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2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Goes Mainstream

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The 3rd generation Mitsubishi Outlander will be introduced in mid-2013 as a 2014 model year product.  The new Outlander is based on carryover architecture, but has all new sheetmetal giving it a much more mainstream look.  Where its predecessor has a very distinctive front end theme – admittedly controversial because of its “shark nose” style – the new Outlander goes decidedly mainstream.  This is an example of Mitsu taking a very conservative approach and attempting to sell a style that no one will find controversial.

Viewed from a lower angle, the lower grille opening reminds some of Lightning McQueen in Disney/Pixar’s Cars movies.  The key distinguishing feature for the new exterior style other than the toned-down front six inches is the deep character line stretching from the front fender through the doors and ending at the rear quarter. There is a horizontal bright trim piece on the liftgate stretching between the taillamps that looks like a bit of an afterthought.

Overall, the new Outlander is not displeasing, it just doesn’t grab you with its styling.  For a vehicle Mitsubishi hopes will be a strong seller, the Outlander blends in rather than stand out.  One way to make a statement is through pricing and it appears that Mitsubishi will drop the base price of the Outlander while adding equipment providing a stronger value statement.


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Mitsubishi i-Gas and i-MiEV – Ready for Prime Time?

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I have been looking for a chance to drive the diminutive Mitsubishi i-Cars ever since I first saw the photos of them. When visiting Mitsubishi HQ in Cypress, California, there they are in the lobby on display. But it wasn’t until the just finished Outlander and Friends press preview Mitsubishi held in Palm Springs that I was able to drive both of the i-Cars.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV_SV_VehicleVoice.jpg

There were two i-Cars at the preview – the i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) – the all electric Japanese kei car that the press is reporting on continuously and its gasoline-powered base car. Lets talk about the gas-powered version first.
“kei” Car for the USA? First, the Mitsubishi i is a very, very small car. It is a Japanese “kei” car meaning it is designed to be a tiny commuter car for dense urban environments. It also means that the car is limited to a 660cc engine. The example we were able to drive was powered by a turbocharged 660cc engine, had an automatic transmission and all wheel drive.


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Mitsubishi RA Concept – North American International Auto Show

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Mitsubishi showed its RA Concept at the North American International Auto Show. The RA is a two-seat diesel powered sports car with styling cues that telegraph shapes to come from Mitsubishi.

Mitsu RA SV.jpg

Designed by perhaps the tallest styling team in the industry, both the Chief Designer and Interior Designer are well over 6-feet 5-inches tall. Dave O’Connell, Chief Designer, who is about 6-feet 7-inches tall admitted they “kept shaving off height until the car looked fabulous”. And fabulous it is. Being height challenged I should be able to get into the RA without too much problem, but wouldn’t even venture it. Neither of Mitsu’s stylists would volunteer to get into their head turning cocept.
Mitsu RA Open.jpg

All that said, the reason for a concept car is to elicit reactions from showgoers and to help get the brand and the car on consideration lists. RA does that. But, Mitsu management stress that the RA is only a design study that probably won’t be on the road any time soon. RA picks up Mitsubishi’s new face… a downward scowl that gives a shark-like front end appearance. This front end look premiered on the Mitsu Lancer and will go a long way at giving Mitsubishi products a readily identifiable look. The body contours now look very organic with fluid shapes providing muscular fender flares tightly wrapped around meaty tires.
Mitsu RA F34.jpg

Mitsu RA R34 .jpg

RA is Teaser for Next Generation Eclipse
Being a two-seater, the RA certainly isn’t a production proposition. Mitsubishi needs a product that can sell 60,000 units a year to be happy and a two-seater just won’t do it. Think of RA as showing us some of the shapes that may be seen on the next Gen Eclipse.
Now, about the next generation Eclipse. The present Eclipse is based on Mitsubishi’s large PS platform. So, Eclipse tends to be bigger and heavier than most would like for the small sporty car class. The next Eclipse may not be based on PS. The GS platform of the Lancer, Lancer Evolution X and Outlander could also provide the basis for the next generation Eclipse. This would give the Eclipse the hardware needed to be a truly world class sporty car. Most of those bits, of course, would come from the Evolution X.
We could conceptualize a 4-seat sporty car using RA styling and powered by a 2.4L 4-cylinder from Lancer, the 2.0L Twin Turbo from the Evolution X, and a 3.3L V6 from the present car. In that way, you’d have the secretary’s car, the boy racer and the luxo model. Add AWD and Mitsubishi’s outstanding paddle shift transmission and you have a winner.


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