Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:51 am
Location: Australia

Australia 2020 model no electric cabin heater

Sat Dec 19, 2020 5:28 am

So I just upgraded from a 2017 PHEV to a new 2020 ES ADAS model in Australia. I like the noticeable improvement in battery range and some of the other minor tweaks compared to the 2017 ... BUT... I only realised after buying the car that they have removed the electric cabin heater from the base model - it's now only on the higher trim level 'Exceed' in Australia.

It had never even occurred to me to check this as it just seems like an unbelievably retrograde step to save what must be a trifling amount of money for the simple resistive heating element. I had though the only models without an electric heater were the very early base models sold in the the UK in 2014 - I wasn't aware that any models sold in Australia didn't have this, and it baffles me as to why they would do this now.

We had about a 30 minute drive home this evening on a slightly cool summer evening, well within battery range, but because my wife likes to turn the cabin temperature up to 26 degrees the petrol engine fired up immediately and ran pretty much constantly the whole way, even though we arrived home with battery to spare, which was just depressing and seems like an obscene waste of fuel. It's really disappointing, as it seems like our days of zero-fuel journeys are over, at least for the cooler months of the year. I'm guessing the engine will be running for the majority of my wife's use of the car, just for the purpose of warming the cabin to her preferred tropical temperature, whereas a reasonable proportion of our trips would have been battery-only on our 2017 model (even with the load of the electric heater in the winter). So instead of using less fuel due to the improved battery range, as I'd hoped, I'm now thinking we'll end up burning more fuel with this car than with the old one.

Does anyone know whether it's possible to retro-fit the electric heater? I assume all the plumbing is the same, the only thing missing is the actual heating element, in which case it should be straightforward to install?


Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:01 pm

Re: Australia 2020 model no electric cabin heater

Mon Feb 01, 2021 4:49 am

I have the same model (in AU) also and just realised this now myself. It was a cool summer morning (I was dressed for a hot day) and thought I'd take a little of the chill out of the air, but nothing, just more cold air.

I'm grateful for the electric seat heaters but even that limited comfort is only for the front passengers, I can't believe that any car that retails for over AU$50k (for others: the PHEV models start at this price, for context a base Corolla in AU can be purchased new for a little over $20k) wouldn't consider cabin space heating an always available feature. It should certainly be something the dealership calls out as a difference between models.

I plan to bring this up with our dealership just to at least confirm with them, and given the likely feedback of "that model doesn't have an electric space heater", asking them what they can do about it.

A worst case, and cheap, way to possibly help is something like 12v ceramic heater(s), eg Portable Car Heater/303615148666 . I'd look at reviews first though, a quick skim does suggest unsurprisingly questionable quality.

Were you able to find out anything about retro-fitting the factory heater?
Outlander 2020 ES ADAS

Posts: 2219
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:32 pm

Re: Australia 2020 model no electric cabin heater

Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:15 am

Apart from the extra control system/software needed, earlier posts indicate part of the fabulous cost (almost as much as a new drive battery) of replacing the heater matrix is due to the labour needed to actually get at it, due to it being particularly inaccessible. :oops:

I assume the model you bought is cheaper than the one with the heater? When we bought our Gx3h in 2014 we calculated that the extra petrol used when cold was less than the money we saved up front, so we were in pocket. :D

Also my late wife (by contrast) liked to drive with the window open irrespective of the temperature winter or summer - so no heating or aircon, for poor passengers like me. :x

My current lady friend is more "normal" :lol:

Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:51 am
Location: Australia

Re: Australia 2020 model no electric cabin heater

Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:03 am

I haven't tried asking the dealer about a retro-fit - as greendwarf says, I got the sense from some other threads on this that others have looked into it and it's just not do-able.

So I have resigned myself to burning some fuel for cabin heating, and I think I'm slowly getting over it :-)

It will be interesting to see how we go for fuel efficiency through the winter months, but I'm guessing it's still going to be using a lot less fuel than any other comparable vehicle on the market in Australia today, so I should probably stop worrying about it and just enjoy what is still an amazing car...

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