The Outlander PHEV is one of the cheapest SUVs to run thanks to its clever hybrid drive system. It’s far from the most comfortable model out there, however
All PHEVs come with two electric motors driving both the front and rear wheels, as well as a 2.0-litre petrol engine that can be used to charge the onboard batteries. Mitsubishi claims this setup will help it return 166.2mpg, although whether you’ll ever see it achieve this figure depends hugely on the sort of journey you usually cover.
If you live just a short distance from work you may never need to resort to using the PHEV’s petrol engine. On a full charge it’ll travel around 30 miles in near-silent electric-only mode. This makes it a tempting alternative to the likes of the less practical Toyota Prius Plugin.
There aren’t any gears to worry about in the PHEV – just turn it on and off you go
If your driving takes in a mix of town driving and countryside cruising, the PHEV will deploy a mix of electric and petrol power. When you’re pottering around town it’ll be batteries powering the wheels. Accelerate hard, or head out onto a country road, and the noisier petrol engine takes over and your economy figure drops significantly. You can press buttons in the cabin to save the battery’s charge for use later, or to use the petrol engine to top-up the battery when you’re cruising on the motorway.
Speaking of which, the Outlander PHEV will rely almost exclusively on petrol power at motorway speeds and, as a result, struggles to return more than 40mpg. If you regularly travel long distances, the standard Outlander with its 2.2-litre diesel engine will likely be a more cost-effective option.
The diesel model can’t, however, compete with the instant shove you get from the PHEV’s electric motors – this means the PHEV can accelerate pretty briskly for such a large car. Once you’ve reached motorway speeds, however, it starts to feel a little sluggish.
The PHEV’s raised driving position gives you a good view over the road ahead. The pillars where the windscreen meets the front doors produce a slight blind spot at junctions but the large side windows mean you can easily glance over your shoulder to check for overtaking traffic on the motorway. Its wide rear windscreen gives you a decent view behind, too.
All models come with a reversing camera as standard to help make parking as easy as possible while 4h versions and above come with a handy 360-degree camera feature. Threading it through width restrictors and squeezing down tight city streets will still be a slightly nerve-wracking affair, however.
The PHEV’s complicated drive system means it’s no lightweight. As a result, you’ll feel large bumps, especially at slow speeds.
In electric mode, the cabin is near silent, which makes the Outlander a comfortable car to drive in town. At higher speeds there’s a fair amount of tyre noise – most noticeable when you’re driving in quiet electric-only mode – and the large door mirrors produce a slight whistling on the motorway.
Its tall body leans slightly in tight corners but the grip offered by its four-wheel-drive system means it feels very sure-footed in slippery conditions. It’s no hardcore offroader but it’ll happily traipse up muddy country lanes. All models come with cruise control as standard which, combined with its electric motors that never have to change gear, make it a fairly relaxing car to drive.
The Outlander PHEV was awarded a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2013 before it was updated in 2015. The testing procedures have been made significantly stricter since then but Mitsubishi now offers high-spec 4hs and 5hs versions that come with adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking as standard.