A report in Autocar says Mitsubishi wants more literal space between its three core SUVs. The outlet quotes "a senior source" saying, "Today we aren't in an ideal position, with our SUVs close in size, but in the next 18 months you will start to see a strategy that separates them out." Redesigns for the next generation of the Outlander, Eclipse Cross, and Outlander Sport will put about 200 millimeters' (7.9 inches) difference in length between each.
Right now, the Outlander stands 184.8 inches long, the Eclipse Cross 173.4 inches long, and the Outlander Sport is scarcely smaller at 171.9 inches long. Autocar says the revamp would see the Outlander grow, while the Outlander Sport gets smaller. Based on the comments, if the Outlander gets longer, then we wouldn't be surprised at seeing the Eclipse Cross putting on a few inches, too.
The first fruit should blossom next year, and be possible thanks to platform-sharing within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Comparing Mitsubishi to Nissan's formula, the Rogue is 184.5 inches long, the Rogue Sport 172.4 inches. We don't get the Juke any more, which is 162.8 inches long; our Nissan Kicks extends 169.1 inches.
The coming range will extend plug-in hybrid and full electric options, too. Naturally, the Outlander PHEV will make the jump to a new generation, and the Eclipse Cross will come in hybrid and PHEV flavors. An updated PHEV powertrain shown in the Engelberg Tourer Concept at the Geneva Motor Show paired a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors at the axles, for 44 miles of EV range on the WLTP cycles. That's 16 more EV miles than the current Outlander PHEV can go.
The Outlander Sport will get a battery-electric trim. The "senior source" said, "We will not have a unique nameplate, but instead offer the appropriate electrification options for the vehicles and how people will use them."
There's likely a lot more in store for the brand, especially in the U.S., although we have no idea what that is. Takao Kato will take over as CEO of Mitsubishi global next month, with the mandate of carrying out the carmaker's "small but beautiful" strategy. The initiative puts steady growth and profit ahead of disruptive leaps. Kato has experience in the U.S., having helped set up the joint manufacturing plant with Chrysler in Illinois in 1988. Even so, he's said of our region, "It's not easy to be in that market," and would only go so far as saying "probably not" when asked if leaving the U.S. is an option.
The brand's been on a run, though: Sales having rebounded from a low of 55,683 units in 2010 to 118,074 last year, and sales are up another 12 percent through the first four months of this year.