Hybrid vehicles haven’t typically been portrayed as strong or versatile vehicles; they do one thing, really, really well. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is on a mission to change those perceptions though, having just completed the difficult and nearly 2,000 km course in less than 20 hours.
Mitsubishi says that the Outlander PHEV covered 1,986 kilometers, or about 1,234 miles, in a time of just 19 hours and 17 minutes, traversing the jungles, mountains, and historical sites that the Asia Cross Country Rally (or AXCR) encompassed this year. Stops included Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh, and thanks to the addition of a rally-tuned suspension, the Outlander PHEV was able to make the journey without much difficulty.
The Mitsubishi Motors rally team finished 14th overall, an improvement from last year’s 17-out-of-20 finish. While some people try to portray hybrids as fragile and over-complicated, the Outlander’s plug-in hybrid system operated without fail, proving these drivetrains can be just as rugged and reliable as conventional combustion engines.
Consumers are listening too, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has become the best-selling plug-in in the U.K., outpacing every other plug-in vehicle when it comes to applications for tax credits. The market for plug-in SUVs is wide open right now, and when the Outlander PHEV due to come to the U.S. next year (with a few changes made for the American market), it could prove just as popular. Americans love their SUVs, and if they can get Prius-like fuel economy from them, all the better. It delivers the fuel economy it promises too, as part of Mitsubishi’s pledge to deliver real-world MPG ratings.
If you thought the smugness of Prius drivers was bad, wait until Outlander PHEVs start putting compact cars to shame.