The new-look 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander gives a lot away about what to expect from the Japanese brand in terms of the way it will design its cars from this point forward.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Speaking with CarAdvice at the 2015 New York auto show, Mitsubishi Motors corporate general manager of design office, Tsunehiro Kunimoto, said the new “face” will appear on different models soon.

“I think Mitsubishi – we said the new design concept of the front design is a ‘dynamic shield’, but this is a concept,” he said.

He indicated the identity of the brand’s cars will be clear from a distance, but they won’t all be exactly the same.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

“Our design, of course, clearly what is a Mitsubishi? But I think it’s not only one front face. We have some diversity of a front face,” Kunimoto said.

“We are studying like this a front face maybe to other products,” he said when asked about applying the look to the upcoming Challenger and ASX SUVs. “I will introduce time by time, you know.

“But it will be clearly integrated, one direction Mitsubishi front design – based on the Mitsubishi brand but also history.”

History was a strong theme for Kunimoto, who suggested that showing some reverence to the established Pajero and previous Outlander (which was replaced by the current model 2012).

“Mitsubishi has a past, this present, and the future. So we have a responsibility all things. Also front face – I’m very pleased to keep our history and create the new things based on our history and heritage,” Kunimoto said.

Mitsubishi Outlander

The brand has stated in the past that SUVs and utes are the way the business is heading, with a strong focus on heavy duty vehicles rather than passenger models.

Indeed, there was no mention of the Mirage or Lancer at the show, and Kunimoto and his US colleague rebuffed questions about the passenger car range.

“We are studying, still, you know we are studying,” was all Kunimoto would say about a replacement for the Lancer small car.

“A very important pillar is SUV. And we have a good technology and history, yes,” he said.

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“I would like to develop the same concept as Mitsubishi-ness.”

There was little said about the brand’s crucial new ASX, which was presaged by the XR-PHEV II concept revealed at the 2015 Geneva motor show in March.

“ASX – maybe I think we showed only at the Geneva auto show a compact SUV. So please think about it,” Kunimoto said, before refusing to offer any guidance on timing for the new model.

That new ASX is touted as potentially offering the brand a platform for the next-generation Evolution hot-hatch. But Kunimoto wouldn’t be drawn to make any statements on such a plan.

mitsubishi-xr-phev-ii-hero

“I think in this moment, I would like to introduce just our new design direction,” he said. “Maybe later I would like to introduce several things. But I would keep the Mitsubishi-ness, or establish the Mitsubishi identity from a design view point.”