Mitsubishi's crossover plan: New model coming to Geneva, Outlander PHEV finally on the way

The current Outlanders will be resized to make room for the new small crossover.

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Mitsubishi announced last night that it will be concentrating on crossovers for the foreseeable future (which includes leaving the Lancer behind). That future starts at this year's Geneva show, where the company will reveal a completely new small crossover. This new vehicle, the name of which Mitsubishi didn't reveal, is planned to reach dealers in early spring of 2018.

It will feature a new version of Mitsubishi's All Wheel Control (AWC) all-wheel drive and a new turbocharged engine that we're told was designed completely in-house. We expect the new crossover to share cues with recent Mitsubishi concepts, including the eX Concept and Ground Tourer, since Mitsubishi's general manager of design strategy Kazuo Yano said they will set the tone for future Mitsubishis. Don Swearingen, executive vice president and COO of Mitsubishi in North America, said this new vehicle is the "best vehicle Mitsubishi has ever produced." That may not be the tallest order given the automaker's recent models, but it's definitely a good goal.

As for the size of this new crossover, it will probably be comparable to the current Outlander Sport. The plan is that the Outlander Sport and Outlander will be changing sizes in the coming years. The former will shrink and the latter will grow, leaving space in the middle for the new small crossover. There will be an awkward overlapping period, though, since we're told both Outlander flavors are scheduled for a mild refresh sometime next year that won't include size changes. The resized Outlander models will come sometime after that refresh. (If we're lucky, one will get a new name to reduce confusion, especially with a new model sitting between them.)

Speaking of Outlanders, we now know when we will finally get the Outlander PHEV, a variant that has been promised and re-promised for years now. A Mitsubishi PR representative said that the plug-in hybrid crossover will be on sale in the US sometime in the next fiscal year. (For reference, Mitsubishi's current fiscal year ends this March.) Swearingen said it will also make its official debut later this year. So after many, many delays, the US will finally see Mitsubishi's plug-in crossover. We'll see if it's as big a sales success here as it is in Europe.

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