Mitsubishi Lancer to Return, but Forget About a Sedan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Mitsubishi raised the hackles of former Eclipse owners by naming its latest crossover — the Eclipse Cross — after the defunct sporty coupe. It now seems prepared to do the same to current Lancer owners.

The automaker claims there’s a new Lancer on the way, but it won’t be the same Lancer you fondly recall from years past. The market simply won’t support a traditional sedan or hatch anymore, the brand’s chief operating officer says — at least not with the kind of volume Mitsubishi desires.

No, this new vehicle will straddle the already blurred boundaries between a hatchback and a crossover. Excited yet?

Speaking to Auto Express, Trevor Mann said the upcoming C-segment Lancer needs to compete against small vehicles of both the passenger car and crossover (or near-crossover) persuasion. Between now and 2025, Mitsu plans to launch new versions of the Outlander and Outlander Sport (ASX or RVR in other markets), as well as a new L200/Triton pickup. The Lancer nameplate slots below those two crossovers, and the model’s final shape is close to being finalized.

“Lancer’s probably the easiest one; we believe we’ve got a solution that could fit the segment,” Mann said. “Because if you look globally, the C-segment hatchback market is not shrinking. It’s down a bit in the US and Europe. But its numbers are still expanding in China. So there is appeal. And I think because the segment is so large globally, we’ve got to take a look at it.”

Chief designer Tsunehiro Kunimoto expanded on Mann’s comments, suggesting last year’s e-Evolution crossover concept will provide the model’s design direction.

“Just because it’s C-segment doesn’t mean it has to be a very conventional hatchback,” Kunimoto said. “Maybe we can create a new type of hatchback vehicle. We’re thinking quite radically. Originality is as much a part of the Mitsubishi design philosophy now as consistency.”

The platform underpinning the future hatch/crossover will surely come from the Renault-Nissan Alliance parts bin, given that Mitsubishi’s now a card-carrying member of the clan. It’s very possible we’ll see a hybrid and all-wheel-drive variant.

So, when will we see the new Lancer? Mann wasn’t forthcoming, but that’s par for the course for Mitsubishi. Since joining the alliance two years ago, the automaker’s product announcements have been few and far between, its tentative times constantly evolving. Platform and powertrain sharing is expected to begin in 2020.

Maybe we’ll one day see a full-size Diamante SUV.


[Image: Mitsubishi]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Apr 24, 2018

    Looks like a Citroen Cactus but with sharper edges.

  • Everybody wants to complain about stupid alphanumeric model names, at least Mitsu's keeping it real. But naw, lets b!tch about that too.

    • See 1 previous
    • Raph Raph on Apr 25, 2018

      I guess... probably cooked up by the same marketing heads that pushed Crystal Pepsi, New Coke, Kent Cigarettes, and the 85-88 Chevy "Nova" after finally finding work with Mitsubishi

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.