Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

Some electrically powered cars – Tesla’s Model S and the BMW i3, for example – really go to town when it comes to interiors. They want you to know you’re in something quite different from the norm.

The Outlander PHEV, meanwhile, goes the other way entirely. Mitsubishi wants this to feel just like any other Outlander, with the electric element of it no more than a different powertrain – a third option after petrol or diesel. And therefore the PHEV’s interior is for the most part entirely unremarkable.

Visibility is good and the car's standard headlights offer plenty of illumination

You get the same overall layout as in the regular Outlander – which means it won’t have you scribbling postcards home about any of the perceived material quality or stylishness.

It’s a functional, workaday interior of the old-fashioned Japanese kind, doubtless screwed together efficiently from components that pass quality control 999,999 times out of a million, but lacking in flair, panache and surprise and delight.

The front seats are a touch flat, but all our testers found them comfortable, while the rear accommodation is good. Cup/bottle holders remain in the boot, but in this case there’s no option for a third row of two chairs to join them.

You get two pedals and a small Toyota Prius-like gearlever that slides around its gate in resistance-free fashion until it hits a switch, while the main display screen and the small readout between the dials convey information about the Outlander’s main point of interest.

Back to top

The only place the interior sways into interest, then, is in the display and control systems for the powertrain in higher-spec GX4h and GX4hs variants. The PHEV’s central multimedia display is one of the few places inside the Outlander where the hybrid’s operations are obvious, and where you can see and, to an extent, control what’s going on. Albeit quite slowly.

The Outlander’s central display can be painfully sluggish to respond to inputs; it’s particularly recalcitrant from start-up, but always you’ll find yourself waiting on it. Still, once it has deigned to let you know what’s going on, the range of information it’s able to give you is really quite comprehensive.

It is admittedly hard to avoid the feeling that you’re being allowed to browse through a set of diagnostics that some software engineers have put together, rather than using a set-up as slick, intuitive and consumer-focused as the power display options found in the BMW i3. With familiarity, though, you can navigate your way around everything.

Better designed is the app you can download for a smartphone. It syncs with your Outlander and makes it possible to control various functions, such as managing its charging or firing up the climate control.