I’m now 4,000 miles into life with the Outlander PHEV and while I’ve been managing shorter journeys in plug-in charge alone, beyond around 20 miles or so the engine takes over and the car runs as a full hybrid.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine looks unremarkable on paper. It produces 119hp when many normally aspirated engines of this size are in the 150hp range.
But it’s tuned for fuel economy and the CVT gearbox provides seamless running in partnership with the electric motors.
While I send to select Eco mode for most trips, which delivers a tamer throttle response than the default ‘normal’ mode, when you need to overtake, the combined boost from the hybrid powertrain is reassuring.
It’s easily as quick as a diesel rival, and feels quicker than its 0.7 second advantage over an automatic diesel Outlander on the 0-62mph benchmark.
It’s one of the many reasons that reinforce why the car seems popular. According to the latest figures, the Outlander PHEV now accounts for 43% of plug-in car grant applications, making it a comfortable best seller.
It could also pay off when it comes to resale time. According to CAP Gold Book, the £40,000 (pre-plug-in car grant) model we have on test will have a near £1,000 premium over the diesel equivalent at four years/80,000 miles. Take into account the grant, and that means the £1,000 premium the PHEV carried over the 2.2 DI-D GX4S auto is virtually retained over that lifecycle.
If you’ve made the right choice in selecting the PHEV and are using it for mainly shorter journeys, then the reduced fuel costs should also make it a cheaper car to have on the fleet than the diesel.