Driven Green vehicle of the year
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Kiwis need look no further for best hybrid SUV on the market
The Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (hence acronym PHEV) deserves to be a prime mover for Mitsubishi.
In July there were 100 of them on our roads, double the number of all comparable electric vehicles ever sold in New Zealand, thanks in part to the price - $59,990.
Mitsubishi cannibalised a number of its models to make the PHEV, snaffling electric vehicle technology from the i-MiEV, the all-wheel-drive stuff from the rally-bred Lancer EVO, and bits of the off-road capability delivered in the Pajero.
As an SUV, the Outlander PHEV is the first of its kind that lets you plug it in to recharge the electric motors at home or at work. It'll also recharge on the move as power from the engine is directed into those batteries (along with the kinetic energy generated by the wheels). When it needs more power, the 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine kicks in.
The upshot is a ridiculously low reliance on unleaded petrol to get you about. With batteries fully charged you can cover about 50km on them alone. It's fully recharged in three to five hours and there's an app for your smartphone that lets you manage exactly when the PHEV starts downloading electric top-ups.
There are others in this realm but most are dearer and none have its capacity as a four-wheel-drive SUV. It has stolen a march on the rest.