Mitsubishi Launches L200 Pickup, Concept XR-PHEV II in Geneva
Euro-spec Production Truck, Crossover Concept Coming to Show in March
The modestly popular Outlander and Outlander Sport highlight Mitsubishi’s presence in the United States, but in other markets, the company produces a whole line of utility vehicles. One such is the popular L200 pickup, which is sold throughout Asia, Latin America, and now, Europe. Mitsubishi dished the dirt on the European-spec L200 today in advance of its debut at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show. Also part of the reveal is the Concept XR-PHEV II crossover, which Mitsu says will portend an upcoming production car.
Mitsubishi calls the L200 “the ultimate sport utility truck,” meaning the company has invested energy in making the interior as spacious and comfortable as possible while still preserving its pickup utility. According to Mitsubishi, the L200 is all new for 2015, although it looks very similar to the 2014 model, right down to the sloping bedsides and jaunty, J-shaped rear doors. The Euro-spec L200 will get a 2.4L turbocharged diesel I-4, which produces either 152 hp and 280 lb-ft or 179 hp and 317 lb-ft, mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.
The body-on-frame L200 also gets a version of the not-for-U.S. Montero’s Super Select 4WD-II drivetrain, which appears to come standard. It’s a part-time four-wheel-drive system, which allows for economical two-wheel drive operation, along with three different modes of four-wheel drive. A locking differential comes along for the ride, maximizing traction when needed. Shorter and narrower than the Chevrolet Colorado, the L200 is on the smaller end of the midsize-pickup spectrum, which is good for people who regularly traverse tight city streets or narrow trails.
Mitsu’s other Geneva debut comes in the form of the XR-PHEV II crossover. As you might expect given its name, the XR is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Optimized for urban settings, the front-wheel-drive crossover comes with an electric motor that makes 161 hp, mated to an unspecified gas engine. The company claims that it will achieve lower carbon dioxide emissions than any other plug-in hybrid. Smaller than the Honda CR-V and Jeep Cherokee, the XR might be a pretty fun urban runabout, as long as off-roading and heavy hauling aren’t regularly on your list of to-dos.
The XR’s styling is exaggerated, although not as much as the enormous Concept GC-PHEV. Its side profile and squinty headlamps make it look a little bit like a downsized Lincoln MKC or MKX, and Mitsubishi says the front grille graphic was designed to look like the bumper protectors from safari-outfitted Montero off-roaders. A four-seat interior comes trimmed in red, with black and silver accents throughout the instrument panel and dashboard.
Mitsu says it’s designed to operate primarily in electric-only mode, with the gas engine acting as a battery-charging generator when needed. The phrasing in Mitsubishi’s press release leads us to believe that the vehicle rarely operates in parallel-hybrid mode, where the gas engine actually drives the wheels. There’s no word on estimated range for electric-only mode, but in a vehicle as small as the XR-PHEV II, there’s no reason to believe it should be less than 50 miles, which is currently par for the course for plug-in compact cars. The much larger Outlander PHEV is good for about 30 miles of electric-only operation.
Will either of these vehicles come to the U.S.? We hope so. Although the Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander Sport sell relatively well, the company desperately needs a shot in the arm with some new showroom content. A production XR crossover would be a good choice for small families and single folks, and the L200 pickup might be a great, rugged alternative to the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier, particularly if it maintains Mitsu’s traditional low prices compared to its competition.
By the way, the L200 will also be marketed as a Fiat, meaning there’s a slight chance it might show up on our shores, perhaps as a Ram. That would be a neat tie-in to history, as Dodge previously sold a licensed version of the Mitsubishi Mighty Max in the 1980s and 1990s, called the Ram 50; in a twist of fate, Mitsu sold the final-generation Dodge Dakota as a Raider during the mid-2000s.
Source: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation