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Tokyo show: Mitsubishi maps out concept car assault

Future proof: Mitsubishi is previewing what could be the next-generation Pajero off-roader with the GC-PHEV concept at this year's Tokyo show.

Mitsubishi to preview next Pajero, ASX and new MPV with three concepts at Tokyo

Mitsubishi logo8 Oct 2013

MITSUBISHI will rip the covers off three concept cars at next month's Tokyo motor show, previewing next-generation versions of its Pajero SUV and ASX crossover as well as revealing a new compact MPV.

The Japanese car-maker said the concepts would showcase the look of its next generation of vehicles featuring a new design language, as well as providing a look at future powertrain technologies.

A full-sized SUV concept called the GC-PHEV will use a next-generation plug-in hybrid system, and have “genuine SUV off-road capability and sure-footed driving dynamics” supported by Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.

The GC - short for “Grand Cruiser” – looks set to preview the fifth-generation Pajero off-roader, and will highlight a number of future preventative safety features and driver support aids using mobile connectivity.

The current Pajero arrived in Australia in late 2006 with a refresh in 2008, but it shares a number of mechanical components that were introduced on the NM-series that launched in 1999.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation head of product and strategy development, Ryugo Nakao, hinted at the development of a hybrid drivetrain at March’s Geneva motor show, saying the Pajero was still at least two years away from release as work focussed on making it significantly lighter than the current model.

The XR-PHEV SUV concept that Mitsubishi says will feature a lightweight and “super-efficient” plug-in hybrid system will preview the design of the next ASX compact crossover.

The XR – which stands for “Cross Runner” – will feature sports coupe-like styling, with a sketch provided by Mitsubishi hinting at a low slung, chunky SUV design in the vein of the Range Rover Evoque.

Mitsubishi launched the ASX in 2010, pre-empting the explosion in sub-compact SUVs that has sparked a rush of rival crossovers, including the Holden Trax, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and forthcoming Renault Captur and Ford EcoSport.

There is no word yet on when a production version of the next-generation ASX will arrive, as the current model is only three years into its lifecycle.

The final piece of Mitsubishi's concept puzzle comes in the shape of the Concept AR, or “Active Runabout” compact MPV, powered by a small-capacity, direct-injection turbocharged combustion engine, unlike the two hybrid SUV concepts.

Mitsubishi says the Concept AR combines the practicality of an SUV with the cabin space of an MPV and it features a “cocoon-like interior and seating configuration” that delivers “superior comfort for all passengers”.

The last people-mover from Mitsubishi was the seven-seat mid-size Grandis that sold from 2004-10. However, the Concept AR seems to point to a model that will compete with the likes of the more compact Kia Rondo.

Sketches released by Mitsubishi reveal shared design elements across all three concepts, including a clam-shell bonnet, slimline LED headlights and a grille integrated with the headlights, while chrome-like surrounds feature on the lower air intake.

Some of these design cues have already featured on the GR-HEV utility concept from this year's Geneva motor show that previews the 2014 Triton.

Mitsubishi will release more information about the concepts ahead of the Tokyo motor show’s opening on November 22.

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