Re: Outlander PHEV test drive report
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:34 am
JoeS wrote:Jay, thanks for the writeup, but sorry to hear about it's diminished towing capacity. The only reason I've kept my Isuzu Trooper is that the little four-banger with its compound-low 4WD gearing has effortlessly (but sometimes slowly) towed my trimaran over 30,000 miles up and down the West Coast and Lake Tahoe. Since the Outlander's frame should be able to take the load, I'm wondering if it has compound-low gearing or enough electric-motor assist to be able to, for example, crawl up a steep launching ramp pulling that tri? Since it's a CVT, I suspect not...jray3 wrote:...Mitsu has been way too conservative with the 1500 lb tow rating compared to 3500 lb for the V6...
I would say so - where the Outlander ICE (if it is available with a manual transmission/ planetary auto) could be classed as a a 4x4/ proper SUV of sorts, anything with a CVT gearbox will be in crossover territory, and CVTs are inherently sub-optimal compared to other options at delivering torque. The towing capacity has to be limited to the weakest drive combination (CVT and motor only upon a depleted battery) - so the PHEV is a good people carrier (light tower) for majority suburban/ urban work, but if you are regularly doing long distances, the EV range is small, and once that is depleted, the motor delivers only average relative economy really (like any other 2.0 gasoline crossover).
That said, if you drive 40 or so miles a day, you could mostly drive pure EV, and it would be a smart buy.
I recently had to replace the CVT gearbox in our Gen 2 Insight (the Honda quote was about $15K, so I went with a used unit for a few % of that price), and that never towed anything and only had 45K miles on it - so for me, the main issue with the PHEV is not in the EV power-train, but rather my less than favorable opinion of CVTs in general, but certainly a CVT installed in a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Though I was unlucky, and the car was serviced by the book - the failure is extremely rare, but that will influence my opinions about out of warranty vehicles with CVTs now. CVTs are also very susceptible to oil degradation, so it's extremely important to keep on top of the oil replacement intervals, using only the approved manufacturers fluids - maybe even more often than advised by the manufacturer. That said there are Insights about with 300k plus miles, that have done huge amounts of highway work.
Also, the quality and feel of the drive in that 'disconnected' manner as described above is certainly true, and having had the Imiev for 2 years now, a Hybrid Insight and a manual ICE Accord, the best drive is certainly provided by the EV, the most driver satisfaction (if you enjoy driving) is provided by standard ICE, preferably manual, and hybrids (including plug-ins) with CVTs - I feel - are a questionable compromise - which is interesting, as my initial thoughts were that the best model would be an EV and a Hybrid, but actually I now lean towards a small EV and a manual ICE vehicle (i.e those with the most direct drive between the motor and the wheels).
Glad the PHEV has finally come to North America - it is clearly a very good option for those who's needs fit well with the package.