January 6, 2017 at 6:16 pm by Joseph Capparella | Photography by Michael Simari, the Manufacturer
It has been nearly four years since Mitsubishi has announced an all-new car for the U.S. market; apart from a few concept cars and mid-cycle updates, the company’s last big auto-show production-car debut was the Mirage hatchback way back in 2013. The good news is that the drought will end soon, as Mitsubishi is planning to introduce an all-new vehicle in just a few months, at the Geneva auto show this March. It’s scheduled to go on sale in America at the beginning of 2018, and to no one’s surprise, it’ll be another small crossover.
The new entry is meant to fit in between the Outlander Sport and the Outlander in Mitsu’s lineup. The gap between those two, however, would seem to be too small to accommodate a new model. The five-seat Outlander Sport is slightly larger than other subcompact SUVs such as the Honda HR-V, while the seven-seat Outlander is a bit bigger than compacts such as the Honda CR-V. So Mitsubishi is planning eventually to grow the Outlander and shrink the Outlander Sport while slotting this unnamed new crossover in between the two. Both Outlander variants will receive a refresh for the 2018 model year, although it’s unclear if the size reshuffling will happen then or with a full redesign later on.
The new Mitsubishi was engineered completely in-house with no help from the company’s new owner, Nissan. It will use a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine that Mitsubishi says has more power and torque than the current 2.4-liter four-cylinder that’s standard on the Outlander and optional on the Outlander Sport. Don’t expect Evo-like performance, however, as that engine doesn’t set the bar too high with its 166–168 hp and 162–167 lb-ft of torque. The new crossover will feature Mitsubishi’s “diamond shield” grille design; we suspect it will look somewhat like the eX concept shown in 2016 (pictured above), albeit a bit less extreme.
Bye Bye, Lancer
As for the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup, things are a bit fuzzier. The Mirage, which is selling well in the United States, will stick around, but the future of the Lancer compact sedan is uncertain. Mitsubishi Motors North America chief Don Swearingen said the current model would end production later this year and confirmed that there are no plans to replace it with a new C-segment car anytime soon. Further into the future, Mitsubishi and Nissan may collaborate and share platforms and powertrains, but given how fresh the two companies’ partnership is, we likely won’t see any fruits of the collaboration for several years.