THIS was supposed to be a good news story about the success of the Mitsubishi Outlander, having just clocked up 50,000 UK sales.
But Mitsubishi shocked the car world this week by announcing it would “freeze the introduction of all new models” into the UK and Europe.
That basically means that, by the end of 2021, the Japanese firm will no longer sell new cars in the UK.
If you are a current customer or have a new model ordered — there are 15,000 in stock in the UK — don’t panic. You will continue to receive full support in terms of service, repair, warranty, parts and accessories well into the future.
Manufacturers are legally obliged to support new cars for ten years with a full service and parts service.
Colt Car Company, the UK importer, says its customers will be taken care of.
With around 350,000 Mitsubishis on UK roads there are plenty needing care, not to mention 1,700 staff at 115 dealerships, who face an uncertain future.
Colt Car Company is now actively looking at bringing in new emerging brands, possibly Chinese, to fill the void for dealers.
Relaxing and quiet
Mitsubishi has built up a core of loyal owners over the past 46 years with solid favourites like the Shogun, L200 pick-up and the sensational rally-bred Lancer Evo.
But it has decided to turn its back on Europe to concentrate on Asia and the South Americas.
That does not make owning a Mitsubishi bad. They remain sound and totally relevant cars. The only question is their re-sale value when you eventually sell.
Now let’s take a closer look at that Outlander PHEV — not just Britain’s best-selling plug-in hybrid, but also across Europe as well.
It’s a full-sized family SUV with acres of room and space for five adults and luggage, plus it’s a genuinely capable 4x4 that can cope with any weather and conditions.
Prices start at a reasonable £35,815 rising to £45k for the top-spec Exceed, which comes with diamond-quilted leather heated seats.
Until September 28, you can save £4,000 including free home delivery and 10,000 free green electric miles from Ovo Energy.
The plug-in technology means Outlander will run for 28 miles on pure electric, then the 2.4-litre petrol engine kicks in.
A full recharge takes five hours using a three-pin plug, but a fast charger can take it to 80 per cent in just 20 minutes.
Mitsubishi claims a frankly ridiculous 139mpg economy combined but the reality in everyday driving is nearer 45-50mpg.
Paddles behind the steering wheel are not for gear changes, but work the six-setting regenerative braking system that helps boost the battery.
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Outlander is relaxing and quiet to drive and corners reasonably for its size but it’s all about functionality and comfort.
You get most of the creature comforts we all now expect with heated steering wheel, heated electric front seats and a useful lumbar support for the driver.
There’s bags of technology centred around a new 8in infotainment screen, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and clearly Mitsubishis are set to become very exclusive in the near future.
KEY FACTS: MITSUBISHI OUTANDER PLUG-IN HYBRID
Engine: 2.4 litre petrol with 13.8kWh battery
Power: 135hp, 211Nm
0-62mph: 10.5 secs
Top speed: 106mph
Real world: 45mpg
Warranty: 5 years
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