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Geneva show: Mitsubishi plugs in next ASX

Phase two: Mitsubishi is edging closer to a production version of the next-gen ASX with the second iteration of its XR-PHEV concept.

Second iteration of Mitsubishi's XR-PHEV concept gives a better look at next ASX

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Mitsubishi logo26 Feb 2015

MITSUBISHI has lifted the lid on its XR-PHEV II concept ahead of its Geneva show debut next week, previewing the look of its next-generation ASX due in about two years.

The plug-in compact crossover concept is the second iteration of the XR-PHEV, and builds on the look of the original that made its debut at the Tokyo motor show in late 2013.

This version of the XR-PHEV is expected to be the final concept before the debut of a near-production ready version that could lob within the next 12 months, possibly at the Tokyo motor show later this year.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has previously stated that the XR-PHEV previews the second-generation version of the popular ASX crossover, and in a release this week the company confirmed that it would be the second production plug-in hybrid model in the range, following the Outlander PHEV that arrived in Australia early last year.

The new ASX will likely be the next cab off the rank for Mitsubishi, following the all-important Triton ute and the heavily revised Outlander mid-size SUV this year, and that it will arrive before the next-gen Pajero, which was also previewed in concept form at the 2013 Tokyo show.

Mitsubishi announced at the same Japanese auto extravaganza that it would focus a lot of its research and development resources on developing new hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicle technologies for future models.

The Japanese car-maker describes the plug-in system – which is different to the unit used in the Outlander PHEV – as a “lightweight, compact and high-efficiency front-engine, front-drive system ideal for a compact SUV”.

The PHEV system couples a MIVEC engine with an electric motor and a power drive unit that features a high-efficiency inverter and variable voltage system, for greater power and torque outputs.

It can be driven in all-electric mode, which uses the engine as a generator or for extra grunt when required, and depending on battery charge and driving conditions it can shift between all-electric, series hybrid or parallel hybrid modes.

Mitsubishi says the output of the motor is 120kW and the battery is 12kWh, with CO2 emissions as low as 40g/km, which the car-maker says is among the best CO2 readings for a PHEV.

The car-maker says that a super quiet cabin and no transmission shifts “further enhance the driving experience”.

While the visual changes to the concept over the original are subtle, the front end features styling tweaks that are more in fitting with a production model, including the main grille that now features two slats.

The headlights are still slimline but appear to have been brought in closer to the grille, while the shape of the lower grille has been refined to look less like a smiling face than the first concept and chrome fins have been added in to the side air intakes.

The dramatic treatment of the front window intersecting with the windscreen has been toned down and rear-view external cameras have been added to the front doors, while the deep character line running along the side has been shifted higher.

At the rear, the Geneva show car now features similar shapes to the front grille, also carrying chrome accents, and the tail-lights maintain the v-shape but no longer extend to the rear door.

The cabin is pure concept with an aluminium frame spreading out sideways from the console, while a screen sits atop the centre stack and a large dial dominates further below.

The ASX was Mitsubishi's best-selling passenger car, and second best-seller overall in Australia last year, with 10,404 units shifted, behind the Triton which picked up 19,990 new buyers in 2014.

It was the third most popular model in the sub-$40,000 small SUV segment behind the Hyundai ix35 (17,922) and the Subaru XV (11,539).

Combining Nissan's haul for its Dualis and the Qashqai model that replaced it, pushes the Mitsubishi into fourth place, with the Nissan compact-SUV duo grabbing 10,613 sales in 2014.

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