Future Models - Mitsubishi 2003 SE-RO concept
Tokyo show: Mitsubishi's crystal ball concepts
Future shock: Mitsubishi's alloy-bodied SE-RO concept features a 0.6-litre turbo triple.
Mitsubishi unveiled four interesting concept cars at Tokyo in 2003
21 October 2003
Harking back to the 1950s Renault 4CV in style and configuration (Mitsubishi’s design boss Olivier Boulay is French, after all), the egg-shaped Smart-based "i" mini car concept features a mid-engine rear-wheel drive layout.
The company says it uses the Smart configuration for maximum driver enjoyment, increased crash worthiness (a five-star crash rating has already been achieved) and efficient space utilisation.
Mating a 1.0-litre variable-valve four-cylinder engine to a new CVT automatic gearbox, the concept has returned an impressive 3.8l/100km fuel consumption average.
According to Mitsubishi, some of the i Concept’s ideas will be incorporated in its new sub-light “Kei” class contender due in 2005.
Whether the Smart rear-engine/rear-drive platform is included is as yet unknown. European sales are also likely, since the i debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Another Smart-based concept, the SE-RO may be Mr Boulay’s homage to the 1950s Fiat Multipla, since both look like two front halves of a car stuck together.
The Fiat feel continues with the rear-engine/rear-drive layout, so the SE-RO should also be considered to be the wagon version of the aforementioned i concept.
Touted as a lifestyle minicar despite its long wheelbase, the SE-RO is aimed at outdoorsy males over 35, and features flexible seating that folds into "a hobby workspace" to prove it.
The outer panels are aluminium, while motivation comes courtesy of a turbocharged 0.6-litre three-cylinder engine tied to a CVT transmission.
The CZ2 Cabriolet is a drop-top version of the Mitsubishi’s Mirage replacement, primarily aimed at women.
And unlike the strictly 2+2 Peugeot 206CC and Nissan Micra steel-folding roof convertibles, the CZ2’s traditional canvas roof allows for two adult-accommodating rear pews. A production version is likely.
Finally, one of the stars of the 2001 Tokyo Show was the Tarmac, a stylish coupe built on the contemporary Lancer EVO VI platform.
As the Spyder name suggests, Mitsubishi simply removed the coupe’s roof for this year’s event.