Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GX5h: Silent Night

Only the most foolish amongst us would disagree with the idea that we will run out of fossil fuels altogether at some point in the future. The problem is that we are finding ourselves faced with is that the time when this is going to happen is getting closer and closer each day. 

So what is there to do? Most manufacturers would appear to have cottoned on to the fact that the motoring public’s tastes are most definitely changing. Engines are downsizing, turbo charging is becoming more common place as a way of getting decent power from smaller capacity engines thus increasing economy whilst reducing emissions at the same time. Infact smaller petrol engines are losing cylinders whilst gaining extremely clever engine management software and systems such as stop start all in the quest to create engines that will extend the use of valuable and finite petrol resources.

Not withstanding the increased MPG that modern diesel engines are now able to produce, governments and councils around Europe and America are looking to encourage the next big idea when it comes to powering personal mobility into the future.

MotorMartin looked at the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV a few months ago when the excellent Nathaniel Cars of Bridgend provided a GX4hs model for evaluation which can be read about in the post, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: Are Friends Electric? And left me with a desire to spend much more time with this impressive and innovative SUV. 

Fortunately, someone at Mitsubishi must have been listening as sitting on MotorMartin’s drive this week has been an Outlander PHEV GX5h looking, it has to be said, rather amazing as it’s Metallic Orient Red paint shimmers in one of Bradford’s rare bouts of sunshine. This colour really suits the Outlander and mixed with the redesigned front grill, provides this PHEV with a premium look and finish that really suits and lifts it above the competition. Alongside this fantastic new front end and colour, the additional flashes of chrome along the sills and windows as well as diamond cut alloy wheels, all add up to create a vehicle that upon disembarking, you will always glance towards one more time before moving away. Impressive.

Anyone familiar with MotorMartin’s previous thoughts on the Mitsubishi PHEV will already know about the many positive points that the GX5h provides the driver, but the opportunity to put some proper miles under the wheels of this Outlander will answer those questions that an afternoon drive just cannot do. 

Mitsubishi have decided that an all electric range of up to 32 miles should be sufficient for the vast majority of drivers and you can’t really deny the logic. In their own literature, Mitsubishi state that: “Official NEDC fuel consumption for the Outlander PHEV is 156mpg, which is an incredible figure. If your regular journeys are a mix of town and/or country roads interspersed with stretches of faster carriageway, and less than 32 miles between charging opportunities, you could actually achieve considerably more miles to the gallon. On longer, high speed journeys the PHEV will mainly use the petrol engine so petrol consumption will obviously be higher.” Is this MotorMartin’s experience though?

On a regular commute of around 18 miles, taking in a mixture of typical town driving interspersed with sections of 40mph dual carriageway and all the traffic and issues common to most people, the Outlander provided MotorMartin with an extremely comfortable environment in which to spend time each day. There’s the upgraded premium Alpine amplifier and speakers with the ubiquitous DAB radio, Bluetooth music streaming and, rather unusually but definitely welcome, CD player cleverly hidden behind the HD 7″ touchscreen display. The premium nappa porcelain beige leather seats and door cards look fantastic and give the cabin an air of quality that is perfectly complimented by the solid feeling black ash of the dashboard and surrounding areas. What I like about commuting in the Outlander is the ease with which you can tailor everything to your liking. Front and rear LED mood lighting, duel zone climate control, electric seats adjustable in all directions, heated seats front and rear (heated rear seats particular to the GX5h and GX5hs) and my particular favourite, a heated steering wheel. Lovely.

And it’s not just about being comfortable, which you most certainly will be, as the Mitsubishi has a number of tricks up its sleeve to make the commute and everyday driving that little bit safer for you and your passengers. A Forward Collision Mitigation system, Lane Departure Warning system, Adaptive Cruise Control system, Unintended Acceleration Mitigation System and Front and rear parking sensors are all present and correct and work well with the Outlander warning you with sounds, symbols and warning signs when needed. 

Back then to how the Outlander performs on the daily commute. Now maybe it’s MotorMartin’s age, but by utilising keyless technology first impressions and expectations are raised almost instantly. With the key in you pocket it’s just a matter of pressing the small rubber button on the door handle to unlock the Mitsubishi And in you go. Pressing the start button lights the dashboard and gives you a cheery welcome message but gives no further clue as the the motor being switched on and so, moving the great feeling gear lever across and down into drive and the first thing that PHEV newbies will notice is the uncanny lack of noise as you smoothly pull away. 

And it’s an addictive feeling. Scrolling through the multifunction TFT dash to show the power source being used allows you to temper your driving style to that which will provide you with electric power for the maximum amount of time as its only when you push on with a heavier press on the throttle that the 2.0L petrol engine audibly cuts in to provide the power requested. By planning ahead, varying the impressive regenerative power of the brakes through the paddles behind the steering wheel and careful judging of traffic it really is quite easy to travel without using the petrol engine at all during the normal working week. Like Mitsubishi’s claim highlighted earlier, if you are able to charge the PHEV every evening or whilst you are at work and not forgetting that you can do so from a normal three pin plug, then the possibility of travelling from Monday to Friday, or similar, without visiting the petrol station is really quite simple to achieve and allows for some quite spectacular efficiency.

Indeed the software present on the touchscreen and dashboard is all designed to allow you to see exactly what is going on under the bonnet at any given time and means that you can quickly make decisions as to what power source and driving style is necessary depending on the desired outcome of your journey.

So we’ve got a fantastic and premium looking SUV. We’ve got a large family car that’s extremely well equipped. We have a comfortable, stylish interior that’s able to be tailored to your exact needs. We’ve the potential for most people with a daily round trip of up to 60 ish miles, with a power break half way, to run without using any petrol and a charging infrastructure that is improving all the time. The arguments for the Outlander PHEV are extremely compelling so far.

In part 2, MotorMartin will be taking the Mitsubishi further afield to the seaside and seeing if the PHEV continues to live up to high standards already experienced.

Where will you go?

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