Mitsubishi’s UK boss Lance Bradley believes the Outlander 4Work PHEV’s time will come once the Government moves to link the rate of tax operators pay for light commercial vehicles to their emissions, as is already the case with cars.
But Bradley acknowledges it is a niche vehicle and will remain so, filling a specific need for customers who need some limited off-road ability. Last year Mitsubishi sold 105 4Work PHEVs, an almost identical tally to the diesel variant. If customers do want to drive it into London however, then they won’t have to pay the Congestion Charge and it also, of course, qualifies for the Plug-in Van Grant, giving it a still not insubstantial price tag of £23,132, excluding VAT, for the new higher trim GX3H+ 4Work model driven here.
But for florists or gardeners, for example, who need to venture off the tarmac and for whom a 500kg payload and 1.6m3 load volume is sufficient, it could make sense.
Facelifted in October 2015, the PHEV features new styling inside and out. The cabin now feels plusher and more comfortable and is also quieter due to improved sound-proofing. Surfaces are finished in understated black and chrome and the plastic is softer than before.
The level of specification is generous with a leather steering wheel and gearshift knob, cruise control, dual-zone air-conditioning, parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and protective rubber load area mat,
The exterior retains the 18-inch alloys of the pre-facelift van but these are now two-tone spoke design, there is a more prominent three diamond Mitsubishi badge with added chrome, slimmer wraparound headlamps and new bumpers to the front and rear.
On the road the PHEV is impressively refined with responsive steering and smooth automatic single-gear transmission. Mitsubishi claims it can travel, in silence apart from the well-suppressed road noise, for 33 miles on battery power alone but when the petrol engine does kick in it is far from intrusive.
The manufacturer claims to have improved fuel economy from 148 to 156mpg and shaved CO2 emissions from 44 to 42g/km.
Brake regeneration paddles on either side of the steering wheel enable the driver to replenish the two 60kW electric motors by choosing from five settings of braking sharpness while on the move. The system slows the vehicle’s speed when the driver releases the accelerator and we found by selecting setting ‘5’ we rarely needed to use the footbrake. Choose ‘Charge’ mode to get the engine to replenish the battery while on a motorway, for example, or flick the ‘Save’ switch to maintain the level of charge while driving.
As a car-derived van accessing the 4work’s load area is far from ideal but at least there are doors on both sides as well as the rear tailgate. We were pleased to see a mesh bulkhead fitted to protect the cab from the cargo box.
A niche product with impressive refinement and economy but some customers may baulk at the price
|Mitsubishi Outlander GX3H+ 4Work 2.0 PHEV|
|Price (ex VAT, inc Gov grant) £23,132|
|Price range (ex VAT, inc Gov grant) £22,499-£23,132|
|Insurance group 12E|
|Service intervals 1yr/12,500mls|
|Load length 1780mm|
|Load width (min/max) 930mm/1320mm|
|Load bay height 1040mm|
|Gross payload 495kg|
|Load volume 1.6m3|
|Engine size/power 1998cc/119hp – two 60kW electric motors|
|On sale October 2015|
|Combined fuel economy 156mpg|