June 26 Another Goodwood Festival of Speed is coming to an end. I’m holed up at the Goodwood Hotel waiting to drive the forthcoming Maserati Levante to Monte Carlo tomorrow on a feature. Obviously, I’ve enjoyed the Outlander PHEV but am expecting a few more thrills in the Italian SUV (plus bigger fuel bills!).
So, since I last drove the PHEV more and more manufacturers have announced their intentions to go hybrid big time. We are about to be swamped with super-frugal cars of every shape and size.
I think the Outlander PHEV was something of a ground-breaking model in that respect. It wasn’t the first petrol-electric but it does seem to be the car that has convinced the great British public that a hybrid isn’t flakey.
It offers many of the qualities of a ‘conventional’ car without making ownership a compromise. It’s also very roomy, practical and reasonably priced – all backed up by Mitsubishi reliability. I like it in electric mode – it is just a shame the driving experience under petrol power is rather lifeless and uninspiring.
But don’t let me put you off. This is Mitsubishi’s best-selling model for good reason…
You don’t have to be a petrolhead to realise that a lot of cars look pretty much the same these days. And I don’t just meet the corporate ‘branding’ either.
The worst offenders are in the SUV sector. There’s only so much you can do to a five-seater with four-wheel drive and boot space to make it style differently.
Which is probably why the ageing looks of the Shogun actually give it a bit of kudos these days. All those curves and muscle-bound wheel arch extensions – it’s a throwback to the turn of the century.
I’ve surprised myself with a growing liking for the Mitsubishi parked outside this week. It’s not an angular beast like many utility vehicles. I like it because it does stand out from the crowd and stay true to Shogun roots.
Sometimes I start to doubt my objectivity when a car that is supposed to be the dog’s nuts isn’t quite what I expected. I’ve read a rash of other reviews on the PHEV this week and they all seem to praise a wonderful car.
Well, not all of them. Clarkson (remember him?) didn’t like it at all. Mainly because he felt the Outlander wasn’t a good vehicle in the first place. I never thought I’d agree with JC but he’s spot on with the Mitsubishi.
I heap praise on Mitsubishi for building a plug-in that is backed up by a petrol-electric hybrid power plant but the Outlander remains a rather soul-less SUV, with a sleepy 2.0 petrol engine and fairly painful styling.
Most depressing of all is that you will never achieve the claimed 148mpg driving in the real world. The PHEV has averaged 32mpg over the last week. It can only go ‘super-mpg’ if you use it on very short journeys in electric mode.
And as the PHEV only has a battery only range of 32 miles, well, you see my point.
Maybe this is the start of a rash of plug-in hybrid models which will improve with time? I hope so because the idea is a good one – just poorly executed in this case.
I imagine the court case has already happened – man run over by silent electric car. If not, it’s going to soon. As I pulled out of a hotel car park this afternoon a kindly old chap walked straight out of the foyer and in front of the PHEV.
Should electric cars have a ‘sound’ added to their drivetrain to warn pedestrians? What if somebody steps out in front of an electric car and then claims they simply didn’t hear the vehicle approaching?
Of course, noise pollution can be damaging too. So quite how we get around this issue as more and more electric cars like the Mitsubishi appear on our roads is one that’s open for debate.
Fortunately, the Outlander has exceptionally good brakes. That didn’t stop an angry man waving two fingers in my direction…
More beeping noises with the PHEV! This time it’s when I leave the key in the ignition. But it’s not a gentle ‘ping’ a la BMW. No, the Mitsubishi goes into an insistent rant which makes heads turn at the filling station (I’m topping up again. Remember the PHEV only has a 45 litre capacity).
Now I know that in America cars have every kind of safety device to ensure manufacturers aren’t sued under crazy public liability laws but this is England. May I suggest we simply don’t need such vulgarities?
I’m becoming a little paranoid by the Outlander’s warning devices and alarms. Using the PHEV on a daily basis is not a joyous experience because I’m constantly being told what I can and can’t do with dull monotony.
I would just like to get in, shut the door, press the start button and drive away with no fuss, no stress. Sadly, I think I’m more likely to see petrol at 50p a litre and a Labour government come May 8…
It may be the Easter Saturday traffic but I’m in a moody of unequalled grumpiness. Just why the British have nothing better to do than shop on the weekend is beyond me. That and reality TV is turning our brains to mush.
It’s the kind of day when I want to step out of my house and drive a car that rubs happiness onto my troubled brow. Instead, I’m being audibly assaulted by the Mitsubishi Outlander’s annoying array of warning sounds every time I go near the fecking thing.
For example, why do I need three loud beeps to tell me that the auto-boot closure is operating, when I have just pressed the button myself to operate it? One gently ping would be more than sufficient. There are warning bells for lane departure, door left open, gear select – all the things I actually know anyway.
But what really takes the biscuit is the fact the infotainment system on the Outlander is incredibly s-l-o-w. So when I slip the incredible gearlever into reverse and look at the rear-parking camera, the image doesn’t immediately show me the distance lines I would expect – or sound a distance alert!
The one bloody safety system I want to use is fast asleep. Frankly, I’m not impressed Mitsubishi…
You’ve read all the fluff about the brave new world of electric cars. However, even the stylish, beautifully-proportioned Tesla (tested elsewhere on this site) falls foul of the lack of plug-in infrastructure in the UK.
What we need is a plug-in vehicle that removes that worrying feeling you are just about to run out battery life in the middle of nowhere. So, until there are plug-in points on every street corner, the Outlander PHEV is the perfect solution.
PHEV is the first plug-in vehicle that has the reassuring back up of a hybrid petrol-electric system – so you will never have the stress of searching for a plug-in point miles from home.
It’s brilliantly simple – like most great ideas – and that’s why it’s now the UK’s No. 1 plug in. The PHEV does everything and is also a sports utility vehicle, a booming car sector in Britain.
Add four-wheel drive ability and you start to understand why this five-seater is proving so popular. We also like the way it looks at Car Couture and with a lot of miles to cover this week, I’m looking forward to seeing how the PHEV copes in the real world of Bank Holiday traffic.
Back in London for a meal at the Australian Embassy tonight. My trousers are still busting from yesterday’s afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel, in Kensington. You haven’t been? It’s like stepping back in time – amazing.
The Shogun and I have trundled up to Maida Vale to catch the Tube down to the Strand later. Oddly I’m parked next to an exact replica – except it’s a three-door Shogun, with wrecked alloys from serving it’s time in the capital.
The Shogun isn’t really cut out for high-speed motorway work. It’s noisy when pushed hard, although it it one of the few places where the inadequate chassis isn’t upsetting the ride quality.
Will I miss the Mitsubishi? Possibly. It gets under your skin after a while. The Shogun has retro charm and the styling is distinctive. I know that it will cope with anything I want it to do off-road and that 3.2 four-cylinder engine will keep going and going for years.
However, although it competes well with the likes of Land Rover and BMW on price, I think I want my SUV to be a little more well-mannered on the road – and visually more appealing both inside and out.
You could never accuse the Shogun of being a ‘Chelsea tractor’ – which is exactly where I am today. I saw a posse of them in Gloucestershire on the drive up this morning but not a single one around Sloane Square.
The Mitsubishi was always aimed at the country set and it sold incredibly well because it was robust and great in the mud. The problem now is that even the green weepy brigade prefer a car that can tow a horse box AND be a luxury people-mover too.
Which means that while the Shogun can’t compete with the upmarket Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers (even though it is much cheaper than both), there are also loads more 4x4s on the market today that cost less than Shogun – and are just as good!
My advice? If you are after a Shogun for its mud-plugging ability, go for the entry-level versions and not the luxurious SG4. Three door versions start at just over £26k, and the five door at £28.5k. Now that’s good value for money.
The devil is in the detail and after four days in the Shogun, I’ve compiled a list of minor irritants which potential buyers might want to consider before opening their wallets. None of them are major but they are the sort of issues you only discover after owning the car for a few days – and perhaps not on a ten minute test drive!
Adult passengers sitting in the back can’t get their feet under the front seats unless the electric height adjustment is raised. You can, however, recline the rear seats.
The side-hinged, rear-door is very heavy because the rear wheel is attached to it. It also sounds incredibly ‘tinny’ when you slam it shut. This is not a Land Rover.
Steering is vague at the best of times. There have been a number of ocasions when I have steering into a low speed corner and had to correct my line. It’s obviously more noticeable at higher speeds.
There are an assortment of rattles! Our SG4 is the top spec model but has only covered 17,000 miles. It’s surprised how much noise vibrates from the interior.
The Shogun does not have a DAB radio, which is kind of odd considering it cost £37k.