B1 Intermediate US 11 Folder Collection
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Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are normally pretty easy to spot.
They're usually small standalone models that are styled to look
a little bit futuristic. Things like the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf are good examples.
What they are not normally, however, is big
SUV's that are just as comfortable in the mud as they are around town like the
Mitsubishi Outlander plug in hybrid electric vehicle,
or PHEV for short. Even though this car looks
pretty much exactly the same as the standard Outlander from the outside and
by and large
on the inside there is actually two different power sources underneath.
There is an electric motor, which will promise to run this car for about 30 miles
on
charge alone, and then there is a petrol engine, which kicks in when the
electricity runs out.
One of the big advantages of running an electric car is the noise, or rather the
lack of it and, if you listen
the PHEV is wonderfully hushed, especially when it's running on electric power alone.
There is a little bit more noise when the petrol engine kicks in but to be
honest
you be very hard pushed to notice it and you only really do so when you're
properly putting your foot down and overtaking.
One of the other benefits that you often hear about with electric cars is that
instant sort of kick of acceleration you get when you put your foot down.
Unfortunately, that's not something you get with this car, but
to be honest that'd been a bit weird if you did. I mean this is a quite high-riding
SUV and if it performed like a, well, performance car then
that would be a little bit strange. So in many ways this car driving pretty
much like the normal diesel Outlander
is no bad thing. It handles much the same as well, although
because the batteries sit quite low down in this car it does give it a little bit more
stability when you're going round corners.
In fact the things that make it feel most like you're in an electric car
these paddles behind the steering wheel. Now normally those
are in most other cars used for changing gear but
in this car you actually alter the level of brake regeneration that you get. So
if you pull on this side then every time you lift your foot off the throttle
then it does loads of braking for you, so, especially when you are around town you barely need
to touch the brake pedal at all.
If you are going down the motorway then you probably don't want that quite so much so you can take it
all the way off so it is just like an ordinary car.
The seating position in the Outlander is really good.
You're sat very high up, it is easy to get in and out and everything -
wheel and seat - has got lots of adjustment. Also, because of this high seating position
you've got
fantastic visibility all-round front and back.
But the biggest problem with this cabin is this middle section here really.
It just looks and feels really cheap and
really quite dated, especially for a car of this class.
All materials just feel a bit flimsy, and nothing's got that feeling of quality that
hope for from a car like this.
Now the main controls, to be fair, are actually pretty simple to use. Things like the
temperature and climate control
are all set out very simply here. But it is a bit odd that some of the other
controls
are tucked away over here. So you've got two separate places you've got to look at.
But the biggest culprit is this screen. It's
an aftermarket unit. It's clearly not properly integrated into the dash
and it's just really really fiddly. These buttons on the touchscreen
are really small and you've got to be very accurate with your stabbing motions and
the chances are you will,
on several occasions, end up pressing the wrong button.
Now what with the petrol engine up front and the batteries
there is quite a bit of stuff to fit into the Outlander, and you expect
that something has to give practicality wise. The Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid, for
example, has a boot that is a 125-litres smaller
than the diesel equivalent, However that is not the case with the Outlander.
This boot
is pretty much exactly the same size as that
on the diesel version. The only thing is you can't get a seven-seat version of this car
whereas you can with diesel.
The other difference is, under the boot there isn't a huge
amount of storage. There is not many clever bits, but there are a couple of big bins
either side. The space in the five seats that you do get is very good though. Headroom
is
very generous, and leg room is fantastic. You get huge amounts of room that way and
there is this almost totally flat floor and that means that you can get a third
person
in the middle with almost no problems whatsoever.
Another totally flat thing is the loading bay. There is
almost no entry-lip, and when the seats are all folded flat it is
completely even. However, it's a bit of a problem actually
folding the seats, because you have to come around to the side, flip the bases up
and then drop the backs. It's not exactly a one-handed movement.
But how well this car drives, its practicality etc, won't really matter
compared to one thing for a lot of people, and that
is how much it costs. We are quite used to the idea that plug-in cars cost a fair bit
more than conventional
petrols and diesel etc, but that isn't the case with this car. It costs,
like-for-like, pretty much exactly the same as the equivalent
diesel - once you factor in the government's £5000
low-emission vehicle grant that is.
The only thing you miss out on is that third row of seats and a tiny amount of space in the
boot.
Running costs should be good as well. That 148 miles-per-gallon official fuel economy
might be a bit of a pipe dream for many people but if you're doing a lot of
miles
just around town on short journeys then you'll do many of those
on electric alone. A knock-on effect is that has a tiny CO2 emissions figure, of just
48 g/km. That means it's going to be in the lowest company car tax band
until at least the end of the decade, and also you get a free tax disc
alongside that. We would say that if you're going to be doing longer journies
then the diesel is a much more worthwhile car to consider - this car
really is, as we say, better for short journeys
around town. The PHEV only comes in the top three
trims on the Outlander - that's GX3, GX4 and GX5 and all three
are very well equipped. All of them get dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth
and automatic lights, while the GX4 adds some serious luxury kit like
electrically adjustable seats
and a reversing camera and parking sensors. If you feel the need to go up to
GX5 then you also get an electronic tailgate.
You can also download an app to your phone that allows you to control when the car
charges,
see how much battery there is left, and even turn on the heater remotely before
you get into the car.
Now with all this technology on offer, though, it is a bit of a shame that you have to go to the top
level trim
to get DAB Digital Radio as standard. The Outlander PHEV
is a bit of a strange mixture then. It's great in some areas but it's rubbish
in some others. But you can pretty much ignore that really cheap feeling
interior, the infotainment system that feels really complicated and
a bit naff, and the fact you can't get a seven-seat version of this car because
it will be so cheap to run comparatively, especially
as a company car. The hybrid Outlander trumps
all of its rivals by being no more expensive to buy
than the equivalent diesel. Now, bear in mind it won't fit in with everybody's driving
needs but
if it does this could be a very cheap way
to run an SUV. For more information on the Outlander search for Mitsubishi
Outlander on whatcar.com, but before you go anywhere
do click subscribe and keep up to date with all of our latest video road tests.
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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2014 review - What Car?

11 Folder Collection
Takaaki Inoue published on July 2, 2020
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