Mitsubishi Readies Compact Crossover, Hopes There's Room at the Table for One More

mitsubishi readies compact crossover hopes theres room at the table for one more

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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4 of 21 comments
  • Corollaman Corollaman on Aug 09, 2016

    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?

    • See 1 previous
    • Shaker Shaker on Aug 10, 2016

      One profile look at a recent Fiesta sedan will reveal why oversize wheels sell cars.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 10, 2016

    Fans of "Pokemon Go" will recognize this beast as "Failoid". Evolved, he becomes "Failmax." (Just joking - I like this, actually)

  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.