When we first saw the Concept-cX at the 2007 Frankfurt show, we suddenly had renewed hope for Mitsubishi's SUV range, which looked as though it might lose its way after the death of the Montero in 2006. Now, the concept that showcased the automaker's new crossover design direction is getting ready to make its own debut.

Unfortunately, there's not much we can tell you about the production version of the Concept-cX, because Mitsubishi isn't saying much. They told us earlier this week that they'd launch a new, small SUV by 2012 and they weren't kidding. All we know for certain is that the vehicle is a compact crossover that will be built on Mitsubishi's GS platform along with the Outlander and Lancer and will go on sale in Japan in February 2010. Interestingly enough, it's only known show debut is scheduled for its European Geneva in March 2010, after the vehicle goes on sale. We can only assume that means that it will make its world debut at either Los Angeles in December or Detroit in January.

While Mitsubishi isn't talking about the Concept-cX's specs yet, or its production name for that matter, we can infer a few details from the concept and its platform. The original Concept-cX was very much a compact crossover, coming in at just four inches longer than a Honda Fit and those dimensions are likely to carryover to production. The concept was powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder turbodiesel fitted with variable geometry turbochargers, a diesel oxidation catalyst and a particulate filter to meet strict emissions standards. It was mated to Mitsubishi's new-at-the-time SST dual-clutch transmission which would later debut in the Lancer Evolution X and sent power to the ground through Mitsubishi's electronically-controlled AWD system.

Given that the production model will still be based on the same platform as the Lancer, it's likely to keep the AWD powertrain and possibly the SST as well, though the company's Sportronic six-speed automatic is also a possibility. Given its compact size and position in the brand, it probably won't get the Outlander's 3.0L V-6 but rather the 2.0L or 2.4L four-cylinder from the Lancer, good for 122 hp and 144 hp respectively. We're hoping, though, that an upper trim level offers a version of Mitsubishi's turbocharged 2.0L four, in either the 237-hp or 291-hp flavors borrowed from the Lancer Ralliart or Evo X. The smaller engine theory is also supported by Mitsubishi's new commitment towards more environmentally-friendly and lower-impact vehicles.

In terms of appearance, all we have to go on are the original concept and this sketch provided by Mitsubishi. The Concept-cX introduced the idea of the Evo X's new "jet fighter" nose mated to an SUV, an idea that would later play out on the well-received Outlander GT Prototype and later the production 2010 Outlander, and by the looks of it, the production Concept-cX will retain an updated version of its design. Whether or not the sketch's gun-slit windows, high belt line and big wheels play out is questionable, as is the likelihood of it retaining the concept's Volvo C30-like rear end.

Mitsubishi hasn't announced any U.S. plans for the model yet, but we think it could work here slotted below the Outlander. What do you think? Should Mitsubishi bring it here? Tell us in the comments below.

Source: Mitsubishi