For Sale By:Dealer
Options: CD Player
Exterior Color: White
Power Options: Power Windows
Number of Cylinders: 4
McKinney, Texas, United States
Mitsubishi enjoys a long history of thinking outside the literal box when it comes to designing minivans and people movers. Remember the Mitsubishi Van, a.k.a. Delica? How about the Chariot, better known to us as the Colt Vista? The Expo and Expo LRV, the twin models that succeeded it? These were all left-of-center takes on the MPV genre, and while they never sold in large volumes, we can't help but look back at them with a mix of bemusement and respect for their oddball character. Who knows? A production version of this AR Concept could be next.
According to Mitsubishi, "the comfort of a minivan and active personality of an SUV are merged at the highest levels" in the Concept AR. Us? We just think this mild hybrid concept looks kind of neat, even if it's just putting on off-road airs with its elevated ride hight, faux skid plates and black-lipped wheel wells.
Hardware-wise, this Active Runabout is less showcar and more 'real world,' with the front wheels drawing their power from a 134-horsepower, 1.1-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine paired with a 10-kW electric motor used as a belt starter generator (read: mild hybrid). A continuously variable transmission handles shifting duties.
Stop us if you've heard this one: According to Autocar, the current generation will be the last Mitsubishi Evolution we will ever see.
That, while unfortunate for driving enthusiasts, is a reality we've had plenty of time to digest. The days of wanton fuel burning for the sake of speed and power will soon come to an end. But that doesn't mean the days of performance have to die, too. "Green is still fun to drive," said Mitsubishi UK boss Lance Bradley in a conversation with Autocar. "It's a challenge to make it fun, but not a particularly difficult one. Electric vehicle performance is very good."
So, should we expect a new hybrid sedan to take up the mantle left by the Evo? Not so much. The British magazine quotes Kanenori Okamoto of Mitsubishi as saying, "It will be replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance," which will apparently incorporate lessons learned in the automaker's efforts at Pikes Peak. The Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III, which handily broke the EV record at the famed mountain course, will donate much of its high-performance, zero-emissions technology to the project, including its Super All Wheel Control four-wheel-drive system.
We have a date with Mitsubishi Mirage (again). The Japanese subcompact is slated to arrive on our shores in September 2013, and it's one of the product offerings meant to help Mitsubishi's US arm raise sales in its next financial year from 55,000 to 80,000. If next year were 1989, we'd say there's no reason that couldn't happen, but from what we've seen, the Mirage is so magnificently meek (have you seen the interior?) that we aren't sure how it will manage that kind of US sales aggression in the 21st century.
Continuing that theme, Car and Driver reports that the Mitsu will launch here with a 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine. Make no mistake, this is a very popular engine in the Mirage and responsible for its excellent fuel economy. The hatch is doing so well in other markets with its two naturally aspirated tri-cylinders that the Thailand facility that builds the Mirage will have its capacity increased by 33 percent to try and meet demand. In European spec, the 845-kilogram (1,859 pounds) subcompact with the more powerful engine offering 79 horsepower and 78 pound-feet of torque gets 57.3 miles per US gallon and takes 11.7 seconds to get from zero to 62 miles per hour. The question is whether Mitsubishi will boost the output of that engine for our market. If not, only the 70-hp Smart ForTwo will have less horsepower - but the Mirage, interestingly enough, weighs about the same as the microcar.
On its UK site, Mitsubishi said the reveal of the Mirage in back 2011 meant "redefining the standards by which to judge a compact passenger car." We can't wait to find out if that's still true and what that means when it gets here. To prepare yourself, there's video of the Mirage in action below.