1200kg Swift is comfortably within the PHEV’s 1500kg towing limit, and keeping inside the 75kg tow ball (or noseweight) limit was very easy, too.

I fitted a pair of Milenco Aero 2 towing mirrors to ensure I could see clearly behind me before setting off, remembering to disable the automatic folding mirrors to ensure that the mirror extensions didn’t clatter the side of the car when stowed.

As a towcar, it is fair to say that the Outlander is a little short of puff to really impress. Although my towing sojourn was not very far, with relatively little battery power to call on, I was relying heavily on the 119bhp petrol engine.

That is adequate on level roads, and progress was steady on the southern stretches of the M25 with the adaptive cruise control engaged, but when confronted with a steep B-road on the approach to the campsite, progress was very laboured indeed. This agrees with the findings of the recent Tow Car Awards 2014 where, among otherwise acceptable performance, the PHEV was criticised for not coping well with hill starts when towing.

For towing a caravan a few times a year, the PHEV is fine, but you may find yourself driving around some of the powertrain limitations. For more frequent towing adventures, opting for a diesel Outlander makes a lot more sense.

Read all of our updates on life with our Mitsubishi Outlander G4hs 2.0 PHEV.

Nigel Donnelly

In the car park

Web Test Editor Barnaby Jones decides that as far as the Skoda Octavia’s concerned, there’s no substitute for cubic inches.

Consumer Editor Alex Newby wows the family with the Honda Civic Tourer’s TARDIS-like boot.