Mitsubishi has handed down a shadowy preview for its first all-new offering since the big Pajero Sport hit the stage over a year ago.
Believed previously to be a replacement for the ASX, the model shown here will actually sit alongside Mitsubishi’s ageing small SUV as a more sports-styled offering.
In that respect, the new compact SUV – clearly inspired by the XR-PHEV II concept that debuted in early 2015 – will enter the range as a rival to Nissan’s segment-busting Juke and the new Toyota C-HR.
Reports out of the UK suggest this new model will adopt the name Eclipse, a badge that until 2012 had been affixed to a compact coupe in overseas markets.
(Fans of the Fast & Furious film franchise will recall the gaudy purple example driven, and designed by, Tyrese Gibson. His character, Roman Pearce, chose the car over an Evo…)
Giving the Eclipse name to this new compact SUV might seem a controversial move to pundits, although it would highlight Mitsubishi’s view that the new model’s coupe-like design makes it a sportier model than the usual. And, after all, the market has a short memory.
“Sharper in its expression than a conventional coupe, this new, compact SUV will feature highly chamfered contours with a wedge-shaped belt line and a distinctive V-line in the rear quarter stemming from the forward-slanted C-pillar and the chunky, muscular rear fenders,” Mitsubishi says of the new model’s design.
At 4370mm long and 1870mm wide, the XR-PHEV is in the same size class as the Nissan Qashqai. The ASX, by comparison, measures 4295mm long and 1770mm wide.
Above: the earlier XR-PHEV II concept
The PHEV part of the earlier concept’s name means we could see a plug-in hybrid version of this new SUV, but the majority of sales will likely come from more conventional petrol and diesel drivetrains.
The XR-PHEV II concept is 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.
The new SUV will make its debut at March’s Geneva motor show. CarAdvice has contacted Mitsubishi Australia for word on its local potential. Watch this space.
MORE: Mitsubishi XR-PHEV II Concept revealed
MORE: Mitsubishi outlines aggressive SUV expansion plan
MORE: 2018 Mitsubishi ASX (?) spied inside and out
MORE: Mitsubishi news, reviews, comparisons and videos