The Mitsubishi Evo is back, then – but as an SUV. 

The idea has been considered by company officials for a long time, but the e-Evolution concept at the Tokyo motor show is the first tangible step towards it.

Mitsubishi e-Evolution previews future SUV with AI

But will it become a reality? The idea was first mooted a few years ago off the unexpected success Mitsubishi had with the Outlander PHEV; if people like this, they thought, maybe we can make an Evo out of a plug-in hybrid SUV. 

Maybe they can, maybe they will, but concept car or no concept car, there is no plan to do so - for now at least. Indeed, some senior Mitsubishi sources in Japan have indicated there is no concrete mention of any future Evo in any product plan, SUV-shaped or otherwise.

The Lancer C-segment saloon on which it was always based has also just now gone out of production in Japan, with no replacement planned any time soon, and the B-segment SUV previewed in this bodystyle is still a couple of years away, with no guarantee of an Evo version of it, even if this tech is achievable for production. 

2017 Tms preview 2 2 0

The concept car, and its intended purpose, is a bit of a red herring amid the quiet revolution (not Evolution) going on at Mitsubishi. 

You see, Mitsubishi, which lost $1.4 billion (£1.06bn) last year amid falling sales in growth markets even as big as China and a highly publicised scandal over misquoting fuel economy figures, is being given an almighty kick up the backside.

A year ago, Renault-Nissan took a 34% stake in Mitsubishi, folding it into the Renault-Nissan Alliance. It is now the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and Mitsubishi is already benefiting from the management of one Carlos Ghosn, who turned Nissan around when it was failing at the end of the last century.