Our deputy editor Emily Dean took a drive around Konnie's 'hood, Ealing, in Mitsubishi’s new Outlander PHEV...
What’s green and super-hot? Mitsubishi’s new lust-have 4x4. Emily takes it for a spin with Konnie Huq. Konnie Huq is the closest thing you’ll get to Berocca in human form. Which makes her a good person to hang with if you’re suffering from urban stress. ‘Hey babe!’ she shrieks, all bouncy hair, as I push open the wrought iron gates to her fabulously atmospheric west London home, with its imposing Miss–Havisham-meets-Farrow-and-Ball entrance.
We’re test driving the car on every chic school run mum’s lust list – a 4x4 environmentally friendly Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle if you want to impress at dinner parties). Konnie is actually considering getting one. ‘So I’m kind of using you basically. But I won’t spit you out and abandon you – I promise I’ll keep in touch.’ It’s definitely got the good looks of a trad Chelsea tractor, with chrome detailing, alloy wheels and those expensive-looking, mean-eyed front headlamps. Konnie takes me for a spin around her ’hood, Ealing, where she grew up. ‘I was wary of moving back – it felt like someone in an American movie who goes back to their small home town having learnt so much on the way.’
The concept of electric cars frightens me – do they suddenly grind to a halt like an iPhone out of juice? Fortunately not. The Outlander runs for 32 miles on electric charge and then reverts to the petrol engine. And it has a decent amount of pace. The main thing that spooks you is the lack of noise. Konnie agrees. ‘Nothing prepares you for how quiet electric cars are. I reckon they startle a lot of cats.’
The Outlander takes speed bumps and potholes remarkably well, while the power steering handles smoothly and the driver’s seat is surprisingly plush. Konnie is being won over. ‘I’m getting sold on this – look babe, you can heat the steering wheel and I can fit a double buggy in the boot. And no congestion charge. Am I boring you?’
She’s really not, but I’m keen to find out more about her 10 years as a Blue Peter presenter. ‘It was the best job in the world!’ she exclaims. ‘I got to interview Tony Blair and JK Rowling. But I started to spot grey hairs and thought, ‘Is this a sign?’ They lucked out with me because I’m so square. I don’t drink, smoke or take drugs. Maybe I’ll break the law today and show you my wild side.’ She married Charlie Brooker in Las Vegas six years ago. ‘I hated the idea of a massive wedding,’ she says. She has two boys with him, but still finds time to get herself plum gigs, like hosting Sky’s King Of The Nerds and The Xtra Factor. What did she make of Simon Cowell? ‘He’s mischievous and cheeky – things I like in a person.’
Our road trip is at an end. Charlie is making the boys’ lunch and has a Black Mirror to write for Netflix, so we park up and pose for selfies. ‘My hair looks so big! Oh god, do I look like I’m about to snog you?’ Konnie cries, but she admits she is sold on the Outlander. ‘I’ve fallen in love with it.’ Right back at you, Miss Huq.
(From £39,899. For more information, go to mitsubishi-cars.co.uk)
Konnie’s Life On Wheels
A Renault 5. I’ve got an incredible memory so I still know the number plate – D295 XBY. I never forget phone numbers either, it’s almost photographic.
Car You’d Never Drive:
A red Ferrari. I’d feel like such an idiot in a really bling car.
Do you get road rage?
Not really, except when a car won’t let you out and it won’t hold them up at all. I never shout, just gesture a bit like Mr Bean.