Mitsubishi’s Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has been a strong seller even before it arrived in Canada. It’s been the top seller in its class in Europe where competition is very strong with several excellent rivals for it to deal with. The vehicle offers a remarkable economy figure of just 3.2-litres/100 km combined, so it’s no surprise that over 200,000 units have now been sold worldwide.
Plug-in hybrids enable the owner to charge the batteries with one of the increasingly prolific public chargers or with a simple electrical receptacle at home. Conventional hybrids can only charge with their gasoline engines so in essence, PHEVs combine the benefits of dedicated EVs with the range benefits of conventional hybrid vehicles, a “best of both worlds” scenario.
Mitsubishi points out that this Outlander was the world’s first PHEV crossover and the only model with all-wheel drive in its class. It’s also claimed that the Outlander PHEV is the only vehicle in its class with DC fast charging capability. You can get an 80 per cent charge in less than 30 minutes – the time you might take on a quick lunch. Another benefit is that you can get a BC government rebate when you buy a PHEV, something that does not apply to conventional hybrids.
For power, this Mitsubishi uses a 2.0-litre gasoline engine working in unity with two high-efficiency electric motors. In addition to fast-charging capability, the Outlander can be fully charged using a standard household 120V outlet in eight hours. Use a 240V outlet and the job is done in four hours. The vehicle can also be charged during driving using a push-button to activate battery charge mode. Using the gasoline engine, 80 per cent of charge can be attained in around 40 minutes. You can check the charge status at any time with a readout on the instrument panel.
Apart from its fuel economy attributes, the Outlander PHEV is a very sophisticated and technically capable vehicle. The list of safety systems is almost too long to list. Among these goodies is a multi view camera which allows the driver to keep a check on all sides or even from above with a bird’s-eye view. For convenience, an array of connectivity features is included. If you leave for work early in the mornings and worry about disturbing neighbours, the PHEV has an EV mode, activated using a button on the dash. In this mode, the vehicle runs on electric motors only.
This is a comfortable vehicle for five full-sized passengers and is quite lavishly trimmed, almost nudging it into the luxury class. Leather seating and trim can be ordered and the rear seatbacks can be positioned in a number of configurations depending on what the owner needs to stow in the car for an adventurous weekend road trip.
For any buyer looking for maximum fuel efficiency (and who isn’t nowadays?) the Outlander represents an excellent choice, offering all the benefits of plug-in hybrids without sacrificing the advantages of a well-equipped and versatile crossover/SUV. To cap it off, Mitsubishi offers a remarkable 10-year powertrain and battery warranty.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door, 5-place, crossover/SUV
ENGINE: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder combined with two 60 kW electric motors
TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable
TOWING CAPACITY: 1,500 lbs
FUEL ECONOMY: 3.2-litres/100 km combined
PRICE: From $43,498 MSRP