Mitsubishi teases three SUV concepts for 2013 Tokyo motor show

Published: 08 October 2013

Mitsubishi is planning a new concept car bonanza at the Tokyo motor show from 22 November 2013, with three takes on the idea of a fuel-sipping SUV.

As well as revealing the future design direction for Mitsubishi’s styling, and potential new niches for its growing SUV range, the crossovers demonstrate the latest iteration of Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid push. There’s a full-size SUV design, plus a coupe-styled brother and a new MPV. Read on for more details on Mitsubishi’s Tokyo motor show plans, and tell us how you rate the Japanese brand’s chances of success in the comments below.

Mitsubishi concept 1: GC-PHEV

The GC (meaning Grand Cruiser) concept is a BMW X5-sized SUV, showing Mitsubishi’s vision of a replacement for the current Shogun. Styling-wise, the sketch shows hints of Vauxhall Ampera in the slim headlights and Hyundai Santa Fe/Ford Edge in the brash triple-bar chrome grille. The GC concept also demonstrates new safety systems and connectivity tech, likely to incorporate extensive smartphone integration, including social media and infotainment features.

The ‘PHEV’ suffix denotes the GC as a Plug-In Electric Vehicle – essentially a hybrid powertrain which boosts its efficiency charging from a household socket and running short distances on electric power only. Mitsubishi was quickest to the punch with its Outlander PHEV back in 2012: the world’s first production-ready plug-in hybrid SUV.

>> Click here to read CAR’s review of the new Mitsubishi Outlander

Can you explain Mitsubishi’s ‘PHEV’ powertrain?

Able to travel 34 miles on battery juice alone, the current Outlander PHEV is driven by front and rear-mounted electric motors (like a range-extender vehicle) or can be powered directly by the petrol engine, as per a conventional SUV. The furiously complicated drivetrain produces a healthy 143mpg on the EU combined cycle, though like all plug-in cars, that figure is skewed by the test not accounting for the energy needed to charge the lithium-ion batteries for engine-free running.

Mitsubishi concept 2: XR-PHEV

The XR-PHEV is another eco-biased SUV, but is styled, says Mitsubishi, like a sports coupe. Set to test the waters for a Mitsubishi rival to the BMW X4/X6 and Range Rover Evoque, the XR would be an all-new niche for Mitsubishi should the reaction be positive enough to warrant a production run. ‘XR’ denotes ‘Crossover Runner’.

Mitsubishi concept 3: AR

The third concept, simply named ‘AR’ (Active Runabout) is a crossover intended to combine the family-friendly practicality of an MPV people-carrier with the looks and off-road performance of an SUV. Mitsubishi has hinted the AR will use an adaptive seating arrangement with several different configurations inside, but it won’t use a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Instead, the AR concept will use a small-capacity, direct-injection turbo engine.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish