“Design is increasingly at the forefront of Mitsubishi’s planning,” said a source. “It will take time for the changes to come through, and we will always have a certain utilitarian quality, but Land Rover has proved you can be both rugged and stylish, and we intend to follow that path.”
The best clues to the car’s styling are said to come from the XR-PHEV concept car, first seen in 2013 but subsequently evolved and displayed at the 2015 Geneva show.
Measuring 4.49m long, 1.89m wide and 1.62m high, the concept incorporated a large central grille that is expected to become the face of all the firm’s SUVs.
The concept was two-wheel drive and powered by an unspecified plug-in hybrid powertrain that produced 160bhp and emitted 40g/km of CO2. However, the new SUV is unlikely to be sold with a hybrid powertrain for cost reasons. Instead, the line-up is likely to feature a new turbocharged petrol engine alongside the diesel engines currently found in the ASX range, with manual, CVT and eight-speed automatic transmissions and all-wheel-drive variants available.
A replacement for the Outlander, including the plug-in model, is expected in 2020, while a more direct Juke rival, smaller than the ASX, is tipped for a 2019 launch. It's not clear when the ageing Mitsubishi Shogun will be replaced, although reports suggest an equally rugged new model has long been under development.
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