By on August 9, 2016

Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

There’s a sea change underway in America — the once-unstoppable passenger car now has a minority market share compared to SUVs and crossovers, according to July sales figures.

Mitsubishi, the troubled but earnest automaker desperately looking to boost its U.S. comeback, has plans to take a bigger slice of the crossover pie. A third utility vehicle is on the way, and it just stepped out from behind the curtain.

Photos of a camouflaged Mitsubishi published by Automotive News reveal a compact, five-passenger crossover sporting a non-revolutionary design. It’s a far cry from the automaker’s eX and XR-PHEV II concepts, despite Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko’s claim that the crossover would borrow styling cues from both.

Two utility vehicles in a lineup just doesn’t cut it anymore, so Mitsubishi plans to shuffle its offerings. The yet-unnamed crossover will slot below the Outlander, but above the Outlander Sport, which Mitsubishi plans to downsize. That way, the Outlander Sport (sold in Canada as the RVR) can take on subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V, while the new model does battle with the CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and other hot-selling rivals.

After nearly going extinct in the U.S. after the recession, Mitsubishi needs a winner to energize its slow sales climb. Both of its crossovers show year-over-year sales growth, but the automaker recently hit a product snag. The long-awaited Outlander PHEV, expected later this year, won’t appear until next summer, Mitsubishi said recently.

Wildly popular in Europe, the plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander launched in Japan in 2013 and just can’t seem to make a successful leap across the pond. When it does arrive, expect the Outlander PHEV to position itself as a cheaper alternative to luxury plug-in crossovers like the Volvo VC90.

The new crossover should enter production in late 2017.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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21 Comments on “Mitsubishi Readies Compact Crossover, Hopes There’s Room at the Table for One More...”

  • avatar

    No soup for you!

  • avatar

    “Volvo VC90”

    New product announcement slip! This one is a plug-in convertible version of the regular XC90.

  • avatar

    Also, I think any and all current concepts from MMC must be considered with a proverbial grain of salt. Nissan will have their input on the spice flow in very short order, and side items and seasonings could change quite a lot.

    How’s that for a mixed metaphor?

  • avatar

    Looks like the Ford Edge’s kid brother with braces.

    • 0 avatar

      Looks reminiscent of the Lexus gaping maw grille in shape and (lack of) subtlety.

      This isn’t the production vehicle, though.

      I hope Mitsubishi doesn’t become a brand of rebadged Nissans. I mean, Nissan- (or Renault or Renault-Samsung) *based* is okay, but I would like to see unique products not otherwise offered here. Hell, bring the Dacia Duster, it could be just the thing for a cheap alternative to all the car-based CUVs with probably more durability and at least somewhat off-road ability.

      Renault has some cars not shared with Nissan, those would be preferable to rebadged USDM Nissans.

      I just don’t want to see an entire line up, from Versa to Maxima and all the crossovers, with tripple-diamond logos. I won’t be surprised if it happens though.

      “Sir, you’re not approved for this ‘program’ (former rental) Altima 2.5S, but go three blocks down to High Pressure Mitsubishi, and buy the same car new and enjoy your endless payments! And yes, somehow the interior, NVH levels, lawnmower engine and CVT *are* worse! I don’t even know how that’s possible!”

  • avatar

    I actually see this doing really well, as long as Mitsubishi continues to cater to the subprime market. All the style and reliability of a CR-V with the convenience of a 120 month term loan.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Didn’t catering to the subprime market in the early aughts nearly crater them as a company when all the Gen-Y’ers defaulted on their rubber-stamped loans? Or am I just imagining that happened?

      • 0 avatar

        I thought that was Mitsubishi’s US corporate mission statement, i.e., produce the crappiest products possible and lend to any bad credit schmoe who walks in the door.

  • avatar

    This is surprisingly attractive.

    It should sell well for a year or two until it is outclassed by, oh Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, and just about everybody else.

    • 0 avatar

      Hopefully the first refresh will complete pinching-off rearward visibility while increasing wheel & tire size.

      But yes, the combat rodentoid face is already a home run.

  • avatar

    These are the people who saw an overcrowded marketplace and said, “Me too!” /Homer Simpson

  • avatar

    It’s taking contemporary design flaws and exaggerating them: oversized wheels, undersized windows, useless side creases, non-functional black plastic vents and trim pieces, high hood and hideous fish-mouth grille.
    It’s cutting edge straight down to the bottom of the barrel… which is apparently where Mitsubishi is most comfortable.

  • avatar

    Like many other CUVs this one is just as ugly.

  • avatar

    Concept drawings always use over sized wheels, it makes people go WOW, look at them wheels! I wonder if they did the same with the Mirage concept?

  • avatar

    Fans of “Pokemon Go” will recognize this beast as “Failoid”. Evolved, he becomes “Failmax.”

    (Just joking – I like this, actually)

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