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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Overall verdict


It’s extremely economical on short journeys, four-wheel drive, practical


Overly firm ride, petrol engine is sluggish and unrefined
It’s brilliant. But only up to a point. Pity. It could be so much better...

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Our choice


2.0 PHEV GX3h 5dr Auto


What we say: 

Mitsubishi has stolen a march on the oppo here. In practice, it's not quite so impressive

What is it?

Dirty great SUVs might have had a poor eco reputation in the past, but Mitsubishi is hoping to alter that with the Outlander PHEV. As its name suggests, the Japanese SUV is available with a hi-tech plug-in hybrid system, making it the world’s greenest off-roader - now freshly facelifted.

The plug-in system is split into two parts – a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 119bhp, plus twin electric motors (one on each axle) pushing out a total of 60bhp and 245lb ft. Either system can also be declutched and used to re-charge the batteries. It’s possible to run the Outlander on electric-only for up to 32.5 miles – again, a theoretical figure – and when the batteries are depleted, the petrol kicks in. Think of it like the Toyota Prius, only with more emphasis on electric-only driving and better mpg and CO2 figures (yes, really), and you’re about there.


Unfortunately, this is the Outlander’s weakest part. First, the good news. Under electric power, the Outlander is quick and quiet. The petrol engine doesn’t kick in too early (unlike on the Prius), and there’s plenty of poke on offer. But once the petrol engine comes on-line, the Outlander feels very dated. It’s far too coarse (despite NVH improvements) and doesn’t provide much boost to the pace, because the PHEV is 200kg heavier than the normal car. At least the ride is better than before, and the steering sharper. 

There’s one trick that does make it interesting though: paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel that control the amount of electric motor regen. Try using them instead of the brakes…

On the inside

It’s much more normal inside – five seats (no seven seat option on the PHEV because of where the batteries are under the boot floor), gearbox, radio, windows… you know the deal. What this means is that are no compromises with the Outlander PHEV. Combined with the four-wheel drive system, you’ll still be able to get little Ginny and all her pals along to the gymkhana with no drama. The only things that are different are the dials, because there’s no rev counter – just a dial to tell you whether you’re charging the batteries or not.

The 2015 facelift brought much-needed quality lift to the interior. It’s a significant improvement. 


Here’s where the Outlander really outscores petrol and diesel rivals, because if you’ve got a short commute, you’ll never need to fill up on fuel. Plus, because the emissions are so low, company car drivers can save a fortune in tax. And we mean a fortune – thousands of pounds over three years. Plus, if you include the government green car subsidy, the Outlander PHEV is exactly the same price as the diesel one. Finally, if you do need to visit distant relatives beyond the range of the batteries, you should still hit about 40mpg, which isn’t bad for a family SUV. It’s here that the Outlander PHEV’s a bit of a game-changer. If only it had a bit more driving appeal…

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.2 DI-D 2 5dr
10.2s 139g/km 53.3 147 £24,799
The cheapest
2.2 DI-D 2 5dr
10.2s 139g/km 53.3 147 £24,799
The greenest
2.0 PHEV GX5h 5dr Auto
11.0s 42g/km 156.9 200 £43,399


How about something completely different?



BMW i3

The BMW i3 is a similar price, not as practical, but so much cooler and much better dynamically too