Improvements lift compelling package, but it's still far from desirable
At a glance
  • Handling
  • Comfort
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Interior
  • Practicality
  • Costs
28-mile range on electric power
Potentially very cheap to run
Zero-emission off-roading
Drab interior design
Only five seats
Not that economical on long trips
  • Variant: Outlander PHEV 4h
  • Price: £39,500
  • Engine: 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder petrol + front and rear electric motors
  • Power: 133bhp @ 4,500rpm
  • Torque: 156lb-ft @4,500rpm
  • Transmission: Multimode e-transmission (automatic), four-wheel drive
  • Acceleration: 0-62mph: 10.5sec
  • Top Speed: 106mph
  • Fuel: 139.7mpg (WLTP combined cycle)
  • co2: 46g/km
  • Road tax band: Free for first year, £130 thereafter
  • Dimensions: 4,695mm x 1,800mm x 1,710mm
  • Release Date: On sale now

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review (video)

Britain's best-selling plug-in hybrid just got better

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IF THERE’S one car that has persuaded us Brits to appreciate plug-in hybrid technology, it’s the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Since it was launched in 2014, it’s been consistently the top-selling plug-in model in the UK.

Now, this updated-for-2019 version looks set to continue that trend, despite going on sale at a fairly inauspicious time: just after the Government decided to cut its grants for plug-in cars, which includes ending any subsidies for plug-in hybrids such as this.

The updates to the Outlander PHEV are mostly minor – it seems the car has read a self-help manual and made little improvements in all areas. The bumpers, grille and alloy wheels have had aesthetic tweaks, but the biggest change comes under the skin.

While the basic recipe of the car’s hybrid system hasn’t altered — it has a modest 28-mile range on electric power, and a petrol engine kicks in provide hybrid power when the battery gets low – the old 2.0-litre petrol engine has been replaced by a stronger 2.4-litre unit, which is much smoother and quieter, as well as more responsive. In addition, the the rear electric motor is more powerful and the battery capacity is larger.

Likewise, the software that controls the hybrid system has been updated, and the whole thing seems to be on your side a little more. It reacts more strongly when you put your foot down and the various elements of the hybrid system blend together more smoothly.

Importantly, the petrol engine means there’s zero “range anxiety” — fill the tank at a petrol station and you can keep on driving. Motoring about like isn’t terribly economical, though; to get the best out of the car you really want to plug in as much as possible.

According to the official WLTP test, keeping the battery charged should result in fuel economy of almost 140mpg, and CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km, which translates into low running costs. But as with any PHEV, these figures will vary wildly in everyday driving, depending on whether or not you travel short distances and can easily plug in.

It doesn’t take long to charge up, though; a three-pin socket can do it in a matter of five hours, and a home wallbox charger will fully charge the battery in around 3.5 hours. If you get the chance to plug in to a rapid charger, 80% battery comes in just 25 minutes.

Other updates? The suspension has been tweaked, making the Outlander PHEV a bit more comfortable a bit more of the time, although it’s not perfect: you’ll still feel a fair few bumps, particularly at low speed. And it’s still in no way entertaining to drive.

The weakest link, though, is still the cabin. It still looks a bit drab and there are too many flimsy bits of trim. And while the new infotainment system is an improvement, it’s still nothing like as good as the ones you’ll find in, say, a Skoda Kodiaq or Hyundai Santa Fe. The menus are tricky to find your way through, and some of the buttons on the touchscreen are awkwardly small.

Perhaps most surprisingly, you can’t buy a model with satellite navigation. If you need help getting around, you have to connect a suitable smartphone through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and use the navigation app on that. Then again, anyone who’s used Mitsubishi built-in sat-nav in the past may think this is no major loss.

When it comes to practicality, the revised Outlander PHEV is very much like the previous model. It’s a roomy five-seat family car, with good amounts of space in the front and back seats for adults.

However, there is a price to pay for its hybrid powertrain. Because the batteries are hidden away under the boot floor, there’s no room for the third row of seats you get in non-hybrid Outlanders. The boot itself is about 20% smaller, too, although the 463-litre capacity will be enough for most families’ needs.

As before, the appeal of the Outlander PHEV centres on its potential for outstanding economy and low emissions, which lead to low running costs, without demanding any great sacrifice. The individual changes to the 2019 model aren’t earth-shattering but collectively, the result is a more attractive proposition than before.

See how much you could save on a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV at carwow


Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV rivals

Kia Niro Plug-in hybrid
See how much you could save at carwow

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in
£28,395 – £30195
See how much you could save at carwow

Mini Countryman PHEV
£31,895 – £36,195
See how much you could save at carwow