ASX crossover is poised to bring back the Evo badge as a high-performance hybrid, if sales allow

Mitsubishi’s record car sales in 2014 have increased the prospects of the revered Evo badge returning on a high-performance version of the second-generation ASX crossover, which is due next year.

Fuelled partly by high demand for the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi broke its own records last year, with year-on-year UK sales surging by 158% and the global picture looking similarly healthy.

The sales picture bolsters the likelihood of a high-performance ASX Evo, which would feature a hybrid powertrain and four-wheel drive.

“Ultimately it all comes down to the financial case for it and whether the company has the resources to do it,” Mitsubishi’s UK boss Lance Bradley told Autocar.

“But the company had a record sales year in 2014 and the more we have success the easier it is to do these things. It's a project that we know would benefit the company, but until now it has been a case of getting the building blocks in place step by step.”

Speaking to Autocar earlier this year, Mitsubishi's global boss Tetsuro Aikawa said: “In the future, we would like to launch such a vehicle with Evo characteristics. In Japanese, when you pronounce ‘Oh’ [in Evo], it means ‘king’. So we would like to launch this type of car, featuring EV and PHEV technology, which is the ultimate of its kind. ‘EV’ for electric vehicle, ‘O’ for king - Evo.”

The high-performance ASX is understood to have been previewed by the XR-PHEV II concept at the Geneva motor show last year. An Evo version would be four-wheel drive, in line with past Evos, and not front-drive like the concept.

Aikawa said: “It has to be light and fast - something performance-orientated. That’s what we want.”

Lessons learned from the Pikes Peak racer, the MiEV Evolution, could aid the development of a hybrid high-performance SUV. However, Mitsubishi would not be drawn on when the new model may come to market, stating only that it would be “far in the future”, after the planned 2016 launch of the next ASX.

Aikawa said: “To develop these kind of vehicles, we have to sell a lot of the base models, so we can cover the research and development costs.”

Product boss Kanenori Okamoto has also previously said that the Evo will be “replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance”.

A high-performance model that made use of Mitsubishi’s hybrid technologies would additionally further promote the brand’s efficiency-minded offerings, such as the popular Outlander PHEV.

The XR-PHEV II concept, in standard form, features a plug-in hybrid petrol-electric system with a claimed 160bhp output. 

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Mitsubishi ASX

The Mitsubishi ASX packs some clever tech, but does that make it desirable?

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27 April 2015
Well they have certainly been giving the Outlander PHEV a hammering the last couple of years on the Asia Cross Country Rally. Maybe they have learnt a lot from this and Pikes Peak and the result could be surprisingly good?

28 April 2015
Sticking an EVO XI badge to a podgy SUV? Seriously? Maybe Ferrari should build a F458 people carrier, or McLaren a Mars Rover.

EVO is the only memorable thing Mitsubishi have achieved in the past decade.

21 May 2015
The SVR shows that a large SUV can be made to handle well. The Evo and WRX weren't the last word on lightness but more about the bonkers power and AWD grip. I would prefer that they not call it an Evo XI as it not going to be an evolution of a Lancer but, as it will be an evolution of the ASX, it makes sense to at least call is an ASX Evo. Mitsubishi may have had a record year in Blighty but I can't tell you the last time I saw a new one on the road in the States. I think that they will be going the way of Suzuki soon which is a bit sad.

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