With so many automakers looking to break free from the dull and stale auto designs, a few brands have been left to collect everyone else’s dust.
Mitsubishi is one of those brands that appears to have been content with rolling out models with designs that left a lot to be desired. But the Japanese brand seems to be turning the corner — finally! — and for the first time in seemingly forever, it will roll out a trio of new concepts at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show next month.
Not a lot of details have been divulged about these concepts, other than the fact that the company is preparing all three as the first batches of its new "@earth" philosophy.
One is an SUV that’s been dubbed as the Concept Grand Cruiser Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or Concept GC-PHEV if you find the other name too long. This concept appears to be a future version of the Montero SUV, highlighted by a new front profile with aggressive edges and a new headlight setup that’s eerily similar to the Range Rover Evoque .
The next concept is called the Concept Cross Runner Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or XR-PHEV. Mitsubishi says that this concept will be introduced as a compact crossover with coupe-like styling cues, possibly taking the place of the current Outlander Sport in the coming years.
Finally, there’s the Concept Active Runabout, or Concept AR. In addition to being the simplest-named of the three concepts, the Concept AR is being touted as a compact MPV that, unlike the two others, will come with a conventional gasoline engine with turbocharging and direct-injection technologies.
Based on the teaser photos of the concepts, all three appear to be a far departure from what we’re used to when it comes to Mitsubishi. That’s a great thing because, if for nothing else, the Japanese brand’s move to the present is long overdue.
Click past the jump to read about one current model that appears to have its next-generation successor in the pipeline, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The Outlander Sport is Mitsubishi’s most popular model, a testament to the lack of diversity the Japanese brand has with its lineup. The company has always ranked high in terms of handling and overall quality.
But it wouldn’t hurt to get an updated styling, right?
It’s a real shame too, considering that the Outlander Sport does have an impressive powertrain that features a 2.0-liter, in-line-four engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, good enough to hit 60 mph in around 9.5 seconds with an estimated top speed of 108 mph, all while returning 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
gallery: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Press Release (Translated from Japanese)
Mitsubishi Motors, December 1 (Sun), [from Saturday, open to the public October 23] held in Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo, Ariake Odaiba district) in from Wednesday 20 November 2013 In the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 that, the use of next-generation advanced technology to achieve "contribution to the environment," "driving pleasure" and "a certain peace of mind" and "@ earth TECHNOLOGY", symbolizing a sense of security and functionality of an SUV The world premiere of the concept car three that incorporates a new design identity to be.
"MITSUBISHI Concept GC * 1 -PHEV "is a concept car for next-generation large SUV that is equipped with a PHEV system with high output, which balanced the environmental performance of class and top-level strong run like SUV. Vehicle dynamics integrated control by the "S-AWC", I realize the drivability of an SUV unique handling and excellent stability. In addition, we have adopted the driver assistance technology and active safety technology for next-generation utilizing the information service cooperation.
"MITSUBISHI Concept XR * 2 -PHEV "is a concept car of the next-generation compact SUV that is equipped with a PHEV system lightweight, high-efficiency, increased dramatically the environmental performance. I have realized in the form of the appropriate specialty coupe sense, the fancy footwork.
"MITSUBISHI Concept AR * 3 "is a concept car of the next generation compact MPV to start downsizing direct-injection turbo engine, the use of fuel-efficient technology of the latest, and both the residence of the MPV and the mobility of the SUV. It provides such a variety of seating arrangements and interior encompassing an occupant, a space of relaxation.