Mitsubishi hits out at 'irresponsible' claims that MPG figures are misleading

Mitsubishi has responded to claims by Which? that manufacturers are misleading buyers with their MPG figures, admitting that the official test is ‘outdated’ and meant for ‘comparison purposes’ only.

Which? claimed that manufacturers use a number of loopholes that lead to unrealistic official MPG figures, with 98% of cars it tested failing to achieve the official fuel economy.

The organisation identified 17 cars that performed the worst compared to claimed figures – with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV apparently overstating its MPG by 120%.

But Mitsubishi Motors UK managing director Lance Bradley disputed the claims.

He said: “The current test regime for emissions and fuel consumption test is outdated and does the industry no favours but the suggestion that we in some way are misleading car buyers is well wide of the mark and irresponsible.”

All manufacturers are required to put their cars through a strict official test, called the NEDC (New European Drive Cycle). This has been around since the 1970s and, Mitsubishi says, makes no account of new plug-in hybrid technology.

As the Outlander PHEV can be driven under electric power alone, it can complete part of its journey (32.5 miles officially) without using any fuel. This affects the official fuel consumption tests.

If the vehicle is used mainly for lots of small journeys between charges it will use very little fuel, meaning it’ll be more efficient than the official 148mpg figure.

Alternatively, if it is used for long journeys without being charged, it’ll use considerably more fuel.

In a statement, the manufacturer said: “Even the 67.3 MPG suggested by Which? is good for a large 4×4 SUV like Outlander.

“Mitsubishi Motors UK has always made real life MPG very clear in its advertising and printed material. At the Outlander PHEV’s launch several top motoring magazines all reported on the ‘refreshing honesty’ with which the company had presented its real life MPG expectations.”

At last month’s Geneva Motor Show, Bradley told Motoring Research that the new ASX crossover, due next year, will be offered with a hybrid powertrain for the first time.