The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a tempting car in many ways, but the bland interior is far from attractive, despite plenty of chrome trim and leather upholstery on most models
They say that first impressions last, but your first impression of the cabin in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is not likely to be terribly positive. Despite plenty of chrome details and leather upholstery on all but the most basic models, it comes across as a bit dated.
Admittedly, there’s not too much to complain about in terms of how it’s all laid out, and there are some soft-touch materials dotted around. But, it’s all rather uninspiring, especially when you start looking a little lower down in the cabin.
That’s when you’ll spot the hard, scratchy plastic and rather too many flimsy-feeling bits of trim. The cover for the USB socket may not be a crucial piece of equipment, but the way it dangles off the centre console does little to persuade you that you got your money’s worth. There’s no doubt that the general air of quality lags behind what you’ll find in, say, a Toyota RAV4 or Skoda Kodiaq.
The biggest difference between the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the petrol-engined versions is the large silver joystick that replaces a normal gear lever. Look a little further, and you’ll also spot that there are some PHEV-specific readouts on the dashboard.
Taking pride of place on the top of the centre console is the seven-inch touchscreen that controls the new infotainment system. It’s certainly an improvement on what was in the old car, but it’s still not as easy to use as what you’ll find in a Skoda Kodiaq.
At least, Bluetooth connectivity, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, is standard across the range. Mind you, that smartphone mirroring could well be very important for you, as no PHEV (or any Outlander, for that matter) comes with satellite navigation. If you want to be guided around the place, you’ll need to have a compatible phone.
The Outlander PHEV is ground-breaking in many ways, but it seems amazing that the only way to get satellite navigation is through your smartphone
One of the most major changes to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for the 2019 model year is the introduction of a new infotainment system. This is based around a 7.0-inch touchscreen that sits on the top of the centre console on every model.
The system includes DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is very important if you need help finding your way around, as no model comes with satellite navigation, and you can’t add it as an option. So, if you want navigation, you need a compatible smartphone.
The other benefit of that is that you’re using your phone’s operating system, which will almost certainly be less fiddly to use than the car’s system – especially because the smartphone mirroring allows voice control.
To be fair, the home screen of the infotainment system is nice and easy to find your way through, with big icons. Beyond that, the various sub-menus let you control everything from the stereo to charging the batteries, as well as giving you access to all sorts of useful information.
Trouble is, once you’ve clicked into those sub-menus, it’s not that obvious how you navigate your way through them. To make matters worse, the dated graphics don’t help matters and some of the ‘buttons’ you have to press are very small – which is awkward when you’re on the move. All in all, it’s not as nice a system as the one you get in a Skoda Kodiaq.
The stereo you get depends on which model you buy. Most models come with a six-speaker system that sounds perfectly good enough. But, if you buy a high-spec 5h or 5hs model, it comes with an Alpine unit. It’s definitely an improvement over the more basic stereo, but it’s still nothing to write home about.