Mitsubishi Concept GC and XR - 2013 Tokyo
Mitsubishi shows face and future of Montero and Outlander Sport at 2013 Tokyo Motor Show
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), parent company to Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) showed three different SUV concepts at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show that indicate the company's future styling direction: Concept AR (Active Runabout), Concept GC-PHEV (Grand Cruiser Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle), and Concept XR-PHEV (Crossover Runner Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle.)
All three have the potential to be sold in North America, said Osamu Masuko, president of MMC, although the decision will depend on market research into each model's viability.
Concept AR (the greenish gold vehicle), a multi-passenger vehicle study, has the least potential to enter the North American market, since Mitsubishi does not currently sell such a vehicle in the US or Canada. The closest to potential production is Concept XR (the red vehicle), as the next generation Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi's best selling vehicle in North America. Should the larger Concept GC (the silver vehicle) be greenlit, it would likely be as the Pajero (Montero in North America), Mitsubishi's flagship SUV. And should the next generation Montero come to the US, it would be the first time since it departed in 2006.
If Concept XR and GC become Outlander Sport and Montero, they could be powered by variants of the PHEV system that is currently in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. This sophisticated two motor/generator plus gasoline engine system allows for full EV, parallel and series hybrid modes and provides the Outlander PHEV with around 30 miles of EV range at speeds up to 75 mph.
According to Masaki Matsuhara, Head Mitsubishi Motors Design Office, Concept GC shows the styling direction the company will be taking when it comes the "face" (front end) and vehicle body. His team took cues from the original 1982 Pajero such as the "cat-eye" headlamps, wrap-around grille, and shape of the lower bumper and modernized them in a styling concept he calls, "diamond motion." We're not exactly sure what that means but the result is some very wide and fierce looking front ends.
The aggressive styling continues in the GC's body surfacing which is accented with sharp character lines and faceted surfaces that bulge at the fenders towards the wheels and tighten back around the vehicle midsection. A short front overhang and dramatically lifted rear improve offroad approach and departure angles. Matsuhara says such styling gives the GC "a narrow waist and flared fenders for a strong, stable stance"; we say the GC looks like a cross between the new Range Rover and the Warthog truck from the original Halo video game - complete with the rendered polygon side surfaces.
Inside, it's a video game player's dream. The windshield doubles as an augmented reality screen, providing heads up display information (speed, distance traveled, etc.), real time turn-by-turn navigation, traffic/weather/collision avoidance alerts, and night vision assistance. Separating the 4 occupants through the length of the cabin is a "tactical table" - a slick touchscreen display that's like a really long iPad in how it pinches and zooms through maps like and provides access to all sorts of hardware and software environments, from the air conditioning and nav/audio system to apps like Pandora and text/email messages.
Even more wild is the Concept XR, which provides a less upright take on the diamond motion design theme. Concept XR's front end is more raked and racy than the GC's and looks a bit like what Lexus is doing with its spindle grill theme, though the XR's is better executed, without any weird viewing angles. A deep, chiseled character line sweeps back to the dramatically straked rear. There are so many sharp triangular bits on the XR, it can't help but look fierce. It compares favorably to the Range Rover Evoque without copying it. If the next generation Outlander Sports adopts this profile and even a few of these cues, it should continue to be one of Mitsubishi's best sellers.
So do you like the new direction Mitsubishi is taking with their SUVs? Let us know in the comments below.