Launched in late 2013, the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid is to date, the world’s most popular plug-in hybrid SUV, with sales in some key European markets outnumbering the popular Nissan LEAF electric car.
Despite not yet going on sale in the U.S. — its launch there has been delayed multiple times in the past two years — the affordable plug-in SUV has proven something of a savior for the brand, offering customers a way to own a practical SUV with the fuel economy of a compact hybrid. With its small iMiEV electric city car almost completely forgotten, Mitsubishi has already declared its intent to bring its plug-in hybrid technology to the rest of its vehicle lineup in the next few years, as well as an all-electric long-range SUV.
And this fall at the Paris Motor Show, we’ll get to see the first concept car that could hint at what it has in store for those vehicles: a grand-tourer with plug-in hybrid capabilities.
Announced this week, little is known about the “Grand Tourer Concept.” Teased with a single photograph, Mitsubishi says its new plug-in hybrid concept is an “up-market SUV” which is the “latest expression of Mitsubishi Motors’ design ambitions.” While it doesn’t discuss vehicle specifications, Mitsubishi hints in its press release that the vehicle could include augmented reality design elements as well as fully connected advanced driver assistance systems.
Given that Mitsubishi’s recent all-electric concept car — the eX Electric SUV debuted last year at the Tokyo Motor Show — showcased fully autonomous vehicle capabilities as well as dynamic user-adjustable driving characteristics, we’d guess that this new, unnamed plug-in concept will offer similar capabilities.
As for the drivetrain? We’re guessing it will most likely be based on the plug-in hybrid drivetrain found in the current generation Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid, which translates to a dual-motor, all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid with 2.0 litre turbocharged gasoline engine.
Meanwhile, the exterior looks similar to some of Mitsubishi’s previous concept vehicles (the eX in particular), with a sweeping windshield and low roofline The front grille is also swept back, with high wheel arches front and rear contributing to a high waistline. Meanwhile, the rear tailgate is evocative of the lines used in grand tourers from BMW and Audi.
Given that Mitsubishi is now part owned by Nissan, we’re also interested to know if the new Grand Tourer concept will use any of Nissan’s current plug-in vehicle technology, but given Nissan is currently only working on electric and range-extended electric vehicle drivetrains, we’re guessing this particular vehicle will be Mitsubishi-engineered for the most part.
What hopes do you have for Mitsubishi’s new plug-in hybrid concept? Should Mitsubishi be focusing on plug-in or all-electric models — and when do you think that long-awaited Outlander Plug-in Hybrid will finally launch in the U.S.?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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