Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV review: Japanese bright spark
How’s that old saying go? Oh, yes: “If it sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly isn’t”.
So what do we make of the ads on the telly, claiming that the plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is good for upwards of 155 miles a gallon?
Now, we would not think of accusing the Japanese manufacturer of telling VW-style porkies but would respectfully point out that such amazingly frugal fuel consumption is totally dependent on who is behind the steering wheel for, truth is, it takes considerably more skill to drive a car in such an economical manner as it does to plant the right foot and drive quickly.
Whatever, while we didn’t come close to matching the maker’s own figures, we were impressed by how relatively little time we had to spend at the pumps.
Factor in lower emissions, zero road tax, reduced level company car tax, some good finance deals, free delivery and eligibility for the government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant and the company’s “numbers never looked so good” advertising slogan suddenly has the solid ring of truth about it.
Of course, with three versions, ranging in price from £38,499 to £42, 999, the underlying tag is not cheap but then it is a fully loaded luxurious upmarket SUV we are looking at, with such strong rivals as the Range Rover, the Audi Q7, the Kia Sorento and the Volvo SC90 in its sights at what are lower prices.
GX3 and GX3h trim offer the best blend of price and equipment. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth connectivity.
The driving experience is as enticing as the spec sheet. There’s none of the ‘van with windows’ ambience that was the blight of early SUV’s.
This one handles as crisply and adroitly as many a performance saloon yet doubles as an excellent tough and rugged off-roader – and it’s so damn smooth and quiet, especially when running on the electric motor, that at times you might think the thing has stalled.
Make no mistake, this is a big beast – most supermarket parking spaces – but in no way feels like it when you are at the wheel.
Inside, it’s all abut space utilisation, with a big, flat load area, lots of pockets and cubbyholes and acres of head, leg and shoulder room no matter which of the generously padded seats you happen to be sitting in, unless it is one of the third row jump seats.
All in all, it’s a strong package that has scooped lots of awards. Too good to be true? Well, you decide on that one.