By Scott Menz – Triple M Brisbane
For years I’d turned my nose up at city drivers with bigger cars. As a man at 31 years of age, I was at a life stage where I was convinced size didn’t matter. Now I get it.
Jumping out of my little hatchback and into the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Aspire, I feel like I’ve gone from a Motel 6 to the penthouse. Without the pretentiousness. The space, the seats, the sunroof!
But don’t get me wrong – this is not like driving a tank. Upon hitting the streets it’s clear the Outlander PHEV is a smooth ride, with the electric engine making it feel like gliding the streets, rather than revving down them. Within a few minutes I already feel like I’m doing the environment a favour, with a proud ‘conscientious citizen’ smirk on my face. But let’s face it, the best thing about this hybrid engine is getting around 50 kms on the electric engine, without using a drop of fuel. Once the engine starts to run low, kick it into ‘charge’ mode and the batteries recharge of the petrol engine. Genius.
Time to take this on a real road test. The Trip to Byron Bay. I packed up the Outlander with the road trip essentials:
Snacks – Check
Beach Towels – Check
Tunes – Check
Wife – I guess.. wait, no - Check
We hit the road. The PHEV’s entertainment system (MMCS) (Jumper link to MMCS link on PHEV) synchs to my iphone instantaneously, and soon enough I’m streaming my favourite U.S radio stations through the stereo via it’s latest version Bluetooth connection (in awesome, crystal clear, window rattling, toddler waking wattage).
Navigating the road from Brisbane to Byron Bay was simple enough with the PHEV Sat Nav, just punch in the Beach Hotel address and go. The cool little thing about this Sat Nav is the guidance of servos, snack stops and landmarks along the way.
Hitting the freeway, the most impressive thing about the technology in this car became apparent. The radar cruise control in the Outlander was seriously the easiest and smartest feature and it made the driver all the more safer.
Like most cruise controls, pick your speed, set it and go. Then, as the traffic slows down around you (which is inevitable on the M1 down to Byron), the car slows down too – to match the pace of the traffic. Weave safely from lane to lane without stop/starting. Basically, if every car had this feature, we’d be a lot better off as a commuter population.
As the kid sleeps in the back (which after the hatchback felt more like a palatial mansion), we cruise in comfort to our destination.
A quick bite to eat, swim and back in the Outlander. Easy in and out and enough space in the back to fit prams, beach gear and the inevitable 5+ bags the kid somehow always needs when leaving the house for a few hours.
It’s a 35 degree day, and as we slide back into the Outlander PHEV Aspire I crank the dual climate control and I kid you not, 2 minutes and it’s as cool as The Fonz slamming the jukebox on Happy Days. 18 degrees and comfortable.
The trip home leaves us relaxed, flick the radar cruise control back on and in no time we’re back in Bris Vegas.
There’s something about the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Aspire that made this drive special. Maybe it’s the leather seats, the intuitive entertainment system, maybe it’s the fact it’s electric hybrid engine make the drive so smooth.
Either way, I’m hooked.