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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV does 148mpg

Good news for frugal green-laners: Mitsubishi’s plug-in Outlander will return an official 148mpg when it lands in the UK next year.

Mitsu says its Outlander PHEV officially emits just 44g/km of CO2, making it exempt from both vehicle excise duty and London’s congestion charge.

That’s a mighty impressive set of numbers from the petrol-electric hybrid, though not quite so impressive as those of the VW Twin-Up hybrid we saw last week.

Then again, the Outlander has seven seats and four-wheel drive, while the Up has five seats and only two driven wheels. And, rather more crucially, the hybrid Up is a concept – though one certain to reach production – while the Outlander is entirely real and very nearly here, set to land in the UK in March.

And, besides, by the metric of Official People-Miles Per Gallon – a calculation Top Gear has just invented for the purpose of this comparison – the Outlander runs the (still quite hypothetical) Up even closer.

See, if you filled all its seats, and assuming you hit its quoted economy (which, in the real world, you wouldn’t – especially not with five people on board), the Up hybrid will do 1290 people-miles per gallon. In other words, for each gallon you put in its fuel tank, it can (legally) transport humans a combined total of nearly 1300 miles.

The Outlander, with its seven seats and 148mpg (theoretical) economy, will give you 1036 people-miles per gallon. Which is a lot of people-miles per gallon. In fact, we’re pretty sure no production car gives more people-miles per gallon.

With two 80bhp electric motors – one on each axle – fed from a lithium-ion battery, Mitsubishi says the Outlander PHEV will do 32 miles on electric power alone, with a top speed of 75mph. Add in the 2.0-litre petrol engine – which can power the wheels directly, or run as a generator to recharge the battery – and it’ll get to 106mph and do just over 500 miles on a tank of fuel.

Is there anything out there that’ll take more humans further for less fuel? Is that the most confusing question ever posed in the history of the universe?

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