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by David Zalstein

The Mitsubishi GC-PHEV concept has been unveiled at today’s Tokyo motor show, providing the best look yet at the future design direction behind the next-generation Mitsubishi Pajero due in 2014.

A full-size plug-in hybrid SUV with Mitsubishi’s full-time Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) four-wheel-drive system, the four-seat GC-PHEV concept is 30mm longer, 95mm wider and 80mm taller than the current Pajero.

Its powertrain comprises a 250kW supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, a 70kW electric motor and a 12kWh battery installed under the rear luggage space floor.

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept - 9

Able to automatically switch between pure EV and hybrid drive, depending on driving conditions and remaining battery charge, the Mitsubishi GC-PHEV controls torque distribution via electronically controlled front and centre limited slip differentials and an Electric-Active Yaw Control (E-AYC) unit.

With the ability to be used as an external power source outputting up to 1500 watts, the concept also claims a plug-in cruising range of more than 40km.

Up front, a muscular exterior features daytime running lamps sitting atop bumper-mounted adaptive headlights and flanking an upright grille with variable louvers.

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept - 4

At the rear, a tailgate with “sub-windows” designed to aid rearward visibility joins a rugged-looking skid plate with flush-mounted exhaust tips. The large SUV also gets a panoramic glass roof.

A B-pillar-less design is said to create easy access to the cabin, which includes an augmented reality windscreen display.

The GC-PHEV concept also has a touch-screen operated “Tactical Table” running down the centre of the cabin. The large display unit allows information to be gathered, created and shared between occupants. A connected car system, meanwhile, links the vehicle to information related to vehicle status, traffic and traffic signals.

Mitsubishi GC-PHEV Concept - 5

Information projected onto the augmented reality windshield includes satellite navigation guidance; vehicle-to-vehicle and pedestrian-to-vehicle tracking as well as alerts from the vehicle’s active safety system.

Employing eight infrared cameras, the active safety system comprises cooperative adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, collision mitigation, blind spot assist, a driver alert monitor and an around-view monitor. An additional unintentional vehicle move off control system detects mistaken use of the accelerator and restrains the car by limiting engine power. Mitsubishi says the system also urges the driver to “be more careful”.

The Mitsubishi GC-PHEV is one of three new hybrid-powered SUV concepts on show in Tokyo, alongside the Mitsubishi XR-PHEV and Mitsubishi AR.

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