Mitsubishi has updated its plug-in hybrid Outlander but it remains a tough sell, with an electric-only range of just 54km.
The main drawcard for the new model is a larger, 2.4-litre petrol engine, for those times when you’re not operating on battery power — and that’s most of the time.
It delivers 94kW of power and 211Nm of torque, compared to the previous 2.0 litre’s 87kW/186Nm, promising a better driving experience, with a wider spread of torque.
You might notice the output is a little less then the regular Outlander, but that’s because the engine is set up to run on the leaner Atkinson cycle (look it up).
Despite the fact it has a bigger battery, with 15 per cent more capacity and 10 per cent more output — the electric-only range of the new model has not changed one iota.
Ironically, however, overall fuel consumption (power and petrol modes combined) rises from 1.7 to 1.9L/100km — splitting hairs, perhaps?
Understanding the big picture helps.
Mitsubishi is targeting those people who live near the city and could conceivably commute in and out on a single charge, or even better have access to a charge point at their place of work or shopping destination.
Run out of charge and it doesn’t really matter because the car will seamlessly flip over to the petrol engine and get you home.
Mitsubishi claims the PHEV offers a real-world EV driving range that suits the kind of use that most family cars are put to: short city and suburban drives in stop-go traffic (where internal combustion engines are least efficient).
And, thanks to the seamless integration of the petrol engine, there is no range anxiety (or need for a second vehicle) for longer drives.
In reality charging the car is a pain in the butt, as we discovered when we test drove the PHEV last year.
At the very least you need off-street parking and access to a power point which could mean asking other member of the household to move their car out of the way, so you can get access.
Charging takes approximately 7 hours with a standard household outlet, 3 hours with a dedicated charger or 25 mins using a DC fast charger.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV offers three Drive Modes, all automatically activated by the PHEV Operating System: