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Geneva show: Mitsubishi to show baby plug-in SUV

Show off: Mitsubishi’s concept SUV for Geneva will showcase the company’s lighter, more efficient and powerful plug in hybrid powertrain.

Mitsubishi tweaks its SUV styling in a recycled PHEV concept for next ASX

Mitsubishi logo28 Jan 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

MITSUBISHI has refined its compact SUV styling direction on a recycled concept to be shown at this year’s Geneva motor show on March 3.

The unnamed concept – a plug-in hybrid small wagon that is thought to be the basis for the next-generation ASX – appears to be a reworked version of the XR-PHEV shown at the 2013 Tokyo motor show.

Teaser photos of the vehicle show a similar silhouette with a coupe-style sloping roof and notched rear hatch, but the grille and headlights appear to have been reworked.

Like the original XR-PHEV that was shown at Tokyo alongside the large GC-PHEV concept that foreshadows the next Pajero, the new concept is said to be powered by a next-generation plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Described as “a light, compact and high-performance PHEV system complete with high-out-put electric motor”, the powertrain appears similar to the XR-PHEV’s plug-in unit that matched a 1.1-litre turbocharged MIVEC petrol engine with a plug-in electric motor system.

If the powertrain makes it into the replacement for the current ASX that has done duty in Australia since 2010, it will become the first small SUV to boast such a system, following in the wheel tracks of the one-size larger Outlander PHEV that broke new ground in the medium SUV segment last year.

At this stage, Mitsubishi is saying only that the unnamed concept is “a declaration of intent for MMC’s (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) future direction by combining the company’s next-generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology and bold new design direction within a powerful and dynamic compact SUV format”.

The aggressive front styling dispenses with the ASX’s large one-piece grille, replacing it with what appears to be a two-piece arrangement with a black plastic bumper between – also similar to the front of the Outlander Concept-S shown at last year’s Paris motor show.

The slim-line blue-hued LED headlights give a piercing, masculine face, far more aggressive than the soft visage of the production ASX and Outlander. Mitsubishi has been playing around with this design on a number of SUV concept over the past two years, looking for the right balance.

The ASX was the third best-selling small SUV in Australia last year, trailing only the Hyundai ix35 and Subaru XV.

With 10,404 sales – up 34.7 per cent on 2012 – the ASX was Mitsubishi’s second biggest seller behind Triton, surpassing Lancer, Outlander and Mirage last year.

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