The Outlander isn’t the world’s most exciting SUV to drive when it only has an internal combustion engine, so the addition of a battery cell and a couple of electric motors can’t be expected to improve things.
The ride remains fine, however, which isn’t always the case with EVs, and it felt every bit as compliant and smooth as its conventional counterpart. Which means not outstandingly compliant, but competitive and quite acceptable.
It also steers with easy linearity and well balanced grip, which makes it quite an unremarkable companion in everyday driving – and we mean that in a good way.
Handling is notable for its lack of remarkableness. This is an 1870kg car and, although only 54 percent of that mass is over the front wheels, it’s not one designed to be poised in any kind of BMW-like way.
This Outlander handled mostly like the diesel variant tested last year: not brilliantly, but competently and safely. As you’d expect, it’s never short on traction.
Body roll in corners is pronounced, but it doesn’t undermine lateral grip, while the steering retains good authority even at full lean. Pitch isn’t as severe as roll, so directional stability is good.
Mitsubishi’s stability control could be more subtle, but it keeps things in check in the wet and is fully switchable for off-road use.
On wet grass and muddy tracks, the Outlander PHEV does credit to Mitsubishi’s brand values. The instant torque of the electric motors makes it easy to crawl up slopes and maximise available traction.
The S-AWC torque vectoring set-up juggles power to the benefit of momentum and stability, while the off-road angles put the car in the more rugged half of the mid-size 4x4 class. This isn’t a go-anywhere 4x4, but it’s more capable than most customers will require it to be.
This is an SUV with a small ‘s’, but it is none the worse for it. It isn’t great to drive, but it’s easily good enough.