Mitsubishi’s five-seat plug-in hybrid Outlander Plug-in Hybrid hasn’t had an easy time of it in its short life. Beset by manufacturing problems and recalls — the most recent of which was last week to address a software fault which could incorrectly track how full the battery pack is — the car is now almost a year behind its original launch schedule.
But for those who are fed up paying a premium for plug-in capability, the news that you’ll be able to buy an Outlander PHEV for the same price as a similarly-specced diesel Outlander might make the wait worthwhile.
Headline price: £28,249, after £5,000 grant
Officially launched last week for the UK market, the entry-level GX3h Outlander PHEV will go on sale later this spring for just £33,249 before government grants. Eligible for the £5,000 government grant, the effective purchase price is reduced to £28,249 — or just £3,000 more than the high-spec Nissan LEAF Tekna.
At this trim level however, you’ll get the basic plug-in hybrid drivetrain functionality without any remote telematics or on-board timer functions for climate control or charging. You do get cruise control, leather steering wheel, rear privacy glass, 18-inch alloy wheels, electrically-heated folding rearview mirrors, dual-zone climate control and bluetooth connectivity.
Like the LEAF however, there are three different trim levels for the Outlander PHEV: the GX3h, GX4h, and GX4hs, which mimic the diesel versions of the Outlander SUV in terms of trim and specification.
The Outlander PHEV GX4, priced from £32,899 after £5,000 government grant, adds satellite navigation, onboard telematics for remote smartphone connectivity, heated front seats, rear-view camera, power tailgate, DAB radio, leather seats and an electric sunroof.
The high-end Outlander PHEV GX4sh, which retails for £34,999 after £5,000 government grant, adds forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning system.
All three variants will attract a 5 percent benefit in kind (BIK) tax for the company car driver.
Like the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hyrbid, the Outlander PHEV is a through-the-road hybrid. This means while the crossover SUV is four-wheel drive, there’s no physical drivetrain linking the front and rear wheels together.
Instead, the front wheels are driven by a combination of a 60 kilowatt electric motor and a 2.0 litre gasoline engine, while the rear wheels are driven solely by a 60 kilowatt electric motor.
This means the outlander can operate in all-electric mode, with both electric motors being driven from the on-board 12 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack; series-hybrid mode, with the gasoline engine turning the front motor as a generator to power the rear wheels; or parallel-hybrid mode, where both electric motors and gasoline engine power the wheels together for maximum performance and power.
In electric-only mode, Mitsubishi claims the Outlander PHEV can travel 32.5 miles on the NEDC test cycle. In reality, given the NEDC’s optimistic range tests, we’d estimate a real-world range nearer to 25 miles per charge.
Combined, the Outlander has a range of more than 500 miles on the NEDC test cycle, with a combined fuel economy of 148 mpg imperial. Like any dual-fuel vehicle, real-world range and fuel economy will change depending on use.
Like the Toyota RAV4EV sold in certain parts of the U.S., the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers far more load carrying capabilities than most plug-in cars on the market (perhaps with the exception of the Tesla Model S, of course).
Thanks to the battery pack placement underneath the floor — like Mitsubishi’s other plug-in, the all-electric i-Miev — the Outlander PHEV has a large load bay area behind the rear seat area that can swallow 463 litres(16.3 cubic feet) at full capacity.
It’s worth noting however, that unlike the gasoline and diesel variants of the Outlander, the Outlander PHEV is not available as a seven-seat version.
Quick charge capable
We’d guess there are many of our readers who are currently unimpressed with the Outlander PHEV’s spec sheets, especially its mediocre all-electric range. Normally, we’d agree –but what sets the Outlander PHEV apart from other plug-in hybrids is its ability to quick charge, just like the Nissan LEAF, and Mitsubishi i-Miev.
That’s because the Outlander PHEV comes with a CHAdeMO quick charge port as standard, allowing you to replenish its battery pack from empty to 80 percent full in 30 minutes. This makes the Outlander PHEV the first car of its class to truly make long-distance all-electric trips possible. That’s if you’re prepared to charge every 30 miles, of course.
On some routes however — like the regular trip we make from Bristol to London with rapid charging at every rest stop — it might be possible.
Are you interested?
We’ll be covering this important plug-in hybrid more in the coming months and hope to have a full review for you by the time it starts hitting the road in late June, so be sure to add us to your bookmarks and check back soon.
In the meantime, we’d like to know what you think of the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid. Is it too big for everyday use, or is it the car you’ve been waiting for? And what about the price? Is pricing a plug-in at the same price as a diesel version the way to sell more plug-in hybrids?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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