Mitsubishi will unveil a plug-in hybrid concept that previews the next ASX compact crossover at the Geneva Auto Show. The ASX, which will be rolled out in 2016, will show the Mitsubishi’s bolder design language. A spokesman for Mitsubishi Europe told Automotive New Europe that the concept will be between 80 percent and 90 percent “close to reality” for the next ASX.
The concept would play a big part in slaying the brand’s “boring” perception. Mitsubishi sold 33-percent more ASX in Europe in 2014 to 35,203 units -- according to figures from market researcher JATO Dynamics – to make it as the brand’s best-seller in the region.
The concept will feature Mitsubishi’s two-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid drivetrain that will be available on the ASX starting 2017. Mitsubishi was the most-dominant carmaker in Europe’s plug-in hybrid market in the first nine months of 2014.
Its Outlander plug-in hybrid was the top plug-in hybrid in Europe in the period with sales of 14,640 units. According to Mitsubishi, the plug-in accounted for over half of the Outlander total sales in Europe, with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden as its largest markets.
Mitsubishi has unveiled teaser pictures of the new concept, which carried over the themes of the XR-PHEV compact SUV concept unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo auto show.
The new Mitsubishi ASX represents the final production evolution of the Concept-cX show car unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. The success of this concept eventually convinced MMC's top men to evolve it into a full-fledged production car – the ASX. Interestingly, both the Concept-cX and the ASX, as introduced, are wrapped in "Kawasemi Blue" color.
Compared to the Concept-cX, the Mitsubishi ASX is longer by around 20 cm (4.11 m vs. 4.295 m), wider by 2 cm and higher by 6.5 cm. To achieve optimum packaging, the new ASX has a more upright tailgate. Nonetheless, the ASX adopts the basic design theme and the passenger car-like sure-footed stance of the Concept-cX.
The new ASX employs the "Jet Fighter" grille, which pays tribute to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ F-2 jet fighter. This grille is now considered a signature element for nearly all Mitsubishi Motors on-road vehicles in Europe like the Colt, Lancer and Outlander. Designers didn’t need to simulate an SUV appearance through heavy detailing – like on the L200 and the Pajero/Montero/Shogun. Instead, designers further developed the design vocabulary of the Concept-cX to create a less polarizing yet expressive and finely executed "sports hatch."
By adopting the "compact wedge" design concept of the Concept-cX – featuring a thrusting side character line – designers were able to optimize the overall shape of ASX. This way, designers managed to optimize the its long wheelbase, which is around 14.5 cm longer than on the concept (2.67 m vs. 2.525 m), thereby lending the ASX with a lower and balanced silhouette while better integrating its prominent wheel arches. In addition, the roof line of ASX now flows down rearward, helping the SUV achieve a lower coefficient of drag value of 0.32 Cd.
Up front, the Jet Fighter grille of the ASX looks similar to that of the Lancer or Outlander. But the Jet Fighter grille in the ASX is framed within a more substantial looking clip, thereby merging this element to a sculptured bonnet with a double bulge. This design doesn’t just help enhance pedestrian safety, but it also makes the body of the ASX more visible to the driver for improved levels of maneuverability.