The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was Britain’s best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV yet again in 2020, despite the Japanese manufacturer’s decision to pull out of the UK market. The family 4x4 is widely credited with kick-starting uptake of plug-in hybrid cars, and it has remained at the top of its class ever since its launch in 2014.

With 3,416 passenger-carrying examples registered in 2020 and 320 commercial variants added to the tally, the model outsold all its rivals. It’s the sixth consecutive year the car has topped the plug-in hybrid SUV charts.

However, this is the first year Mitsubishi’s popular SUV has not been the UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid. Every year from 2014 to 2019, the Outlander proved the most popular plug-in hybrid car on sale today, but it was overtaken in 2020 amid rising levels of competition.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV charging

At the end of 2019, there were 34 plug-in hybrid vehicles on sale in the UK, with sales of around 35,000. By the end of 2020, customers could choose from 66 different plug-in hybrid models while perusing British showrooms, and sales almost doubled to 67,500.

Nevertheless, sales have remained strong for the Outlander, a car that was first revealed in 2013. Although the powertrain, bodywork and interior have all changed slightly since then, the vehicle is essentially a seven-year-old design.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the UK

Like most designs of that age, the Outlander PHEV is destined for the great big showroom in the sky, but unlike most other cars, it won’t be replaced – at least not in the UK. Mitsubishi has announced its intention to pull out of the UK and European markets, with no new models coming to these shores. The company will continue to sell stock of its current models until they no longer meet local emissions criteria.

“The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is widely credited with laying the groundwork for wider acceptance of the technology in the UK,” read a statement from Mitsubishi’s UK arm. “Despite an increase in competition, the Outlander PHEV has retained its position as the best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV in the UK, helped in no small part by the increase in sales for the Outlander PHEV Commercial – its 320 registrations in 2020 represent a 56-percent increase in sales compared to 2019 – making it the best-ever year for the pioneering model.

“Looking at all plug-in hybrid vehicles sold across all segments in the UK in 2020, the Outlander PHEV has ended the year with a podium position overall with the commercial vehicle version remaining the best-selling plug-in hybrid light commercial vehicle in the UK.”

Gallery: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in UK