The average person in the UK lives about 10 miles from their workplace. Which is why Itâ€™s easy to see the appeal of a car that can travel that distance three times using precisely zero fuel.
Iâ€™ve tested the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV a number of times now and itâ€™s hard not to be dazzled by its prowess as a commuter car. My own 32-mile round commute and empty social calendar last month meant that my most recent one-week test failed to dent the fuel guage at all.
But, of course, itâ€™s not just a commuter car. The Outlander PHEVâ€™s big benefit might be its 33-mile EV-only range, but as an SUV itâ€™s also meant to be a practical, off-road capable family wagon for adventurous types.
Being the only plug-in SUV you could get in the UK used to be the Outlander PHEVâ€™s killer feature, but three years on from my introduction to the car, there are far more direct competitors on the market.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid Auto 4WD
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol with two electric motors
Transmission: CVT auto
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 11 seconds
CO2 emissions: 41g/km
Thereâ€™s the Kia Nero PHEV, which has a longer EV range and is cheaper, but considerably smaller than the Outlander. Thereâ€™s the Mini Countryman S E, which blends modern/retro MINI styling with a 26-mile EV range and at the premium end of the scale, the luxurious Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine which which comes with seven seats, unlike the Outlander â€“ Mitsubishi only offering the diesel version with seven berths.
So in the context of a far tougher marketplace, was I as impressed with the Outlander PHEV this time as I was before?
Yes and no.
The Outlander received a facelift last year, and the new grille â€“ all sharp angles â€“ is an improvement on the previous front end and does a good job of bringing it up to date. The profile is still pretty much two big slabs – which is what I want from an SUV, but it does look like it was conceived in a different century from recent offerings from competitors – like the Toyota CH-R. If thatâ€™s what the marketplace wants, then Iâ€™m not sure others will agree with my tastes.
That simple shape is a big tick in the practicality box however, and the 463-litre boot swallowed various suitcases and a childâ€™s bike with ease and no thought required as to whether a tasseled handlebar was going to burst through the rear windscreen when the power tailgate closed.
The Premium Nappa leather seats are an improvement on the old design, adding much-needed support and the 360-degree reversing camera takes a leaf out of the Volvoâ€™s book, another significant improvement on the old set-up.
Thereâ€™s no getting away from it though, despite admirable equipment levels, the interior dash is looking a bit tired and is a step behind all three of the aforementioned alternatives.
Now that the the Government plug-in car grant has changed, the Outlander PHEV is considered a â€˜category 2â€™ car, meaning a government grant of Â£2,500 â€“ as opposed to the Â£5,000 when the car was first launched. Thatâ€™s hit the car in the value stakes too and, including the grant, our test car came in at Â£41,455.
You can get an Outlander PHEV brand new for Â£435 a month on Mitsubishiâ€™s PCP finance scheme â€“ from Â£299 a month second hand. If, like me, you normally spend Â£160 a month on fuel that begins to look like pretty good value when you factor in the fuel saving.
And depending on what youâ€™re trading in, you could qualify for Mitsubishiâ€™s Â£4,000 scrappage scheme saving â€“ even better.
Itâ€™s no bad thing that thereâ€™s more competition in terms of plug-in SUVs, but while itâ€™s not as cheap as the Kia, as stylish as the MINI, or as good as the Volvo, thereâ€™s still plenty to recommend about the Outlander PHEV.