The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was probably the most eagerly awaited car of this year’s tests. With its combination of electric and petrol power, and the ability to complete journeys of 30 miles or so on electric power alone, everyone wanted to get their hands on the keys.

As a tow car, though, the Outlander has its limitations. The 1500kg towing weight is less than the 85% match figure, so the Mitsubishi can’t tow as much as you’d expect for a car of this size and weight. On the flat it had no trouble pulling a car weighted to the legal maximum, accelerating from 30-60mph in a brisk 12.7 seconds. Mind you, there’s a lot of noise from the petrol engine.

In a straight line, stability is good but without the solid, unshakeable feel of the very best tow cars. In the lane-change test the Outlander only started to struggle on the third and fastest run.

It’s the hill-start test that prevented the PHEV from finishing closer to the Jaguar XF and BMW 3 Series. The handbrake held with a firm pull, but the car only crept up the slope with the driver’s foot to the floor.

We shortlisted the PHEV for this year’s Green Award, so in addition to the usual tests the Outlander also tackled a route of A-roads and motorways while What Car?’s True MPG kit assessed the its economy. With a full battery the car achieved 40.6mpg. When repeating the route with the battery drained the car still achieved a reasonable 24.7mpg.

The PHEV makes most sense if you have a short commute and can run on electric power alone, in particular if you’re offered one as a tax-efficient company car. For regular towing, though, we prefer the diesel we tested last year.

2018
Category Winners
2018 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2018 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2018 1550-1699kg

Peugeot 5008

2.0 BlueHDi EAT8 S&S GT

2018 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2018 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE

2018 Best Family SUV

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

2018 Best Petrol Tow Car

Kia Stinger

2.0 T-GDi GT-Line

2018 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Volkswagen Polo

1.0 TSI 115PS SEL DSG

2018 Fuel Economy Award

Hyundai i30 Tourer

1.6 CRDi 110PS Premium

Previous Winners
2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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