Mitsubishi Outlander 5hs 2.0 PHEV Auto24 | 01 | 2017Scotcars rating

    Mitsubishi adds even more spark to its bestselling plug-in hybrid, the Outlander PHEV

    WITHOUT QUESTION, THE Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the manufacturer’s shining star. The big plug-in hybrid is Mitsubishi’s biggest seller in the UK, and represents 50% of sales in the electric and hybrid car market. (Related: 0% deals on offer at Scottish Mitsubishi dealerships)

    So that explains why, having been initially launched in 2014, it received a major facelift in 2016, and has now benefitted from yet another significant series of updates in 2017. Clearly, it’s an important car for Mitsubishi.

    It’s also the only plug-in hybrid SUV that can enjoy the full government grant … until April, that is, when everything changes. The Outlander PHEV also has the lowest CO2 emissions of any all-wheel drive vehicle, emitting just 41g/km CO2.

    Oh … and it’s huge. But we’ll come back to that later.

    So, what’s new for the 2017 model? It gets what Mitsubishi calls a ‘dynamic shield’ front end, which certainly gives the car a much more distinctive look. Plus there are new gloss-black touches and piercing headlights with LED daytime running lights. At the rear, there’s newly redesigned LED tail lights, and the car also gets new wheels and a revised range of colours.

    Inside the massive cabin, design remains much as it did in the previous model. Thankfully though, there’s been a significant jump in quality thanks to soft-touch black plastics — out has gone the nasty old grey colour — and classier trim finishes.

    And because of its high body, there’s bags of head and legroom to fit the tallest passengers and driver. Those in the rear seats benefit further from the fact there’s a flat floor, meaning the centre passenger’s feet don’t need to straddle an awkward transmission hump.


    Worth pointing out though that the Outlander PHEV isn’t available with the seven-seat option, unlike the diesel version. The space for the third row of seats in the PHEV is taken by the the electric motor for the rear axle.

    But despite the rear location of the electric motor, luggage space hasn’t been compromised. The boot can swallow 463-litres — big enough for most people’s needs — and the wide-opening tailgate gives access to a wide flat floor which extends even further into the distance when you fold the rear seats flat, increasing capacity to 1600-litres.

    There are a three trim levels available in the Outlander PHEV, starting at £34,749 — which is a steal for such a big SUV, let alone a hybrid SUV — for the entry-level 3h. The mid-range 4h starts at £39,399, with the range-topping 5h from £43,899.

    The 2017 model is also noticeably quieter than the previous models. Mitsubishi has improved the sound-deadening in the cabin by tightening the panel gaps, redesigning the front air dam to channel air around the car more smoothly, and introducing thicker window glass.

    It’s also faster and even more economical. It’s two-seconds quicker to 25mph from standstill, thanks to tweaks to the hybrid system, and emits less CO2. It is though slightly lethargic to ease through to 62mph, taking a relaxed, but smooth, 11secs.


    And if you order your new car soon, Mitsubishi will also fit a home-charge unit — which replenishes the batteries 60% faster than a domestic plus — free of charge: it usually costs £279. The new model can be charged to 80% in just 25 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes when using rapid charging.

    There’s also even more goodies. Externally, the new Outlander PHEV 3h is fitted with 18in alloys and LED lights with headlamp washers as standard. Inside the cabin there’s a touchscreen display audio system with DAB and Bluetooth, rear view camera, an electronic parking brake with brake auto hold, and the new EV Switch.

    Steering wheel paddles, for adjusting the level of regenerative braking, are also standard, as is dual-zone climate control; automatic lights and wipers; cruise control and speed limiter; rear view mirror with auto dimming and electrically retractable door mirrors.

    Step up to the 4h, and you add LED front fog lamps, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. A 360 degree camera function (displayed on the infotainment system display) which can be activate via a steering-wheel button is also standard, while the 4h version also features leather upholstery with heated front seats and electric driver’s side adjustment; Mitsubishi’s MMCS touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation; a power operated tailgate and a heated steering wheel.


    The range-topping 5h adds a touch of luxury with a new premium Nappa leather interior available in a choice of three colours: Claret Red, Porcelain Beige or Gunmetal Grey, and heated seats in the rear as well as the front.

    The main headlamps feature LED main beam lighting while blue LED mood lighting (including puddle lamps) creates — what Mitsubishi calls — “a soothing interior ambience”. Twin rear USB charging ports, Outlander bonnet badge, a rear spoiler and a premium Alpine audio system have also been added.

    Anyone who has driven a previous-model Outlander PHEV will instantly notice the rev-counter has been replaced by a battery charge and assistance gauge. The driving updates include the replacement of the typical gear lever with a silver-coloured joystick which selects the car’s transmission mode. The result is a car which is now completely conventional to drive.

    And this is where things get seriously interesting. The PHEV’s hybrid system can operate in three different ways: the battery can be charged by the petrol engine; it can provide power to the electric motors for electric-only drive; or it can work in tandem with the petrol engine in hybrid mode when more power is required. Job done!


    The PHEV’s regenerative braking — which regains energy through the electric motors when you slow down — works well. You can also adjust the speed by which the car decelerates via steering wheel-mounted paddles.

    Sensibly, in the two most aggressive of the five regenerative modes, the brake lights activate to warn drivers behind that you’re slowing.

    With a quoted all-electric range of 33 miles, that should be more than enough to cover the average person’s daily commute, ensuring you don’t need to use any petrol.

    And that brings us to fuel economy. Mitsubishi claims 166mpg. Yes, using the algorithms and testing environments in which all these official ‘economy’ figures are calculated across the industry, that’s fine. But it’s not real; so don’t expect it.

    The PHEV’s two 60kW electric motors (one at the front and one at the back) pull the 2017 Outlander at a decent lick, and despite its sheer scale and size, it feels surprisingly agile. Beware though, carry too much speed into a corner and the sudden reality of the bulk of the Outlander hits home pretty damn quickly.


    If you’re doing a lot of city centre driving and maximising the electric-only power delivery — when the Outlander PHEV is near-silent — then you’ll see three-figure economy readings through the PHEV’s onboard computer. But tackle anything longer, and at motorway speeds, and you’ll find the mpg plummet to much closer to that of a standard non-hybrid SUV.

    But let’s be clear: if you are using the PHEV for the majority of your driving in town, it will be incredibly cheap to run. Oh … and road tax is also free.

    Don’t forget though, that the Outlander PHEV isn’t just for the school run or weekly shopping trip; it’s a big SUV, capable of heading offroad into the muddy stuff.

    Grip is excellent, thanks to its Super All-Wheel Drive control, which is a variation of the system developed for the Mitsubishi Evo rally-bred sports saloons. The system can brake individual wheels in order to compensate for any loss of grip, pulling the car through corners with a reassuring confidence.

    And because electric motors are placed on both axles, the Outlander is currently the only hybrid which can operate as a four-wheel drive vehicle regardless of the selected drive mode.


    Safety features have also been further developed and improved on the 201 Outlander PHEV. Forward Collision Mitigation technology, standard on the Outlander 4hs and 5hs versions, now features Pedestrian Detection for added safety, while Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert have both been introduced on the 4h variant to assist the driver when reversing out of a space.

    For example, if traffic is coming from the right, the icon located on the right-hand mirror will light up, accompanied by an audio alert.

    So, why would you buy a 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV? The basic fact is it’s the biggest, cheapest and greenest SUV of its size. And if you can plug it in at your house, and do plenty of short journeys, then its ideal. Combine that with being a company car buyer, or simply being conscious of the environment or even just saving money, and it’s a no-brainer.

    But you’d better act fast because, after the new VED changes come into place in April this year, the Outlander PHEV becomes a less attractive proposition compared with the Outlander diesel. And to be honest, that’s a pity because the PHEV is by far the better car. You’d better get your skates on.

    Related: Mitsubishi confirms Eclipse Cross

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on

    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £43,499 / £43,958
    Engine / Power: 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder, two 60kW electric motors / 203PS (combined)
    How fast?: 0-62mph 11.0sec / Max 106mph
    How big/heavy?: L4695mm W1800mm (excl mirrors) H1710mm / 1860kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 166mpg / Range: 550 miles, 33-miles of electric-only / 41g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / Band A
    Alternatives: BMW X5 PHEV, Volvo T8

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder