Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Commercial van review
There aren’t many plug-in hybrid light commercial vehicles (LCVs) on sale. In fact, at the moment the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Commercial is it, and it'll continue to be the only one until the Ford Transit Custom PHEV arrives. As the name suggests, the Mitsubishi is based on the popular Outlander PHEV SUV. But instead of having a three-seat bench in the back, it has a long, flat load area that reaches from the front seats to the tailgate. The rear windows have also been blanked out so that the Outlander PHEV Commercial qualifies as an LCV.
Due to its unique nature, the Outlander PHEV Commercial has no direct rivals. If you want a low-emissions LCV, the alternatives are the all-electric Nissan e-NV200 or Renault Kangoo Z.E., which may not offer the kind of driving range you require. Other commercial 4x4s are offered in the shape of the diesel-powered Toyota Land Cruiser Utility, as well as Mitsubishi’s own Shogun Commercial and Shogun Sport Commercial.
As well as having the back seats removed, the Outlander’s seatbelts, ISOFIX points and other seating components have been ditched, so you can’t retrofit the seats back in. But the doors remain for access to the load area – although the electric window switches are blanks and the windows no longer open. That’s because while the glass is still there, it’s backed by carpeted material that adds sound deadening and protects the glass from damage. In the past, the Commercial model featured body-coloured ‘windows’, but the current version has black glass, so it’s virtually impossible to distinguish the Commercial model from the Outlander SUV.
While the rear passenger area has changed, the Outlander PHEV Commercial is identical to the SUV in front and under the metal. That means it benefits from the same range of updates the five-seater received for 2019. There’s a new 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, plus a bigger 13.8kWh battery and more powerful electric motors.
This new setup promises an electric driving range of 28 miles, while top speed in electric mode has increased and overall economy is now 139mpg. As before, the Outlander PHEV Commercial has two charging connections, with the Type 2 connector taking four hours from a 230V source, and 25 minutes using the CHAdeMO socket and a high-voltage source.
One thing different about the new hybrid system is the addition of an 'EV priority' mode to the drive settings. This allows you to drive the Outlander PHEV Commercial for as long as possible on the two electric motors, at speeds of up to 84mph.
As with the SUV, the Outlander PHEV Commercial delivers a comfortable driving experience, so in that regard it might be more appealing than an electric van. The interior is much more luxurious than a van's, too. Mitsubishi offers the Outlander PHEV Commercial in Juro trim only: standard kit includes an interior preheater, an electric parking brake, rear camera, climate control, keyless starting and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The Outlander is designed for comfort rather than handling, so while you do get a relatively plush ride – certainly better than any electric van – there's a vagueness to its handling that means it’s not suited to sporty driving. The suspension is also firm, as it has to counter the weight of the drive system.
The Outlander PHEV Commercial is a unique LCV that offers niche appeal to buyers. If you need a commercial vehicle with some off-road ability, or you’re a business user that wants something other than a van to promote their business, it's worth a look. But the way that UK business tax rates work at the moment means the Outlander PHEV isn’t as tax-efficient as its SUV counterpart. At least you benefit from the same low everyday running costs, though.
For a more detailed look at the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Commercial, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.