I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with PHEV's so I arranged an overnight test drive. I had a go in a Mitsubishi Outlander GX3h which is the bottom of the range. When I picked it up it had 22 mile EV range as it hadn't had time for a full charge as it had already been out. It's not a cheap car but it's about the same price as the equivalent diesel Outlander after the £5k ($7.5k) UK Govt grant which gives people a choice. If you want a 4WD and do loads of longer trips the diesel will probably be the sensible choice as the PHEV runs on a 2.0 gas engine when the battery is exhausted so the MPG is worse on a run. If most of your journeys are under 30 miles between charges then the PHEV wins easily. Mitsubishi's Twin Motor system offers permanent electrically driven all-wheel drive. It doesn't apply to me but apparently there are excellent tax breaks in the UK for the PHEV for company car drivers. It has a 119bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder gas engine and gas and electric combined produce 200bhp and 249lb ft. The EV range is supposed to be 32.5 miles but it's bound to be less than this in practice and especially in the winter and it has a 45 litre fuel tank to give a total range of about 500 miles. The kerb weight is 1870kg which is 195kg heavier than the diesel version but it's still light enough to be fairly typical for the class and a pretty good result for a plug-in hybrid. The PHEV comes with 190mm of ground clearance and unusually for a PHEV it has enough towing capacity (1.65tons) to tow a medium-size caravan or large trailer. Standard kit for all trim levels includes dual-zone climate control, cruise control, electric windows, remote central locking, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, six-speaker stereo, electric heated mirrors, automatic lights and rear parking sensors. It's very easy to drive being an automatic, press on the brake pedal, press the on button, pop it into D and then release the brake pedal and it will creep like any automatic (we're not big on auto's in the UK ) but almost silently. The gear lever is small but easy to use - it doesn't actually go into a gear, it's more of a select switch and then it returns to the central position. Once on the move you can pop the gear lever into B mode which activates the throttle lift regeneration. On my drive I loved flicking the paddles up and down between B0 (coasting) and B5 which really slowed the car down fast but pumped lots of electrons back into the battery pack. By using these paddles I hardly needed to press the brake even in heavy stop start traffic. The model I drove, the GX3h doesn't have an electric heater so it uses the petrol engine to generate heat in the cabin as opposed to the next models up, the GX4h and GX4hs, which have an electric heater so in winter the 3 will definitely use more fuel than the 4. I needed a bit of demist this morning so after reading a forum last night found you can blow air onto the screen by pressing the snowflake button and 59°F (15°C) so I did this every so often which worked a treat and didn't use any fuel. If it was colder I would definitely have turned up the heat though so a bit of an omission in my opinion but they've probably done it to keep the entry level price point down. The handling was pretty good for a large heavy SUV helped by the fact that the batteries are under the cabin floor. My car pooler noted it didn't seem "wallow about" like some 4X4's he's been in. I tried "booting it" to see the effect of the engine and battery combined and I can definitely say it's not a slouch! As soon as I eased off the accelerator, the engine switched itself off seamlessly and went back to full EV mode again - neat. Later on last night we all went out in it for a drive around (5 of us) and I was still in EV mode for the majority of the time. It was very roomy inside, slightly less width on the rear seats than my car but more leg room for everyone. It has a decent boot so very practical. In total I did 46.9 miles and this morning's run was 96% EV. The next model up, the GX4h gets a reversing camera, DAB tuner, sat-nav and powered tailgate as well as the standard kit. In conclusion I enjoyed my time in the PHEV and it would definitely work for some people who want to steer away from diesel but would like a 4X4 SUV that doesn't guzzle fuel. The residuals are on a par with the diesel too so there's no extra depreciation hit. I also managed to fit it in the garage - just. Fine for width but a bit longer than my Honda FR-V!