Mitsubishi Outlander: road test

Posted on February 17th, 2017 by James Luckhurst

Capable as a diesel, and potentially very cost-effective as a hybrid.

Mitsubishi Outlander: road test

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What is it?
The Outlander is Mitsubishi’s mid-sized 4×4 to rival the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail. Both the plug-in hybrid model and the diesel versions have been updated for 2017.

How safe is it?
Euro NCAP has tested the diesel and hybrid models, awarding both the maximum five stars. There’s a lot of safety kit, especially on top-spec models.

Who should buy one?
Company car drivers in particular should find the hybrid, with its low emissions, makes a lot of financial sense. The diesel suits high-mileage drivers better.

Road test by David Motton 6 February 2017

 

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Mitsubishi Outlander: road test
It’s the plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander (badged PHEV) which gets all the attention, and accounts for one in three plug-in cars sold in the UK. It’s easy to understand why, when it combines respectable performance, rock-bottom emissions and affordable running costs.
There’s no challenging learning curve – despite it’s clever technology, the PHEV is as easy to drive as any conventional car. Much of the time it runs on electric power alone. In fact, as part of the changes for 2017 the Outlander now calls on the 2.0-litre petrol engine less often, and there’s an ‘EV Priority Mode’ if you want to drive on electric power for as long as possible.
Push the start button, flick the gearlever to ‘drive’, and off you go. With an electric motor for each axle, producing 101lb ft at the front and and 144lb ft at the rear, the PHEV pulls away briskly, even without any help from the petrol engine.
When the 2.0-litre petrol wakes up it does rather disturb the quiet, but it allows the PHEV to accelerate at a reasonable pace even when the battery runs low, and of course it makes long journeys possible.
Mitsubishi claims an all-electric range of 33 miles (up by one mile), but concedes that’s only possible in ideal conditions. Judging by our test drive 20-25 miles is more likely.
The diesel may be more mundane in terms of technology, but for high-mileage drivers it’s the better choice. Mitsubishi’s own calculations suggest that around 106 miles is the tipping point at which the diesel becomes the more economical, unless you stop to recharge the PHEV.
Either way, the Outlander is a competent but rather unexciting drive. Tweaks to the suspension, made to the diesel last year and now inherited by the PHEV, have made the Outlander more taut and controlled at speed, but it can thump into sharp bumps in the road. From behind the wheel, the Outlander is nothing like as polished as the new Skoda Kodiaq, for example.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Mitsubishi Outlander: road test

The diesel Outlander is a seven-seater. Well, it will seat seven at a pinch, but the third row is very cramped.
Choose the PHEV instead and there’s no third row, which helps make space for the battery. There’s less boot space, but still enough room for a typical weekly shop. The diesel has a 591-litre boot, whereas the PHEV has a 463-litre capacity.
In the diesel Outlander the middle seats slide back and forth on runners, which allows some more much-needed kneeroom for those in the third row. The floor is almost completely flat, leaving plenty of room for everyone’s feet even with three passengers in the second row. However, it’s a shame there are no air vents in the door pillars or between the front seats.
In the front, there’s enough adjustment to the seat and wheel for drivers of most shapes and sizes to find a sound and ache-free position. The dashboard is clearly laid out and solidly made.

SAFETY
Mitsubishi Outlander: road test

Both the Outlander diesel and Outlander PHEV have been assessed by the safety experts at Euro NCAP, earning the maximum five stars. High-spec models in particular have lots of driver aids. Go for the Outlander 4 diesel, and Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which helps you reverse out of a parking space safely) are standard, along with a 360-degree camera.

EQUIPMENT
Mitsubishi Outlander: road test

COSTS

Mitsubishi Outlander: road test

A company car driver could find the PHEV extremely cost-effective, with low benefit-in-kind bills and the ability to run on electric power so long as their commute isn’t too long. However, while the PHEV once attracted a government grant of £5000 that has now been reduced to £2500. The diesel is more affordable to buy and better suited to high-mileage driving.

WE SAY
Capable as a diesel, and potentially very cost-effective as a hybrid.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £36,899 (after £2,500 grant)
Performance: 0-62mph in 11 seconds
Economy: 166mpg combined, 37.2mpg (Equaindex.com)
Insurance: Group 25E
Tax: £10 first year, then £140 standard

Figures for the Outlander PHEV 4h