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BabyDrive Verdict

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The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a five-seater plug-in hybrid SUV. Using both petrol and battery power you can switch between the two at your will as well as choose to charge or save the battery range too, using buttons below the gear lever, in the central console.

The difference between the PHEV and say the Toyota Rav4 hybrid, is that you can drive the PHEV much further on battery, including at motorway speeds, whereas you can't drive far or fast on electricity alone in a traditional hybrid like the Rav4 or Nissan Pathfinder etc.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a battery range of about 54km, which is enough for most peoples daily school run and commute, so if your commute includes some motorway driving then you can still use your battery and save on fuel.

I have assessed both the five-seater Outlander and the seven-seater Outlander before, so I know about their internal space and family practicality and nothing had changed there. I really wanted to see what this plug-in hybrid was going to be like to use as our daily family car and a BabyDrive! Let's find out:

The 54kms was plenty for our daily kindy drop off, pick up and commute. I charged the Outlander in the evening from our regular socket in the garage and it took about seven hours to fully charge. With a wall box, I am told it takes about three hours.

There is a handy visual on the media screen which tells you when you are using battery or engine power and what your range is.

The range for battery and petrol are also shown in front of your steering wheel, so you know exactly what you have left on both. What I found myself doing was using the battery for our daily lives around town and then when I had longer trips switching to both engine and battery.

I found the Outlander PHEV to be a lot quieter than the petrol or diesel models and to have a much smoother and more responsive ride.

Now for the family practicality, I previously tested the five-seater Mitsubishi Outlander LS and was impressed with how spacious it was and the situation is the same in the five-seat Outlander PHEV. Legroom is great in both rows and a 182cm driver can sit in front of a rear-facing child seat or you could have tall passengers in the front and the back.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the same as the petrol and diesel Outlanders when it comes to fitting child seats.

There are three top tether anchorages across the rear seatbacks, they are within plastic guides but you can't attach the top tether clip the normal way; it will only attach from behind, which can make eliminating twists in your top tether strap difficult.

There are ISOFix points in the two outer rear seats too. When fitting child seats you need to consider the central seatbelt buckle and you definitely do not want to sit on it! It sticks up, on such a rigid stalk so you can not move whichever seat you have in the central seat beyond that point, which makes fitting more than two child seats almost impossible.

That said, I managed to squeeze these three child seats into the back row BUT no other combination of seats I tried would fit because of that central seatbelt buckle.

Another contributing factor is the seats have a hard plastic mechanism in each side of the base which means you can not move the child seats outwards any further or the child seats will not sit against the seat of the car.

If you really need to fit three child seats in the Mitsubishi Outlander then you would be best having lots of seats tested until you find three that will fit with these things in mind. Otherwise, it is a more practical two child seat car.

Boot space is really good in the Outlander PHEV and there are cup holders on top of the rear wheel arches!! These were obviously designed for the third-row passengers in seven-seater Outlanders but when they're not being used you have cup holders in the boot… AMAZING!!! I had somewhere to put my hot drink whilst I loaded the boot and strapped bub into her seat, then I could collect my cuppa and close the boot on my way to my driver's seat!

There are also really good plastic wells on either side of the boot behind the wheel arches which we found great for storing lunch boxes etc so they didn't move around the boot.

The boot of the Outlander PHEV would hold fifteen shopping bags when empty, which one more than the Toyota Rav4 that takes fourteen.

There is no spare wheel with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which is a consideration, instead there is some good underfloor storage where the charging leads are kept.

Inside the cabin, the storage is quite minimal, the glove box has an extra shelf at the top which I found handy for popping the iPad in when we parked up.

There are two well-sized cup holders in the front and back for disposable and reusable coffee cups. The front door bins are a good size for holding large refillable water bottles, the rear door bins will only hold 600ml bottles and there are wells in the door handles.

The media system in the Outlander is basic and simple to use, it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is great! I did find the PHEV a very beepy car, with chimes and bells and ringing alarms for a lot of things like seatbelt when you first get in, having the driver's door open with the engine on, coming towards a red light or speed camera. All these things and more set off deafening tones that seemed even louder with the quieter PHEV.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is quite a pleasant car to drive around in and I very much enjoyed the quieter and smoother ride compared to petrol and diesel Outlanders. Driving my daughter to sleep using the battery alone and sitting with the aircon running while she napped and not using fuel was great.

The interior has a modern feel and the shiny black plastic which I am personally not a fan of, combined with the plain black leather made for a nice look.

Overall the five-seater Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is quite a practical everyday BabyDrive, the 54kms of battery range is enough for most daily commutes and drop off and great for day naps too. Being able to get up to motorway speeds on the battery is a great advantage of this plug-in hybrid over its traditional hybrid competitors and charging nightly at home was easy.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2014 and has seven SRS airbags as standard.

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