For the past couple of years Mitsubishi has gone back and forth on the fate of its premier sports car, the Lancer Evolution, teasing us with the idea of a hybrid successor before killing the idea completely. Instead, reports AutoCar, we’ll get a performance version of an unspecified plug-in hybrid SUV.
The company hasn’t decided which SUV will get a performance plug-in drivetrain, only that it will feature technology and knowledge gleaned from the company’s two i-MiEV Pikes Peak racers. The Super All Wheel Control system from the i-MiEV racers will send gas or electric power to all four wheels in the spirit of the Evo, though it’ll need to make a lot of power in order to move an SUV versus the compact sedan that was the Lancer. It’s also possible an all-new model, possibly based on the XR-PHEV concept, might just debut instead.
Mitsubishi basically has two options from this point; up the ante with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which is raking in the sales in Europe, or the smaller Outlander Sport, which could benefit from an injection of performance. The smaller Outlander Sport model makes the most sense if Mitsubishi really wants to embody the spirit of the departing Lancer Evo, but Mitsubishi already tipped its cards with the Outlander PHEV S Concept that debuted last week.
After Mitsubishi i-MiEV sales failed to take off, the company seems to have pulled back from its pure electric ambitions. Instead it is pursuing plug-in hybrids, with an all-new compact truck and a van version of the Outlander on deck.
Can a plug-in SUV fill the shoes of the Lancer Evo? That’s been the cause of intense debate within Mitsubishi, and once fans catch whiff of this move, they’re sure to have a few cents to add to the conversation as well.