LIVING IN London and having children who like nothing more than to escape to the park and spin the pedals of their bicycles like hamsters on a wheel, I was the obvious choice to run Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV on an extended test.
The Outlander has proved by far the biggest success among such cars: it is the bestselling plug-in vehicle in Britain. In fact, it accounts for half of all sales in the plug-in hybrid car market, and more than 21,000 are thundering along our roads.
Perhaps drivers are keen to do their bit and not run a diesel? No doubt they’re also intrigued by the possibility of reducing their dependence on petrol stations and recharging their car at home, at work or at a public charging point. And then there is the chance to cut the cost of motoring for company car drivers and private motorists alike.
My Outlander PHEV is a GX5h, which is one of the plusher trim levels available, hence the cost of £40,899 — the basic version is £31,749. (Those prices take into account the £2,500 government grant that the car qualifies for.) So it has goodies such as an Alpine audio system, heated front and rear leather seats, LED daytime running lights and a pair of extra USB ports for back-seat passengers. You can compare Outlander PHEV specifications here.
Knowing how the car would be used, I’ve had a tow bar and bike rack fitted, which are options that cost £363.99 and £256.99 respectively.
All PHEV Outlanders have a 2-litre petrol engine and a pair of electric motors, one driving the front wheels and the other the rear. This gives it four-wheel-drive capability. The combined output is 200bhp (149kW), and the official fuel economy figure is 156mpg, with CO2 emisions of just 42g/km.
As a family-sized SUV, this should be a practical and comfortable car that can handle being knocked about a bit. As a PHEV, it will need to convince me that its driving range on battery power alone and recharging time are impressive enough to justify the price. For comparison, the conventionally powered Nissan Qashqai starts at less than £20,000 and is not only the bestselling SUV in Britain but one of our most popular cars, full stop.
I also have an app to test. Public charging points to try. And a good few friends and family to reply to, who are already asking how I’m getting on with living with a plug-in hybrid.
- Vehicle 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GX5h
- Run by Nick Rufford
- Delivery date April 2016
- Odometer reading at start 240 miles
- On-the-road price £40,899 (after government grant)
- Price with options £41,519.98
- Options fitted Tow bar, £363.99; bike rack, £256.99.