MITSUBISHI says that while it is cognisant of the fact that its pioneering
plug-in-hybrid SUV will not top the sales charts, it views the Outlander PHEV
(Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) as an amalgam of some of its finest work.
Speaking to journalists at the launch of the updated Outlander PHEV in
Adelaide, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) head of product planning
James Tol said that the model – the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV – was a
big first step into the era of hybrid technology.
“We pioneered it,” he said. “That’s really the key to this product – it’s an
SUV. We learned from i-MiEV and from Lancer Evolution, and our SUV know-how all
converges into this PHEV SUV product.
“For us, it’s a no compromise vehicle. We're really focused on getting this
technology into the mainstream. A functional and affordable SUV is our goal.
The total package that’s actually challenging the conventional view of electric
vehicles and hybrid vehicles.”
MMAL CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri told GoAuto that that Outlander PHEV was never
intended to be a sales leader, but a spearhead into the electric vehicle space.
“It is not a bread and butter car,” he said. “It is a very difficult car to
sell without government support.
“But it is an important car, and we want to be known as industry leaders with
Mr Oshikiri also suggested the relationship with the Renault-Nissan Alliance
will pay dividends going forward.
“Our partnership with Nissan, for example, will be important when it comes to
this technology. Not right now, of course, but into the future.”
The Outlander PHEV reflects the exterior styling update applied to the
mid-sized SUV range in April 2015, while inside, new multimedia systems have
Running changes to the body-in-white, suspension tune and electric drive
systems have also been applied.
Available in two grades, the Outlander PHEV has increased in price, up $3000 to
$50,490 for the entry-level LS, and by the same amount to $55,490 for the
top-spec Exceed. Both prices are before on-road costs.
On the outside, Mitsubishi’s corporate ‘dynamic shield’ grille and bumper bar
has been adopted, along with LED headlights and LED daytime running lamps,
while the rear bumper bar and silver faux diffuser plate are new, along with
LED tail-lights with integral foglamps.
New 18-inch alloys complete the exterior makeover.
The interior has been worked over with new seat fabrics – leather-accented
cloth for the LS and leather facings for the Exceed – added to more shapely
front pews, while a new steering wheel, padded centre console bin and new dash
finishes complete the makeover.
A new 7.0-inch multimedia system based on the company’s Smartphone Link Display
touchscreen unit adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as digital radio,
to both grades.
Electric folding and heated mirrors, an electronic park brake with auto hold
function and a DC-capable fast charging socket have also been added to both
Both have automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, steering wheel controls,
climate control air-conditioning, keyless entry and twin USB ports in the
Paddles behind the steering wheel offer manual control over the Outlander PHEV’
s regenerative braking system, while buttons to either charge or conserve the
battery are located on the centre console next to the joystick-style gear
The Exceed also gains adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with
pedestrian detection, surround-camera monitor, automatic high beam, lane
departure warning, blind spot monitor, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic
alert, and Mitsubishi’s ultrasonic unintended-acceleration mitigation system.
These safety features are not available for the LS, but both grades are rated
at a maximum of five stars from crash safety watchdog ANCAP.
A sunroof and powered tailgate also differentiates the Exceed from the LS.
The Outlander PHEV’s hybrid powertrain remains unchanged, with a pair of 60kW
electric motors – one on each axle – combining with an 87kW 2.0-litre
four-cylinder petrol engine and a single-speed transaxle gear system.
Mitsubishi claims a total power output of 120kW and 320Nm across all three
power sources for the all-wheel-drive Outlander.
“The best way to understand PHEV is, for most practical instances, it's
outputting 120kW through the two motors,” said Mr Tol. “As the speed creeps on
the highway, then it will go above 120kW, but we don’t actually quote our power
to get more than the combination of those two things, just by the simple way
that all the powertrains combine together.”
New for the Outlander PHEV is the EV Priority switch on the centre console,
which turns the PHEV into a pure electric vehicle until the battery is depleted
or a high power demand is made.
Mitsubishi says it has an EV range of 54km, with the 12kWh battery array under
the floor recharging from a household 10-amp socket in 6.5 hours.
It is supplemented by a 45-litre fuel tank. The claimed ADR fuel economy figure
is 1.7 litres per 100km – down from 1.9L/100km in the outgoing version – with a
CO2 output of 91 grams per kilometre.
The new DC (direct current) quick charge function adds the capability to
recharge the battery from zero to 80 per cent in 25 minutes. However, it is
estimated that there are only between 30 and 40 DC chargers Australia-wide at
Mechanical changes include a new front cross-member with a dynamic damper
mounted between it and the body, bigger front dampers, different rear springs,
more bracing for the body in white, two-piston front brake callipers and a
larger brake booster, and stiffer electric motor mounts.
Thicker rear door glass, more sheets of sound damping material, changes to
weather strips and underbody air dams have been added to decrease levels of
noise, vibration and harshness.
Mitsubishi sold 1665 Outlander PHEVs in the two years after the car’s local
launch in 2013, but moved just 45 units in 2016, as the local arm elected to
stop importing examples until the quick charge DC plug was added in the latest