Mitsubishi Outlander VRX PHEV long-term review: a different kind of power
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Mitsubishi Outlander VRX PHEV
- Easy to charge
- Lots of driver-assistance features
- Spacious and practical
- EV range can drop quickly
- No seven-seat option on PHEV
- Infotainment screen seems meagre
My first memory of a Mitsubishi vehicle dates back to more than a decade ago on a trip to Dubai as a teenager, where a Mitsubishi Pajero was cruising through the desert sand dunes like no one’s business. I've associated the brand with “power” from the first acquaintance.
As far as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is concerned, I have seen many around, have liked the shape and look of the vehicle but never actively gave any conscious thought to it.
As a person actively looking to make changes to my lifestyle, to contribute to a more energy efficient and sustainable planet, my general opinion about electric and hybrid vehicles is rather positive. I am a fan of SUVs and thus, Mitsubishi Outlander serves as a perfect blend –as a PHEV-SUV. My favourite feature before I even drove the vehicle was the fact that it is a plug-in hybrid, which has the people with “range anxiety” covered!
Once the vehicle is powered on, you don’t hear the usual rumbling sound of an engine; this was a first for me and I quite enjoyed the fact that the car is so silent. The supplementary features like cruise control, lane assist and the 360-parking assistance come in handy and add immensely to the overall driving experience.
I did try the car in the Sport mode, and yes, the engine does roar and the way the car speeds up is remarkable.
The interior has a very clean and minimalist look. The gearshifter, brake control and the heated-seat buttons are conveniently located, giving the whole console a precise and polished feel.
I was a bit disappointed with the multimedia screen. It looks a bit outmoded and meagre – definitely something Mitsubishi could improve on. Another factor I dislike is that it is a five-seater vehicle, which is just a shame for a car of such size. The conventional Outlander is available as a seven-seater, but apparently the PHEV technology doesn't allow room for the extra row in this model.
It could be an amazing blend of SUV, PHEV and a family car with seven seats, although, it does have a sizeable boot space, capable of storing your groceries, camping equipment and the like.
While driving, the range of the vehicle fluctuates considerably. When I started my journey from home to work one day, it showed 53km on EV (it was on charge overnight and was the max electric range), but as soon as I started driving, it dropped to 46km and few minutes on the cramped-up Auckland motorway, it dropped to 32km. It might be dispiriting to see the range drop, but you do have the petrol engine waiting, to help you complete your commute if the electric battery runs out of juice.
I assumed I would have trouble plugging in the EV to charge overnight at home, but to my surprise, it was pretty straightforward. You plug the end to the socket on the wall and the other to the EV charging port of the side of the vehicle and you’re good to go. It took almost seven hours for it to be completely charged. I plugged in at almost 10 km of range and the next morning, it showed 53km.
The car was parked in an uncovered port, so I was concerned about the rain (living in Auckland!) ruining the charger. A quick Google search revealed that the chargers are waterproof, even if you dip the car-end of the charger in a bucket full of water, it won’t do any damage.
Overall, I always had a positive opinion about PHEVs and the Outlander just helped solidify that. It is a fabulous vehicle; the exterior and the interior of the car are absolutely superb and makes for such a great sustainable vehicle.