Living with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Living with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Living with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Is a used Outlander PHEV a more sensible buy than a new one? And can you really get a gazillion mpg in one?

Our 8,000-mile Outlander is fitting into everyday life rather well. The novelty value of such a big beast running around town in monastic silence on electric power hasn’t gone off yet.

The five-mile commute of the main user, Mark, can all be done on electricity only, with the daytime workplace charging through a wall-mounted quick charger turning out to be enough to get the car home and then back into work again the next morning. Plugging it in takes a matter of moments and we’ve experienced no problems so far with the procedure.

Weather plays a part in how many miles Mark can get from a full charge, though. In good conditions, it’s about 28 miles; in lower temperatures, that halves to just 14 miles. That’s marginal for his commute because in the real world his 10-mile round trip takes away at least 15 miles of indicated range.

Life gets a bit more complicated on longer trips and over the weekend, as Mark has no home charger. Calculating the car’s exact fuel consumption is proving to be less than straightforward too.

Some amazing figures sometimes pop up on the digital readout in electric-only mode (400mpg-plus), but usually it’s around 135mpg, not that different to the official claimed average of 166.1mpg. Unfortunately, when the engine joins in, it more commonly shows 20-25mpg.

Trying to come up with the best driving method for maximum economy is another learning process for Mark. The PHEV has paddles to alter the level of regenerative braking and buttons to charge up the battery while the car’s on the road. The effects of pressing the Eco mode button are yet to be calculated. The Outlander PHEV rewards owners who put in a bit of research as there’s no shortage of advice on internet forums.

Our 2015 example seems to have been well looked after as it’s showing few signs of wear. One thing is worth mentioning, however. A marble (or something like that) has at some point become trapped somewhere behind a door card or in a seatbelt anchorage point. Under acceleration and braking, it rolls around.

Mitsubishi has offered to sort this out, and that will happen when there’s a spare moment to drop the car in with them. Oddly, the noise has morphed from intensely annoying into almost soothing. Maybe every car should have a marble.

Elsewhere, the DAB radio hasn’t yet made a similar transition from ‘annoying’. The patchy reception has forced Mark to switch to FM, where the sound quality is relatively awful but at least it doesn’t cut out just as a joke punchline, crucial travel update or Hercule Poirot verdict is about to be delivered. Maybe Hercule can contribute a few ideas on working out the fuel consumption.

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