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Mitsubishi Outlander Reviews

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The Mitsubishi Outlander has often been a 4x4 that never quite got the success it warranted. Andy Enright wonders whether the third generation car can change that.

The Mitsubishi Outlander makes an interesting left field choice if you're looking for a reliable, well-equipped seven-seater that's keenly priced and decently screwed together. There's two engines on offer, with most buyers likely to opt for an 150PS 2.2-litre diesel, mated to an all-wheel drive chassis. The alternative is a clever PHEV plug-in hybrid petrol/electric variant.

It's an inevitability that when a car manufacturer enters into a partnership with ostensible rivals, one will come out on top. Although predicting which party gets the best out of a particular deal is never straightforward, the tie up which saw Mitsubishi get a diesel engine from Peugeot and Citroen while they got the previous generation Outlander and dressed it up as the C-Crosser and 4007 respectively only had one loser, in Europe at least. People loved the French cars because they were heavily discounted and offered far better build quality than we were used to from the marques at the time. Mitsubishi was left to pick up the pieces. All of which is a bit of a shame as the Outlander is a really good 4x4 and now makes a great used buy. Mitsubishi is back once again with the next generation Outlander and is hoping its luck improves. It's certainly going all-out in the technology stakes with a segment-leading petrol/electric PHEV plug-in hybrid variant offered at the top of the range.

Most Outlander buyers will choose the 150PS 2.2-litre diesel engine, here tweaked over the previous generation version for a bit more low end boost. Peak torque arrives between 1,700 and 2,500rpm, so you'll need to work the six-speed gearbox quite diligently to stay on top of things. If that's too much like hard work, choose the six-speed auto option with its steering wheel paddles for manual override. The auto does add 1.5 seconds to the manual car's sprint to 62mph, stretching it out to 11.2 seconds. Both cars register an identical 124mph top speed. The alternative is the PHEV Plug-in hybrid variant, which offers a 2.0-litre petrol engine aided by a 70KW generator and a couple of 80bhp electric motors, one at the front, one at the rear, giving all wheel drive and a combined power output in the region of 220bhp. It's quite a remarkable vehicle, which most of the time will operate under battery power alone across its three driving modes. The first of these - 'Pure EV' - sees full silent milkfloat mobility across a range of just over 30 miles, during which time the car will be driven by its two electric motors with drive supplied from the battery pack. Should the need arise for sudden acceleration or the battery charge have run down, the car will seamlessly switch to its second 'Series Hybrid' driving mode. Here, your forward motion will still be battery-driven but the generator will start up to power the battery and the motors. If that's still not enough for either the performance or the driving range you need, the car will finally, almost reluctantly, switch to its third 'Parallel Hybrid' driving mode, which adds the resources of the petrol engine driving the front wheels, in which form the car will spirit you from rest to 62mph in about 11s. In this mode, you'll have a driving range claimed at 547 miles.

Is this Outlander a better looking car than its predecessor? That's a subjective call. The second generation Outlander's front end was always reminiscent of the Lancer Evo which can only be a good thing. The Evo's dead and buried now, so Mitsubishi has to move on. I'm still not certain that what it's moved on to in the case of this MK3 Outlander will work for British buyers, but the Mazda CX-5 is no great looker and that's shifting units quite quickly in this same segment. This Mitsubishi's slab sides, long overhangs and lugubrious face don't lend it much in the way of visual athleticism, but much of that will be forgiven when you get inside. This Japanese brand hasn't always done interiors very well and although you won't think you're in an Audi Q5, this Outlander offers plenty of soft-touch finishes and a clean, architectural fascia design. It's a decent size too, with the ordinary diesel featuring a third row of seats that disappears into the floor, more legroom for second row passengers and plenty of room up front. There's also loads of cubby stowage and up to 1,022 litres of space on the flat floor with the rear seats folded and 591 litres when in five seat mode. The load floor is now 1.69m long when the second and third rows are folded, a massive 33.5cm up on its predecessor. The middle row of seats can slide on runners back and forth over a range of 25cm.

Expect entry-level cars (priced from just under £24,000) to come equipped with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control, four powered windows, remote locking, seven airbags and stability control, while mid-level cars will feature things like leather and dual-zone climate control. Buyers of the range-topping model will get refinements such as satellite navigation, a parking camera and a high-end audio system, along with advanced safety systems including lane departure warning, radar cruise control and a collision mitigation system (which applies the brakes automatically if it senses an impending crash). The model line-up of trim levels runs from GX2 to GX5. Prices for the PHEV hybrid look very competitive, starting at just over £28,000 after subtraction of the government grant - so the same money as a conventional Outlander GX3 diesel auto. That's for the entry-level GX3h version: there are also two other PHEV models, the GX4h costing around £33,000 and the top GX4hs costing around £35,000. Expect a decently high spec to come as standard across the range.

Mitsubishi has invoked a number of measures to improve the conventional diesel Outlander's efficiency, not that it was too bad to begin with. Improving the aerodynamics is, in effect, a freebie, and reducing weight also helps cut fuel consumption and emissions quite markedly. Using what is much the same engine, the Outlander's CO2 return has dropped from 164g/km to a much more palatable 146g/km, while combined cycle fuel economy has improved from 44.8mpg to 50.4mpg compared to the second generation version. While that's still some way off what Mazda is achieving with its ground breaking CX-5, it's certainly better than many rivals. Do bear in mind that if you opt for the automatic gearbox, your economy won't be quite so impressive, but the 46.3mpg figure is still better than the previous shape manual model, so there's a clear indicator of progress. Go for the PHEV petrol/electric hybrid and there's a big step up from that with a scarecely credible quoted combined cycle fuel figure of 148g/km and 44g/km of CO2. This plug-in hybrid can drive for over 32 miles on a full electric charge and can be fast charged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. This means that for some drivers, they'll be able to pop the car on charge in the evening, do the commute and bring it home without using any petrol at all. Mitsubishi reckons that if you cover more than 100 miles between charges, the diesel is going to work out more cost-effective. Charge the Outlander PHEV more frequently and the numbers swing in its favour. Residual values ought to be strong, as the trade has quite taken to the Outlander and this plug-in hybrid is the first example of its type in the sector.

If you're hankering after something spacious, relatively affordable, super-reliable and which can seat seven, the Mitsubishi Outlander muscles its way into contention. It's not the best looking car we've ever seen, but if you're not too concerned about winning beauty contests and prefer more practical considerations, it deserves a place on your shortlist. And the PHEV plug-in hybrid version is undoubtedly very clever. The problem the Outlander faces is that it pitches right into a very crowded marketplace with no end of very talented rivals clamouring for your attention, though to be fair, relatively few of these are offered with seven seats. Even so, Mitsubishi will struggle to shout hard enough in the UK to get this model's merits across. For those who listen, here's a very capable family contender with more space than a Freelander-style compact 4x4 and more all-round capability than a Qashqai-like Crossover. In other words, if the obvious contenders don't appeal, here's one that just might.

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The electrifying crossover - The New Mitsubishi Outland PHEV hybrid

The Mitsubishi is a wonderfully unique vehicle. It is a plug-in hybrid at combines electric and petrol power. Both motors are served by a 12kWh battery which is mounted between the axles and charged by the petrol engine in the Series Hybrid setting. The rear motor produces slightly more torque; the one at the front is assisted when necessary by an 119bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. Standard kit includes dual-zone climate control, cruise control, electric windows, remote central locking, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, electric heated mirrors, automatic lights and rear parking sensors. The entry-level PHEV GX3h will emit an outstanding 44g/km of CO2. This means that qualifies for company car tax at just five per cent. Moreover, Mitsubishi have stated that the vehicle will have a fuel economy of an astonishing 148mpg. The manufacturer also say that the Outlander PHEV can cover 32.5 miles as an EV before tapping into its 45-litre fuel tank for an ‘extended’ range of around 500 miles. The PHEV is unlike most electric vehicles as it drives with complete competence. Due to its weight and size, the PHEV has excellent grip and traction; it also steers and corners well at high speeds. The Mitsubishi is also equally comfortable on trickier terrain and will climb up hills like Ben Fogle on DofE. The PHEV comes with 190mm of ground clearance and has a towing capacity of up to 1500kg. It can even move from stationary to 60mph in 10 seconds.

 

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Car Leasing

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Review by CarAdvice