Outlander plugs into future The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has just previewed in New Zealand and the SUV is bent on turning the world of hybrid electric vehicles on its head.
The PHEV (which stands for Plug-in-Hybrid-Electric-Vehicle), is the first four-wheel-drive off-road plug-in electric hybrid in the world.
We will be the fourth market - after the US, Europe and Australia - to enjoy what Mitsubishi New Zealand predicts will make up 20 per cent of global sales by 2020.
The Outlander in regular guise is Mitsubishi's best-selling model, with the most expensive petrol-powered variant costing $56,990.
The Outlander PHEV will be the range flagship, retailing at $59,990 in XLS trim and $66,990 for the top-end VRX.
Mitsubishi NZ expects the vehicle will be on sale in April next year and supply will be limited to 25 cars a month, with many dealers around the country having demonstrators on hand.
In the looks department, new 18-inch alloys and front and rear scuff plates unique to the PHEV give the Outlander a more planted stance. Despite weighing 280kg more than the base petrol Outlander, there is no real difference in ride height.
It is also only available as a five-seater with no seven-seater variant.
An 89kW two-litre MIVEC petrol engine is combined with front and rear electric motors (60kW each). Three driving modes - EV, Series and Parallel Hybrid - are seamlessly switched between one another to suit the road and driving conditions.
EV generates power solely from using the electric motors while Series uses the engine as a generator to charge the batteries. Parallel mode uses the engine to provide power at high speed or on steep inclines, while still recharging the battery.
Able to run 52km in EV mode, the PHEV also has extended hybrid range of more than 800km.
A full charge from flat by using a 10A plug takes six and a half hours, costing you $2.60.
Customers can partially charge to 80 per cent in just 40 minutes.
With no conventional gearbox to mention, the paddles behind the steering wheel serve a much greener purpose.
Flicking down on the left paddle creates up to five stages of regenerative braking, meaning the use of partial conventional braking is kept at a minimum.
The in-car entertainment screen shows your current charge and where those watts and volts are going.
Mitsubishi is also offering punters an app for their smartphones which links to the car itself. Compatible with Apple iOS and Android, the app allows PHEV owners to monitor the charging process, check the status of their doors and headlights, even set the air con temperature before you get in.
The Outlander PHEV's nearest competitor in New Zealand will be the Lexus RX450 hybrid, but they are more than twice the price at $125,400.