The 2.4-litre engine is a big improvement on the 2.0-litre unit in the previous PHEV, making this version a bit more refined and responsive, although it’s not the most comfortable
This latest version of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is built using the same basic recipe as previous models – a couple of electric motors and a petrol engine that can drive the car together or independently – but there are some important changes. Most importantly, the engine is now a 2.4-litre unit, rather than a 2.0, while a stronger rear motor has been fitted, and the generator and battery capacity have also been improved.
The result isn’t a wholesale change, but there’s no doubt that this model is the best Outlander PHEV yet. Yes, the changes are subtle, but it’s more responsive in everyday use, which makes it feel easier to drive.
The petrol engine will only kick in when you ask for extra acceleration or the batteries are depleted. Most of the time, you’ll barely notice the car swapping around between the two power sources. And, while you can hear the engine working away at high revs when you want full acceleration, this new 2.4-litre unit is much quieter than the old 2.0, which will make your everyday driving much more relaxing
The PHEV couldn’t be any easier to drive. With no gears to worry about, all you have to do is to turn it on and off you go
Then again, the big attraction of the Outlander isn’t how it drives; it’s how cheap it can be to run. According to the latest official WLTP figures, the car can average almost 140mpg, but how close you get to that will depend on what sort of driving you do.
The same figures also show that the car has a range of 28 miles on electric power alone. So, if most of your motoring life is spent on short journeys, you barely use the petrol engine and can charge the batteries easily, 100mpg isn’t out of the question. But, if you have to use the petrol engine more frequently, either to directly drive the car or to recharge the batteries, your economy will drop significantly. And, ultimately, a more conventional model may suit you better.
As with many such cars, you have various options to choose from, so that you can get the best economy and make the best use of the batteries. For instance, at the press of a button, you can make the car save the battery’s charge for later, or use the petrol engine to top-up the battery when you’re cruising on the motorway.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s raised driving position gives you a good view over the road ahead and Mitsubishi has done some tweaks to the 2019 model to keep it feeling fresh. Admittedly, this latest Outlander still isn’t the most comfortable SUV – particularly at low speeds – but it’s certainly a bit smoother over the bumps than the previous version.
Other than that slightly bumpy ride, the Outlander is most at home in the city. Here, you can spend most of your time pootling around using just electric power, which is very relaxing for a couple of reasons. First, the electric motors respond very swiftly, making it easy to get around; and, second, there’s precious little noise.