By Barry Green
But it comes at a price – $3000 more than its first-generation predecessor.
The $50,490* LS and $55,490* Exceed models both boast new features such as Mitsubishi’s Smartphone Link Display Audio with Apple CarPlayTM1 and Android Auto2 integration and Digital Radio (DAB+), electric folding and heated exterior mirrors, electronically controlled park brake with Auto Hold function and a DC fast charging socket.
A new EV Priority Mode across both variants allows the driver to operate the vehicle in EV mode without the engine starting, provided there is sufficient charge in the batteries. Charging the PHEV from flat using a regular 10amp household power point takes about 6.5 hours or five hours from a 15amp outlet.
New safety features available as standard on Exceed include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Mitigation with human detection, Multi Around Monitor, Auto High Beam, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and an Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation System.
A dark chrome and silver-plated grille, silver skid plate, LED headlamps, Day time Running Lamps (DRL) and fog lamps with chrome bezel are incorporated into the new front design. The sharper rear styling features a new design bumper and silver skid plate along with shark fin antenna, chrome tailgate garnish with LED rear combination lamps and rear fog lamp. New-look 18-inch black and polished alloy wheel design complete the modern exterior.
A redesigned steering wheel, new accent trim, improved seating comfort with premium finishes and materials give the cabin a more sophisticated feel.
Front and rear electric motors get the PHEV moving from rest and cruising around town. The
2.0-litre DOHC 16-valve MIVEC four-cylinder petrol engine cuts in at higher speeds – such as on the motorway – driving the front wheels via a single ratio, direct drive axle. Claimed EV range has been extended from 52 to 54km. However, based on the launch drive experience, 30-35km might be more the norm.
Overall fuel economy has been reduced from 1.9 litres/100km to 1.7, based on the ADR 81/02 fuel economy cycle. However, again, real world driving is likely to produce from 6.0 to 8.0 litres/100km under petrol/electric ‘motor-vation’ and 9.0-11.0 when motorway cruising.
As with the rest of the Outlander range, a five-star ANCAP safety rating applies.
Capped price servicing amounts to $1000 over three years.
The launch drive out of Adelaide through McLaren Vale and return provided the opportunity to test Mitsubishi’s claims of improved NVH levels, ride, handling and throttle response.
This new-gen Outlander PHEV does indeed seem smoother and quieter than we remember its predecessor being. It offers up a cosseting ride over most surfaces and acceleration is brisk for a mid-sized, all-wheel-drive SUV. Total maximum power and torque of the combined motors is 120kW and 332Nm.
But, show the PHEV a twisty back road and its heft (300kg more than a conventional Outlander) can be felt. A nice touch is the ability to adjust the regenerative braking using paddle shifters and, overall, the brakes are devoid of that wooden feel of just about every hybrid we have driven.
(* Not inclusive of on-the-road costs).