A few tech-conscious Americans are still waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the capable and big-in-Europe Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV â€” a plug-in crossover introduced in 2014 â€” to arrive on these fair shores.
Everyone else, however, has had ample time to scratch that compact crossover itch with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape, Dodge Journey (the midsize priced like a compact), and a host of others. A lesser proportion of buyers opted for the smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (aka RVR in Canada).
Crossovers and SUVs aren’t just bigÂ â€” they’re essential. Without them, automakers are left shaking the money tap to loosen a few extra drops of cash. Well, Mitsubishi doesn’t want to shake the tap anymore.
The struggling automaker, recently acquired by Nissan-Renault, faces the same problem in North America as Hyundai and VolkswagenÂ â€” two automakers that belatedly realized the dire need for more crossovers. Mitsubishi simply doesn’t have enough to tempt the buying public. While the brand hasn’t fielded a midsize car in years, and recently dropped the ancient Lancer compact, its utility lineup saw its fair share of neglect.
Like Hyundai, Mitsubishi plans to beef up its offerings by shoehorning a new crossover model into its lineup, knocking another model out of the way in the process. Today, we have a sneak peak of that new model, due for an unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in early March.
More svelte than either the Outlander or its little brother, the unnamed crossover boasts what the automaker hopes is a striking design. We can see a mild resemblance, in profile, of the XR-PHEV II concept. While there’s no word on its modes of propulsion, or whether a hybrid variant is in the works, we can expect more information in the lead-up to Geneva.
The new crossover will enter production late this year. To make room in the lineup for this modelÂ â€” which slots slightly above the Outlander SportÂ â€” the smaller crossover will shrink just a bit, further separating the models and giving Mitsubishi a second product to talk about in the future.
After hitting rock bottom in terms of U.S. sales in 2012, Mitsubishi has pulled back from the brink and posted sales growth in each consecutive year, However, last year’s tallyÂ â€” 96,267 unitsÂ â€” topped 2015’s results by less than a thousand sales. By all appearances, growth has stalled, meaning a model that actually sells can’t come fast enough.
[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]