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The all-new 2017 or 2018 Mitsubishi ASX compact SUV has been spied testing this week, ahead of a global debut that will likely occur in the coming year.

The SUV shown here is clearly inspired by the XR-PHEV concept that first appeared way back in 2013. But, like the big Pajero Sport off-roader that launched last year, the XR’s “dynamic shield” styling remains the Japanese brand’s latest look.

As expected, the XR concept‘s outlandish styling has been toned down for the leap to production, although the so-called ‘shield’ features can be clearly seen at the front, beneath a sharp blade-like headlight design and a dual-louvred grille.

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The profile is where the new ASX makes its most obvious departure from the XR concept, with a more conventional glasshouse framed by a taller roofline and more squared-off beltline.

The XR’s character lines have transferred faithfully, however, with a single deep fold through the top of the doors matched to a curving wave-like line running along the bottom and up over the rear wheel.

The new ASX will retain a version of the XR’s bisected rear-window design, but, as with the profile view, this aspect has clearly been toned down for production.

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Although not confirmed, these new photos – and the presence of mid-sized Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga benchmark cars – suggest the next-generation ASX will be a touch larger than the current model, pushing it beyond currently comparable rivals like the new Honda HR-V (4295mm long).

In concept form, the XR-PHEV measures 75mm longer than the 4295mm ASX, and 100mm wider.

As its name suggests, the XR-PHEV concept driven by a combined petrol-electric plug-in electric vehicle system, matching a 100kW 1.1-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with a 120kW electric motor and a 14kWh battery pack.

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While that setup could appear in the production range, we could also expect the small turbocharged petrol engine to appear – along with a diesel engine in some markets.

Watch for more on the new ASX to surface in the months ahead.

MORE: Mitsubishi XR-PHEV concept previews next-gen ASX
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