As much as breathe the words Plug-in Hybrid and plenty of car owners will instantly run for cover.
The bottom line is probably that they are comfortable with petrol or diesel, but hit them with two different power sources in the same vehicle – or electric charging points – and they don’t want to know.
But then prejudice and scepticism are so often borne out of a lack of understanding, and once you get the drift with hybrids it opens up a whole new world, and a smart, clean way to save cash.
There are lots of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, on sale these days and top of the pile is the model that claims to have created the UK plug-in market, the Mitsubishi Outlander.
Up for grabs as either a PHEV or diesel and with five or seven seats, the Outlander is a mid-size crossover 4×4 model that vies for sales with the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Santa Fe.
Mitsubishi may have been best known for models like the heavy duty Shogun or fiery Evo but it’s the Outlander that has made the biggest impact on the Japanese company’s UK sales.
For instance of 12,111 plug-in hybrid vehicles registered here last year some 10,037 of them, or 83%, were Outlanders.
Its power comes via a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a pair of 60kW electric motors – for the front and back wheels – making it the only electric four-wheel drive vehicle on the market. It’s also the only one on which the stability control works in EV mode.
As a fully electric vehicle it can travel for 32 miles at up to 70mph and should you use up the full range then the chances are you will achieve well beyond the official return of 156 miles per gallon of fuel.
An extra bonus is that you can extend the batteries’ charge by blipping the paddle-shifts on the steering wheel, through six strength settings of regenerative braking.
Given that the average UK journey or commute is 25 miles, the chances are that Outlander PHEV drivers would never use any fuel – though an overnight charge from a domestic socket costs around £3.
And for company car drivers the PHEV’s low emissions of 42g/km attracts a Benefit-in-Kind tax rate of only five per cent – saving £3,184 in tax per year compared to a BMW 530d – zero road tax and no congestion charge, even though pricing is identical to the diesel model.
But Mitsubishi makes the point that just about everything about the new car, from efficiency and dynamics to technology and equipment, more than compensates for the extra cost.
The numbers add up to a serious proposition and so too does the overall package because if the original Outlander bordered on the basic inside, the newcomer really looks and feels the business.
Fit, finish and sound insulation is top notch, there’s some lovely soft leather in the higher spec cars, better software, fewer buttons, decent interior space and a large boot in the five-seat versions.
Add to that some genuine exterior design flair plus smart touches like seats that stay cool in summer and reflect UV rays to keep warm in winter and a set-up that prevents accidental acceleration from a stationary position and a you have a car pretty much without compromise.
But if you’re one of those people who still can’t get their head round plug-in hybrid the diesel, with its 2.2-litre 148bhp engine, makes plenty of sense.
It may not cruise silently through the streets like its stablemate but it’s smart, efficient, offers the option of seven seats and can return 53.3mpg.
Prices are from £29,249 for both Outlander PHEV (after government grant) and Diesel GX3h to £35,999 (post-grant) for the lavishly kitted GX4s variant.