Finally hitting the big time.

Introduction

The Mitsubishi Outlander has been on the fringes of the SUV market for many years, but suddenly hit the big time with the release of the plug-in, petrol-electric hybrid PHEV model. It comes with five- and seven-seat options with a choice of hybrid and diesel drivetrains. It fills a niche in between the utility of Mitsubishi’s own L200 pick-up and the on-road manners of large road-biased SUVs like the Audi Q7.

 

Body Styles: 5dr SUV Seats: 5-7 MRP from £24,999 - £43,499 

 

Did you know? The plug-in hybrid Outlander PHEV qualifies for a government grant of £2500 towards its purchase price

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (6.8/10)

The Outlander comes so close, but ultimately falls short. With torquey and interesting powertrains, comfy seats, plenty of technology and a spacious boot, not to mention the tremendous advantages of the hybrid system, the Outlander looks to have all the right ingredients on paper. It even looks great in most of its colours. But its interior can’t match the class of others in the market, and its ride is too firm. With an injection of European-standard materials quality and more money spent on damping, the Outlander would be vastly improved.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV
 

We Like

Comfortable seats

Great on the motorway

Broad spread of technology

We Don't Like

Poor ride quality

Interior materials

Lack of driving engagement

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Outlander makes no effort to be svelte or pretty in the same way that many modern SUVs try, but its exterior styling bridges the gap between Japanese and European trends pretty well. It looks a little dated compared to many of the newer designs out there, but it holds its own in the style stakes. It’s a chocolate brownie; not the most attractive thing on the shelf but a solid choice on any day of the week.

There’s not a lot going on that’s particularly remarkable, but the silver trim at the front adds a distinctive touch that makes the Outlander more recognisable. Otherwise, the boxy shape looks a little too far towards the utilitarian side so it needs a high trim grade to give it the visual flair it needs. In the higher reaches of the range, the exterior design really catches up and starts to make the car look both upmarket and desirable.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

The dashboard and centre console look absolutely fine in isolation. There’s nothing wrong with the way it presents its buttons, dials and its main screen. The main instruments, in particular, are clear, attractive and easy to read at a glance. But compared to other interior designs in the class, the Outlander’s lacks a little imagination and style.

Seating arrangements are well taken care of by broad, chunky seats with plenty of adjustment and support in the right places. There’s an armrest but no real lateral support, indicating that the Outlander is designed more for straight-line and long-distance comfort than carving along country roads. The high driving position, which is easy to personalise to taste, is more evidence of the same.

The ride quality leaves occupants wanting, though. On smooth surfaces it ebbs and flows very well with the road, but problems arise when it hits larger bumps, of which the UK has many, like potholes or raised/sunken ironworks. The suspension isn’t soft enough to absorb the impact and it sends big thumps through the cabin via the seats and steering wheel.

Practicality

The boot is big whichever version you choose, but the five-seat PHEV loses some space because of the batteries beneath the boot floor. In seven-seat non-PHEV versions, the space behind the third seat row is tiny, big enough only for a couple of small suitcases and some soft bags, but they fold down flat to create a much larger space.

The PHEV is a very practical short-distance commuter. A round trip of 30 miles or less should be possible on electric power alone, potentially reducing fuel bills to nothing during the working week. It’s also a good tow-car, with the PHEV able to tow 1500kg with brakes and the diesels even more capable at 2000kg braked.

Four-wheel drive is a handy feature for country-dwellers, helping to pull the big Mitsubishi across fields even in slippery conditions, and even when towing.

Boot space

Min: 128 litres (7 seats) 463 litres (PHEV) 591 litres (5 seats)
Max: 1608 (7 seats & PHEV) 1754 litres (5 seats)

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

There’s a big difference between the entry-level diesel and the top-spec PHEV, but the basic car still doesn’t disappoint for tech. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and a stereo that has a USB connection are the highlights. There’s no DAB radio, though.

As the trim grades rise, smaller features like electrically-folding mirrors come in, along with rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, a powered tailgate, a heated steering wheel, LED headlights and Bluetooth, but it’s a shame that hands-free calling isn’t available as standard on every model. Automatic brake hold, an electronic parking brake and the 360-degree camera are all only available on automatic models, curiously.

The hybrid drivetrain of the PHEV model is arguably the single most technologically tempting feature in the range. Allowing the driver to select petrol or electric power independently, or to leave the car to make the calls, the system cuts urban carbon emissions right down and gives the whole car a lift in terms of ownership satisfaction. It’s geeky when you get into it but incredibly easy to use from the driver’s seat.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

The four-cylinder diesels, advertised as 2.2-litre engines but actually closer to 2.3, are torque-rich units built for hauling weights without breaking a sweat. The big pistons by today’s standards do create a fair bit of noise and a little vibration to boot, and the clatter never quite goes away.

They do well with a boot full of luggage and a car full of people, but even when empty apart from the driver they don’t especially like to be revved, quickly getting louder and coarser than a more obviously road-biased alternative that might struggle to shrug off the same loads as the Outlander.

It’s slightly better in the PHEV, which is vastly smoother and quieter, but the continuously variable transmission forces the revs right up under power. There’s noticeable assistance from the electric motors, delivering instant torque, but it’s not fast. In fact, the manual diesels are faster, but the PHEV offers a much more satisfying experience overall. Concentrate more on smooth progress (and keeping it in electric drive) and the car won’t disappoint.

Recommended engine: 2.0 MIVEC Hybrid (PHEV)

0-62 MPH

11.0 seconds

Fuel economy

166.1 mpg

Emissions

41g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

As all PHEV models are automatic, they gain advantages like an electronic handbrake and auto-hold on hill-starts. Anti-lock brakes are standard with Electronic Brake-force Distribution to find maximum purchase on the road surface under emergency-stop conditions.

Automatic windscreen wipers and headlights could easily be considered a safety feature, and the reversing camera available on PHEV models certainly is. The 360-degree camera on Outlander 4, 4h and 4hs models is even better. At those range-topping models the spec sheet adds useful active driver aids like Forward Collision Mitigation, which is autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and, on the 4hs, parking sensors at the front as well It’s a decent spectrum of equipment, but it’s disappointing to see it reserved for the top-spec cars.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

Colours

The diesels and the PHEVs each have their own unique colour; stunning pearlescent Tanzanite Blue for the former and ‘premium pearlescent’ Ruby Black for the latter. They otherwise share a list of seven further shades, of which silver and white should be avoided - they look too utilitarian on the Outlander.

That leaves Orient Red, Atlantic Grey, Amethyst Black and Granite Brown as the est colours for the car, but red-tinged Ruby Black is worth a look as well, as it looks spectacular in strong sunlight.

Trim Levels

Mitsubishi’s trim level structure is hugely confusing at a glance. As well as the logical 2, 3 and 4 models in diesel guise there’s an Outlander Commercial, Outlander PHEV 3h, 4h and 4hs, 5h and 5hs, a PHEV Juro, a PHEV Juro Commercial and a PHEV Kotu.

The Commercial models are VAT-exclusive, making them look cheaper than they really are but suitable for businesses who can claim tax back. On the retail side of things, the Outlander 2 is easily distinguished by its steel wheels and generally dowdy appearance, while the 3 and 4 are outwardly smarter.

Juro models add an extra layer of smartphone integration as well as more aesthetic appeal, with two-tone alloy wheels identical to those on the top-spec PHEV 5hs. There’s a lot of standard equipment, too, and it’s easy to imagine that this trim grade was specifically designed to tempt buyers into the brand - and the product - at a significantly lower price point.

The other oddball, the stylish Kotu, looks almost identical in style and spec to the Juro, which won’t help customers. It has its own ‘Global Navigation Unit’, although only with Europe-wide mapping. It differs from the fully-fledged Mitsubishi infotainment interface in more expensive models but allows the company to include navigation for less money. It’s a fully-featured setup with Bluetooth and DAB, mind you, and overall it looks like good value.

Size and Dimensions

One thing you’ll notice about the Outlander’s dimensions is that it’s not as big as it looks. It’s modestly tall, but not tall enough to cause problems, and its length and width are similar to a mid-sized family car. Its size should pose no problems anywhere.

Length

4695 mm

Width

1800 mm (2120 mm w/mirrors)

Height

1710 mm

Max towing weight without brake

750kg

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

One of the key factors in the Outlander PHEV’s appeal, taking it way out in front as the UK’s most popular plug-in car by sales volume, is its unique tax advantages. As a plug-in vehicle it makes a lot of sense for businesses, and it’s big and practical as well. There are plenty of plug-in hybrid vehicles available now, but not so many SUVs, and the two together proved a big hit.

The PHEV can be incredibly cheap to run if it’s mainly used over short distances where the benefits of the electric drivetrain can be best felt. It needs a home-based charging station to work properly, but in an urban lifestyle the PHEV can cost less per mile than any supermini. That’s excluding finance and depreciation, of course, which are both weights around the Outlander’s neck versus a smaller, cheaper car.

Reliability and servicing

Mitsubishi can’t match the reliability records of Honda, Toyota or Lexus, and unfortunately for Mitsubishi those three companies all make SUVs that rival the Outlander. The Outlander itself is mid-table when it comes to reliability.

Minor

12 months or 12,500 miles - £200 est

Major

24 months or 25,000 miles - £350 est

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mutsubishi Outlander PHEV

The entry-level diesel model has a few niceties on its kit list, but £25,000 is a lot to pay for a car with steel wheels. It’s a bad option. On the other hand the high-spec PHEVs are much more competitive against large, conventionally-fuelled SUVs. But although it’s expensive, arguably the best value comes with the £38,999 PHEV 4hs, which is packed with kit but falls below the new threshold for the additional annual road tax charge.

Also good value are the PHEV Juro and Kotu special editions, which both have lots of equipment but bring the PHEV’s price right down to £33,499 and £31,749 respectively. These are the versions that bring the best of the Outlander’s talents together for the most attractive price. If money is no object, the range tops out with the PHEV 5hs at £43,499.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Cost Conscious

PHEV Kotu – the drivetrain enables running cost savings and the overall package is great value

Green Car Buyer

PHEV 4h – very attractive for its low emissions and balanced value for money, it also looks the part

Tech Junkie

PHEV 5hs – the outright top model is the place to go for all the active electronics and gadgets

Rivals

Volkswagen Golf GTE

A compromise-free regular hatchback with all the benefits of plug-in hybrid drive and the Volkswagen badge

Volvo V60 Twin Engine

Diesel-electric hybrid technology is heavier, but ensures higher fuel economy even when using the engine

BMW i3 REX

Superb for business users, the i3 has the right badge and top-drawer environmental credentials

Skoda Kodiaq

Conventionally-fuelled SUV is hugely spacious and great value for money for families

Mercedes-Benz C 350 e

Looks like a C-Class, drives like a C-Class but packed with advanced electronics and intelligent hybrid drive

What others say

Car Buyer

“The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV owes a lot of its success to being a plug-in hybrid SUV but it has plenty of other talents too.”

Autocar

Mitsubishi’s Outlander plug-in hybrid has become such a hit in the UK, it currently accounts for a staggering 50 per cent of overall sales in the UK EV sector.

 

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV