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The new way forwards

 

At first glance, there’s nothing to indicate the astonishing technology that lies within the new Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Electric Hybrid Vehicle...

There’s a new badge here and there, but first impressions are of a spacious, sleekly designed SUV- another model from the popular Outlander Stable. Such impressions are intentional. Mitsubishi wanted to create a vehicle that’s easy to live with. No compromises, you might say. They’ve achieved it, too.

But that’s a small fraction of what they’ve accomplished with the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid. It’s the first time plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicle technology has ever come together in a SUV. This vehicle is the genesis of its kind and it’ll make you rethink the way you look at energy consumption. You may also rediscover your love of driving. It truly is the performance model of the Outlander range.

Unlike conventional vehicles, you have three drive modes. In full Electric Vehicle mode, you’re using pure, quiet electricity. You start by charging up, from any internal power point. This takes about 6.5 hours3 and costs about $1.412. This charge will give you up to 52km1 in Electric Vehicle mode. In Series Hybrid mode, the two 60kW electric motors run the wheels and the petrol engine charges the Lithium-Ion battery.

It’s worth noting that battery technology has been playing catch up for a while, but Mitsubishi’s new Lithium-Ion units are a real leap forward. In Parallel Hybrid mode, which kicks in at higher speeds, the petrol engine helps to drive the wheels. The modes are automatically selected for you.

Economy is another incredible achievement. 1.9L/100km1. From an SUV. It’s hard to believe, but there it is. Regenerative braking conserves even more energy and the driver can adjust the intensity using the paddle shift. As you can imagine, emissions are down as well at just 441 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Then, there’s the way it drives. The instant torque of the twin 60kW electric motors pulls very nicely. Handling is sharp and confident, thanks to a raft of tractions systems like Super-All Wheel Control plus Active Stability and Yaw Control. Off road, the Twin Motor 4WD system converts that responsive torque into incredible climbing ability.

And this is where you become aware of what a superb all-round vehicle it is. Sure, it can hold its own off road, but it’s a very comfortable, modern and safe family vehicle that’s equally at home beneath the trees of a school sports ground.

It has all the convenience, flexibility and safety that a family SUV should supply. And then some. Its cruise control adapts to the vehicle you’re following and it will even stop you to mitigate a collision if its radar detects a hazard but no brake input. These are just some of the features that contribute to the 5-Star ANCAP safety rating.

There’s a lot more to it than we can fit in here. For more information, Mitsubishi has made a range of videos that delve more deeply into the workings of this remarkable vehicle. With prices starting at $59,9904 for the XLS, little wonder they’re saying it’s just better.

Legals: VRX model shown.1.Fuel economy figures are official results based on test regime ADR81/02.2. According to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority: EECA advised off peak electricity rate of 15c/kWh.3. Approximate charge time and rate may vary.4. Price listed is for the XLS model and excludes On Road Costs of $750 which includes Registration, WoF and a tank of fuel.


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