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Discussion Starter #1
I'm no motoring journo hack but I'll be getting some hands on experience with the Outlander PHEV tomorrow morning at Mitsubishi HQ.

Anything people particularly want to know or find out?, just let me know and I'll ask.
 

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Update: Spent just over three hours in Cirencester yesterday with the Outlander PHEV. As an added bonus HQ were running a master tech training day to get their dealerships up to date so I got to meet their HO training guy and tour the mock workshop whilst getting a very detailed explanation of some of the onboard mech & tech. It was fascinating to see the PHEV in various states of deconstruction with everything neatly labelled up for the trainees Sadly, wasn't appropriate to take photos.

Could you ask if it is coming out with any decent finance packages? My test drive isn't till next month
Sorry, no news on finance packages. General feedback is that they have received a LOT of interest in the PHEV already, more than their expectations which were already fairly high based on the launch in the Netherlands. So read into that what you will. They seem to recognise they have a hot product with no direct competition so that could go one of two ways, if they choose to seize the opportunity to make a huge grab for market share in consumer & fleet markets with incentivised deals you might be lucky. On the other hand that requires the volume to be available to sell, and I didn't get the impression they were worried about shifting Outlander PHEVs.

So before I discuss first impressions of the Outlander PHEV its important to understand the context of my views and experience. I currently drive a similar ICE vehicle, a 2007 X-Trail that I've owned from new and have loved it. This was my first ever drive in an electric vehicle so I can't draw any comparisons with other EVs. So please bear in mind my inexperience. If I've missed anything of interest let me know and I'll try to respond if I can.

Ok, so overall - impressed, very impressed. There are some compromises for me, but for once the marketing taglines are telling the truth - this is a 'game changer' in the SUV market if Mitsubishi exploit their possibly brief market lead. I drove the GX4hs model which is the fully loaded version. I found most of the extras on this model superfluous and actually a little annoying and distracting. GX4h is what I'm ordering. Off the bat, once the obvious novelty of pressing the start button and not hearing a reassuringly gruff purposeful diesel engine clatter into life had passed it was er, strangely normal. Except quieter, and smoother - very smooth. The ride & handling setup was very impressive compared to the X-Trail (which I already rate as average/good). Coped well on dual carriageway, national speed limit roads where the car was firm and sharp, yet on the 30mph potholed streets and bumping around the tight small village streets there was little bounce & roll and the damping seemed to be just right - more comfortable than the X-Trail which seems a much softer setup. Not sure how they've achieved this, but very acceptably done IMHO.

Performance wise, there are plusses and minuses for me. The drivetrain performance and smoothness is simply great which I guess you'd expect from any EV. When the ICE does kick in its almost imperceptible as the sound insulation is very good. Beyond the 0-40 range I found the performance a little dull. On paper the Outlander has around 200bhp available but seemed lacklustre compared to my old 173bhp X-Trail. It didn't matter if the vehicle operated in series hybrid mode or EV only it just didn't maintain the punch that it has from take off. When running EV only and flooring the accelerator for a rapid overtake the ICE starts quickly and is briefly audible, the delay comparable with what you'd expect performing a kick-down in a standard auto, so very well implemented. Whether running in series hybrid, parallel, or charging mode the ICE is generally very very quiet. No odd high revving that has been described in the Ampera or lawnmower soundtrack of the BMW i3 REX. Economy is a tricky one to call. I was not trying to drive efficiently, and we were pushing the PHEVs performance capabilities whilst at the same time trying the various features like ICE charging. Over half the trip was on dual carriageway at typical brisk speeds. Despite all this abuse and starting only on 70% charge I returned just under 60mpg over an hour or so with around 60/40 of dual carriageway and around town. Not stellar, but if my focus has been on economy rather than finding the performance limits I can easily see how this could have easily been doubled. Certainly my typical commute could be completed 100% EV giving meaningless mpg figures.

Comfort: Great at speed, road noise and windage not overly loud compared with the X-Trail despite not having the Diesel engine to drown in out. Around town and in traffic, sublime. I guess that's the EV experience. Very smooth, easy, comfortable driving in stop-start traffic. Seats comfortable but a little flat and room seemed better than the X-Trail (I'm 6ft 2in). Certainly more space in the rear for passengers. No issues.

Technology wise, its a mixed bag. The Sat Nav will take some getting used to, it seems quite quirky but is feature rich and has full postcode & POI support. Maybe I'm used to the old Nissan system, but having used TomTom, Waze, Google as well this one seemed quite confusing and will take some getting used to. I did notice some lag when selecting options on the system as professional reviewers have reported. It's present, it shouldn't be, but its not a killer and you will get used to it. Bluetooth handsfree and Audio system worked well once the tricky pairing process had been completed. Usual tech suite finished off with a DAB radio system and full voice control system accessible via the steering wheel that seemed to understand my mongrel welsh/west-country accent with no issue.

Now for the bad, the Lane Departure warning was annoying and distracting. I quickly switched it off. The adaptive cruise control was ok, but didn't seem to work as well as I'd want it to. Maybe congested cramped British roads are too much of a challenge. I didn't test the forward collision mitigation :D These options I certainly won't miss by taking the GX4h instead of the GX4hs. The smartphone app is initially impressive, but unfortunately has a near fatal flaw. The functionality offered by the Mitsubishi remote control app allows you to view car status set charge & climate control timers, turn on/off headlights or parking lights, check the car alarm history and even perform a vehicle software update. However, and it a big HOWEVER, you need to be attached to the car's Wifi network. Yes, really, it has no internet connectivity it seems so you either need to be in the car or 'within range' which is described as 'several metres'. Fail. :rolleyes: That will be a future project of mine to install a small mock client Wifi/cellular bridge to internet enable the car.

Finally Practicality: Ok so passenger space seems good, load space is quite good but can't match the class leading capacious wide & square boot opening of the X-Trail. The raising of the boot floor looks a little clunky as it isn't all flat, there are wells right & left, but generally its a flat carpeted load space and the wells might help small things from flying around which is the X-Trails problem with its slippery wipe clean boot. Towing capability has been derated to 1500kg from the standard Outlander. Chatting to their tech trainers this is due to the extra weight from the EV kit, but when pushed on the achievable capability they were more bullish believing the low end torque and the lack of any clutch was a huge advantage so were very comfortable with 1500kg - no more burning clutch smells when dragging heavy boats up slipways! :rolleyes:.

So, is it the perfect vehicle for me. No, but the Outlander PHEV exists whereas my perfect vehicle doesn't. IMHO they've made some errors on the in car technology side. Leaving out remote telematics & internet connectivity is hard to believe, and there are compromises with range and performance but it has some brilliant positives which make it is peerless at the moment. So yes, I'll be placing my order for the GX4h on Monday. I'm told the main stock shipment to the UK is later than planned but significant UK stock is on a boat headed this way and expected soon (late May/early June) - maybe they have the Outlander sat-nav system :D
 

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Update: Spent just over three hours in Cirencester yesterday with the Outlander PHEV. :D
Did you happen to find out if the UK version has a 240 volt ac power outlet in the back instead of the 100v in the PDF blurb presumably for the US market seen here on page 10. http://www.chademo.com/pdf/mitsubishioutlander.pdf

That would be a very long lived supply for power tools in the field ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did you happen to find out if the UK version has a 240 volt ac power outlet in the back instead of the 100v in the PDF blurb presumably for the US market seen here on page 10. http://www.chademo.com/pdf/mitsubishioutlander.pdf

That would be a very long lived supply for power tools in the field ;-)
Nope it's not there. Would have been awesome for powering our portable fridge/freezer we use for camping & sailing. Unfortunately no 12V supply in the boot either.
 

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Nope it's not there. Would have been awesome for powering our portable fridge/freezer we use for camping & sailing. Unfortunately no 12V supply in the boot either.
OOOh big miss Mitsu UK. Hell I would have bought some 100volt power tools but not even that? I suppose we will have to connect a 12 volt DC to 240v AC inverter to the 12 volt auxiliary battery and risk welding the bonnet shut or starting a fire:rolleyes: but what a missed opportunity thought of and provided for in other marketso_O:confused:. Typical UK less is more....meaning pay more and get less:p!
They probably have stats to show that over 90% ofpeople buying 4x4s in Britain rarely use them for the purpose intended and knowing power tool power sockets are not much use on the urban school or shopping run they saved a couple of pennies.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OOOh big miss Mitsu UK. Hell I would have bought some 100volt power tools but not even that? I suppose we will have to connect a 12 volt DC to 240v AC inverter to the 12 volt auxiliary battery and risk welding the bonnet shut or starting a fire:rolleyes: but what a missed opportunity thought of and provided for in other marketso_O:confused:. Typical UK less is more....meaning pay more and get less:p!
It gets trickier, in the stripped down one I saw the auxiliary battery is under the boot floor right at the rear left hand side. I'll have to fit a heavy duty 12V terminal discretely without damaging anything as this will be a company car :mad:
 

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It gets trickier, in the stripped down one I saw the auxiliary battery is under the boot floor right at the rear left hand side. I'll have to fit a heavy duty 12V terminal discretely without damaging anything as this will be a company car :mad:
Yes they thought of the fire risk of user connected inverters then when taking all those useful power sockets back out again post production just for the UK market :p:mad:.
BTW not sure a motoring journalist would have spotted that:).
I have a friend who has specialised in car electrics for over 20 years and does home visits if that is any help. PM me and I will pass on his email.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes they thought of the fire risk of user connected inverters then when taking all those useful power sockets back out again post production just for the UK market :p:mad:.
Don't be too harsh on Mitsu UK its not on any of the European models. AFAIK there isn't a 240v option. It's factory fit in Japan where apparently this is becoming a fairly common feature on minivans etc.
 

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Don't be too harsh on Mitsu UK its not on any of the European models. AFAIK there isn't a 240v option. It's factory fit in Japan where apparently this is becoming a fairly common feature on minivans etc.
Not even in Scandinavia? So just make it an option. It is a very good one IMHO for this type of vehicle. To not have an option and hiding the auxiliary battery as well makes DIY that much more difficult. If it uses the traction battery a 240v ac inverter is closer to the nominal pack voltage so should be easier to convert DC to AC I believe.
Edit not just Europe who aren't allowed to or can't play/work outdoors anymore even if this journo author believes the contrary;
One of the features that Australian buyers wont get when the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arrives in April next year is the power out socket. In Japan and Europe, you can plug a household appliance into the Outlander – an excellent alternative to a generator when you go camping or when the power gives out – but given our differing power requirements, this won’t be available in Australian vehicles at launch.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Not even in Scandinavia? So just make it an option. It is a very good one IMHO for this type of vehicle.
Agree wholeheartedly. Who knows, maybe they have some issues based on their learnings in Japan where they've had the vehicle for about while now. Or there's the dev & approval costs - I hadn't realised their market share was so small. They don't have the volume of GM & Nissan. I'd still love the option though.

Interesting to see if the US market will get it when they finally launch.
 

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Agree wholeheartedly. Who knows, maybe they have some issues based on their learnings in Japan where they've had the vehicle for about while now. Or there's the dev & approval costs - I hadn't realised their market share was so small. They don't have the volume of GM & Nissan. I'd still love the option though.

Interesting to see if the US market will get it when they finally launch.
We may be one of the countries that has a numpty regulator that has to "approve" an in vehicle power socket supplying any more than 12 volts (with milliamps already incapable of charging some phones) under some "directive" before it can be fitted by any manufacturer especially now that working is illegal. Expect that to take at least 2 years of real work:rolleyes:.....but by Mitsu of course!:D
 

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Good review Paul. My brother is considering an Outlander PHEV so I've forwarded on the link to this thread. He currently drives an SMax and uses the 7 seats quite regularly so he was hoping the Outlander PHEV would have 7 seats (like the standard model) but it seems that's been dropped due to space restrictions.

He's also eligible for the Nissan employee discount scheme so it's looking like the new X-Trial is most likely what he'll go for but if it was my choice I'd be going for the Outlander.
 

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Interesting stuff, here in Australia the Outlander is very popular so it will be interesting to see what take up the PHEV has. Needless (?) to say every second car here is a 4x4, so it's the only viable PHEV for the larger market. Fascinating.
 
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