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Mitsubishi Lancer Could Return…as an SUV

Mitsubishi is clearly loath to abandon names that have marked its history, even when those models come to the end of their lives. We saw the Evolution return as an SUV concept, then the company did the same with the Eclipse moniker, adding the Cross to it. Now, it appears that the automaker is considering reviving the Lancer as…an SUV. A new report in British website Auto Express says that a new Lancer crossover may be in the works.

The new iteration would take the form of a subcompact crossover and be mandated with carving a niche in the industry’s most hotly contested market, in which the Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR, among others, ply their trade.

The Japanese company wants to seduce buyers of these kinds of vehicles, but also attract those with a weakness for hatchbacks. Trevor Mann, head of Mitsubishi, spoke about the company’s position with Auto Express.

“If you look globally, the C-segment hatchback market is not shrinking. It’s down a bit in the U.S. and Europe. But its numbers are still expanding in China. So there is appeal. And I think because the segment is so large globally, we’ve got to take a look at it.”

- Trevor Mann, Mitsubishi

Hatchback? Subcompact Crossover?
The line has become increasingly blurred between what is considered a traditional hatchback car and a subcompact SUV. Mitsubishi plans to occupy that space with an attractive product that, together with Mitsubishi’s exceptional warranty, will help it grow its market share.

The company’s head of design, Tsunehiro Kunimoto, is thinking big when it comes to the styling of the next incarnation of the Lancer.

“Maybe we can create a new type of hatchback vehicle. We’re thinking quite radically. Originality is as much a part of the Mitsubishi design philosophy now as consistency.”

- Tsunehiro Kunimoto, Mitsubishi

There’s no word regarding the styling and design of a future Lancer SUV; we do, however, know a little bit more about what will make it tick. The new models would come with 4-cylinder engine and the option of either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Also possible, a hybrid variant, and/or one borrowing the technology of the Outlander PHEV.