Automobile March 12, 2020
Mitsubishi OutLander PHEV The Hybrid Evolves.
What’s the Mitsubishi Out lander hybrid like to drive?
It’s not that far removed from the car, with was also present for us to compare, but in a couple of important aspects improvements have been made. The first is in cabin refinement, because the new car is quieter, rides better and feels more solid than ever.
There’s been extra adhesive applied to the body-in-white (before painting) to strengthen the shell in a similar vein to that of aircraft manufacturers, and this has the effect of enhancing torsional rigidity, so the car flexes less through bumps and bends. We had to drive old and new cars back-to-back to really tell the difference, but there’s certainly some there.
Don’t let this fool you into thinking the game has been changed, though: We had to drive old and new cars back-to-back to really tell the difference, but there’s certainly some there.
Isn’t a new engine the biggest news here?
It would be, had it not been for the salient fact that this isn’t a ‘new’ engine, per se. Instead it’s an adaption of the old 2.0-litre petrol, with the latest Mivec (remember that badge from FTOs and Evos of yore?) variable valve timing added. The engine can switch between Otto and Atkinson cycles, meaning it can make more power and torque when required (133bhp and 156lb ft up from 119bhp and 140lb ft in the 2.0) thanks to the extra CCs using the former cycle, but burn less fuel under lighter loads with the latter.
Which sounds great. Except it doesn’t. Put your foot down and you’re greeted with a monotone moan very similar to that of the old car, in that uniquely disappointing CVT fashion – lots of noise and not much acceleration. Only now, the noise is just a bit more distant than it used to be.
How can I spot a new Mitsubishi Outlander?
With difficulty. Mitsi’s goals for the 2019 update clearly didn’t include major styling changes. In fact, even sat next to an 18-spec car, it takes a few moments to spot the newer LED headlights, lightly tweaked front grille and bumpers. The new design for the wheels is the biggest giveaway.
Inside, there’s a tweaked instrument cluster, plus air vents and a USB port for rear passengers.
The sunroof has been relegated to the options list in an attempt to fend off the extra car tax premium buyers have to pay when pricing creeps above £40,000.
Strangley though, while we were impressed by the quilted leather upholstery on the seats of our test car, these are limited to the newly-introduced 5h and 5hs flagship models costing north of £40k.
Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid.
The new Outlander PHEV doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but then again it didn’t need to. Ironically while it originally landed at a good time, it’s more relevant now than ever before as the push for plug-ins intensifies.
Its PHEV tech is so effective, in fact, that it’s set to be rolled out to larger Renault and Nissan models in the coming years as that new alliance comes to fruition. In return, pure EV bits from the Leaf will go the other way and be used on smaller Mitsubishis.