Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The Mitsubishi XR-PHEV hybrid crossover offers a very futuristic style in a package clearly designed for fuel economy. The XR-PHEV uses a front-wheel drive drivetrain, powered by a 1.1-liter turbocharged MIVEC engine, married to an electric motor and a battery pack. What makes the XR stand out in our minds are its wide, raised rear haunches and angular body details which lead the eye towards its front.

The XR is just one of three concept SUVs recently revealed by Mitsubishi, including the GC-PHEV – a full-size plug-in hybrid, and the Concept AR, which is designed to bridge the gap between SUV and minivan.

Mitsubishi's current Outlander Sport has done a yeoman's job since it came on the market for the 2011 model year. The affordable crossover has been one of the few bright spots in the perennially troubled automaker's lineup – it's the brand's best seller in the US and sales are up nearly 40 percent this year. The compact CUV has become an increasingly important part of the Mitsubishi lineup, which is why you should pay attention to this XR-PHEV Concept – it's said to presage the next-generation model.

Stylistically, this is a pretty bold little CUV, with a striking face framed by brazen zig-zags of chrome that underline the narrow headlamps and frame the massive lower fascia. The profile has a dramatically tapered greenhouse with deep sheetmetal contours and a funky blacked-out A-pillar that emphasizes the hood's height. The rear end is no less dramatic, with dual-pane rear tailgate with a particularly fast rake.

As shown here, the XR-PHEV (pronounced "Cross Runner") is a four-seat CUV that motivates its front wheels through a turbocharged 1.1-liter, three-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower paired with a 120-kW electric motor. In pure-electric mode, the 14-kWh battery is said to be good for 52 miles of cruising range and the combined fuel economy bogey is 66 miles per gallon on Japan's lenient testing cycle.

How much of this front-wheel drive hybrid's design carries over to the next Outlander Sport is anyone's guess, but the plan is for the model to arrive within the next three years and be available in both gas-only and plug-in hybrid formats, not unlike its big brother, the Outlander.

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