Mitsubishi Performance Cars Return With Hybrid SUV in 2024: Report

It’s been a long time coming for Mitsubishi fans, but hope of a new performance model may materialize this time in a crossover package.

byJames Gilboy|
Mitsubishi Performance Cars Return With Hybrid SUV in 2024: Report
Mitsubishi Motors

It's happening. (Allegedly.) Mitsubishi is reportedly planning its first serious performance model in more than 15 years: a do-it-all Outlander PHEV that could have a tri-motor all-wheel-drive system and air suspension. No, it's not a Lancer Evolution, but there's evidence that a second fast Mitsubishi is on the way too, so don't abandon all hope.

News of the most exciting Mitsubishi since the death of the Evo X in 2016 comes via Japanese outlet Best Car, which has a pretty good record of forecasting cars. It reports that the new Outlander PHEV is selling well enough to justify a performance model, which it says has been approved to debut in 2024. Details on the Outlander PHEV Ralliart (as it'll reportedly be called) are light so far, with our only info being altered suspension, extra chassis rigidity, improved aero, and more power from the 2.4-liter engine under the hood. Beyond that, the picture is still pretty fuzzy.

Some loftier possibilities for the SUV were revealed in a Which Car? interview with Hiroshi Masuoka, the back-to-back Dakar Rally winner for Mitsubishi who now heads the revived Ralliart division. Masuoka outlined the performance Outlander as an all-rounder with serious on- and off-road performance, one worthy of being called "almighty."

He revealed that Mitsubishi is already testing a prototype, with air suspension and tri-motor electric all-wheel drive, using one motor up front and two on the rear axle. Depending on configuration, it could push power output into the upper 300-horsepower range and torque even higher, all while enabling torque vectoring of the kind used in the Evo. Masuoka also pointed to the 2015 Baja Portalegre Outlander PHEV race car as a source of inspiration for the vehicle's design—though it may also resemble the black Vision Ralliart Concept shown here.

This still leaves a lot of unanswered questions though, such as how much of this prototype's tech will make it into the rumored production vehicle. Masuoka doesn't think air suspension would make it prohibitively expensive, though it's unclear whether the regular PHEV's ICE or battery are up to snuff for a performance car. Price still matters too, as for all its motorsport prowess, Mitsubishi doesn't have upscale connotations across much of the world.

The uber-Outlander may not be the sole focus of Mitsubishi's performance car efforts, though. In the 2021 presentation where it announced Ralliart's reboot, a pair of slides implied plans for what might be a second Ralliart performance model. The silhouettes are too vague to be worth reading deeply into, but word from up top is that Mitsubishi shareholders (of all people) are pushing for the return of the Lancer Evo.

Don't get your hopes up too far though, as a Ralliart version of something like the Eclipse Cross is more likely—the Evo program would take years to basically reboot from scratch. After all, Ralliart's still finding its footing, and we'd all rather it take its time and get its comeback right than rush headlong into failure.

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