The cars we specifically drove for this test wear Japanese plates, and we had the opportunity to drive one right-hand drive model specified for the Australian market, one left-hand drive example, and one development mule from before the launch, which the Mitsubishi test crew had managed to accrue close to 500,000km on.
We were also testing the vehicles at Mitsubishi’s own Tokachi proving ground in Hokkaido, Japan, a fascinating insight into what kinds of conditions the Outlander PHEV was developed under.
When it comes to pricing, an Outlander PHEV can be had from $55,590 in Australia for the base ES model (in my opinion, the best value PHEV in Australia right now, despite some significant spec omissions), to a top of $69,990 for the Exceed Tourer grade.
Interestingly, the example we tested was more reflective of an Exceed spec ($67,490 locally) complete with the 20-inch wheels and tarmac tyres which would not be an ideal choice for the kinds of conditions we put it up against in this test.
The Mitsubsihi and its particular interpretation of a PHEV system is significantly different from some of its local rivals, which include the front-wheel drive MG HS +EV (from $46,690) and Ford Escape ST-Line PHEV (from $54,940).
For all-wheel drive and something with a similar cabin size to our Outlander here, you will actually need to spend significantly more to get into the Kia Sorento GT-Line PHEV, which starts from a whopping $81,080, at which point you might as well also consider the Lexus NH 450h+ (from $90,923).
Now you have an idea of the lay of the plug-in hybrid land, it’s a bit easier to see Mitsubishi has deliberately placed itself here to try and make the tech more appealing to those considering a hybrid despite it costing nearly $17,000 more than the equivalent petrol version.
Highlights for the standard ES grade include LED headlights, a digital instrument cluster, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 9.0-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, push-start ignition, and most of the available active safety items.
Not so good on the ES is the basic cloth seat trim, polyurethane steering wheel, and lack of some basic items like keyless entry.
Oh, and for some reason the ES is a five-seat proposition only. You can get a seven-seat PHEV, but you’ll need to pay more for the Exceed grade.
Obviously something has to give to keep the price so low for the entry ES, and if you work your way up the range, the missing key items re-appear very quickly.
For more, make sure to check out Richard Berry’s launch review and long-term instalments for how the Outlander PHEV behaves on the road as a family car.