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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
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What’s new?: While Mitsubishi’s latest Outlander offers a pleasingly revised and refined ownership experience, this model is a little different as it’s a plug-in hybrid variant.

Mitsubishi might not have the same track record as the likes of Toyota when it comes to hybrid motoring, but this Outlander hits the ground running with boasts of 100-plus mile fuel economy figures and ultra low CO2 ratings.

Mitsubishi has opted for a petrol-electric setup, which is claimed to offer high levels of refinement along with the low running costs associated with petrol motoring. The car’s 2.0-litre engine partners with two electric motors – one at each end – to drive the Outlander. All-wheel drive performance is retained despite the absence of a propshaft, while the car can automatically channel power where it’s needed, such as a front-wheel drive mode for undemanding urban duties.

A press of a button transforms this Outlander into a surprisingly capable 4x4, proving no less able than its diesel-powered stablemates. This activity-focused approach continues inside, where there’s ample space for five in the practical cabin. The hybrid hardware has resulted in the removal of the regular car’s third row of seats, but the upshot is a flat, wide load space.

Looks and image: The Outlander’s streamlined exterior is a welcome change to the usual rough and rugged theme demonstrated by many of its rivals. It’s not all for looks alone, as this approach makes the Outlander a slippery beast – something that should help with its overall economy performance.

Famous more for purposeful off-roaders and turbo-nutter rally replicas, Mitsubishi doesn’t have much of a track record when it comes to alternatively fuelled transport. Thankfully the engineers in Japan have caught up quickly with the more switched on European car makers, and the Outlander PHEV is a surprisingly accomplished first attempt.