The Outlander PHEV has been a monster hit for Mitsubishi since its launch in 2014. This was at least partially due to electric motoring being as good as free, but the advent of paid-for pubic charging stations and a reining-in of the government鈥檚 tax breaks on plug-in vehicles have significantly diminished its appeal to private buyers.

It鈥檚 still a winning prospect as a company car, however, thanks to its tiny CO2 emissions rating ?which, with the arrival of the mildly facelifted model driven here, drops slightly to 41g/km.

Claimed fuel consumption, meanwhile, improves to 166g/km, while the car鈥檚 range in full EV mode is now 33 miles. Modest improvements, for sure, but improvements nonetheless ?as is the arrival of new shock absorbers and rear suspension bushes.

These do make for a slightly better ride, but it鈥檚 neither as smooth as we鈥檇 like on untidy road surfaces nor as good at controlling its body weight in corners. There鈥檚 nothing wrong with its steering, which responds well and feels right, but more conventional SUVs like the Nissan X-Trail are more agile.

They鈥檙e not as quiet, of course, at least at urban speeds when the Outlander is running on electric power alone. The new model now has an EV Priority mode, which locks it in to electric drive only so long as the batteries have enough in them ?but despite the claimed range, when we set out on a cold morning with a full charge behind us the indicator on the dash said they were only good for 20 miles.

So you can expect the petrol engine to be lighting up soon enough, and when it does things get a lot less quiet. You don鈥檛 have to go particularly fast for road noise to become apparent, either ?not that speed is the Outlander鈥檚 strong point, thanks to its sheer size and weight, though the CVT auto box behind the power train is good and smooth.

This goes with a good, high-set driving position, lots of cabin space and excellent all-round visibility to make the Outlander a perfectly pleasing car to tool around in. Like all plug-ins, it鈥檚 at its best when used as an urban runabout, but it鈥檚 composed on a run ?and if you want to take it off-tarmac, you can lock it into four-wheel drive. Don鈥檛 expect to go where Shoguns and L200s can, though.

Whether you鈥檇 want to get it full of mud is doubtful anyway, especially in top-spec 5h form as tested here. Highlights for 2017 include a new Nappa leather treatment, and there鈥檚 a reason why the aforementioned L200 doesn鈥檛 offer such a thing to Britain鈥檚 farmers and foresters, but the audio system gets a welcome upgrade too and best of all there鈥檚 a range of new safety features including auto main beam, adaptive cruise and warnings should you stray from your lane or fail to notice when the guy in front gets on his brakes.

These are also included in the next model down, and even in the guts of the range you鈥檒l find kit like Bluetooth, DAB and a reversing camera, so there鈥檚 no need to spend big to get an Outlander worth having.

The problem is that now, it鈥檚 beginning to feel like spending big really is what you鈥檙e doing. The evolving circumstances surrounding plug-in vehicles means the PHEV is no longer the gimmee it once was ?though it does still make abundant sense as a company wagon.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h

Price £41,399 (after government grant); Engine 4 cyls, 1998cc, petrol, plus two 60kW electric motors; Power 120bhp; Torque 140lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox CVT; Kerb weight 2105kg; 0-62mph 11.0sec; Top speed 106mph; Economy 166mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 41g/km, 9%