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The Mitsubishi Outlander is a large, roomy seven-seater that’s easy to drive and perfect for a growing family.
There’s also a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version which is the same price as the petrol/diesels. However, the PHEV only seats five.
The Outlander has a stylish design, especially with its updated 2018 grille. If you’re after a calming and comfortable ride, then it’s worth considering.
If you don’t want to go for the PHEV, engine options are a little limited. The Outlander has always been well equipped, with the earlier GX3, GX4 and GX5 trim levels all including dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. Nowadays, the entry-level Design trim looks pretty lavish with added reversing camera and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The Outlander has a more conservative design when compared with many more style-conscious SUVs. There’s plenty of room for five to stretch out and get comfortable. There’s also a sensibly laid-out dashboard with some hard plastics, which is great if you have messy kids.
In terms of practicality, the petrol and diesel cars have a third row of seats that can fold flat into the boot and can be easily raised when you want to use them. These rear seats can accommodate adults but space is tight so it won’t be the most comfortable on long journeys. Like the third row of seats, the middle row also folds flat to the floor, so it’s really practical when you need to transport oversized items. The PHEV doesn’t have this advantage, as the battery lives under the boot floor.
All Outlanders have a large boot behind the second row of seats that’s well over 450 litres. The boot is wide opening and has no lip, which makes loading up the car easier as there’s nothing to lift your luggage over.
The ride is fine, smoothing out at higher speeds, so most people won’t be too bothered by the lack of driving thrills.
If you plug the PHEV in every night, you can drive gently for up to 30 miles on batteries alone, which is perfect if you have a short commute and have easy access to charging points. The Outlander is quiet when driving on its electric motors. The latest PHEVs have a bigger petrol engine to complement the electrics, but the weight of the batteries make them ride less comfortably and lean more in corners than non-hybrid versions.
The diesel and the petrol-only versions introduced in 2018 offer perfectly adequate performance.
The Outlander PHEV is extremely inexpensive to run if you want short daily mileage in urban or low-speed environments and if you have routine access to a charge point. Pre-2017 cars get the added benefit of free road tax, as well as exemption from the London congestion charge. PHEVs sold later than April 2017 attract an annual road tax of £130, but watch out for higher-spec cars which cost over £40,000 new as you’ll have the luxury car surcharge of £310 until the car is six years old.
The petrol is a good bet if you don’t do many miles and the diesel’s fuel consumption is much better (53 vs 33 mpg). But you really need to be driving more than 12,000 miles per year to make it work. As it has so many plus points, the PHEV tends to have prices that are a little higher.
Mitsubishi has a lot of experience building practical and tough vehicles like the Shogun and the L200 pick-up truck. This approach seems to have rubbed off on the Outlander which regularly scores highly in customer reliability surveys. That goes for the PHEV too. The battery comes with an eight-year warranty, but make sure you check the service record to make sure it’s still valid.
Safety is excellent thanks to a five-star Euro NCAP test and a particularly impressive score for occupant safety in an accident. Higher-spec models from 2017 onwards come with extra safety kit, including automatic emergency braking.
Best for economy - Design Petrol Hybrid Auto
Best for family - Dynamic Petrol Hybrid Auto
Best for fun - Dynamic Petrol Hybrid Auto
The Mitsubishi Outlander with the most obvious appeal is definitely the PHEV. But if you do regular long journeys, fuel consumption can be pretty high and the diesel engines make more sense. If you want seven seats, you’re restricted to non-hybrid models.
As for recommended trim levels, they all provide a reasonable level of kit at their respective price points. The post-updated models with the extra safety are worth a look, just be mindful of the possible luxury road-tax surcharge.