Mitsubishi's future SUV design takes centre stage

Mitsubishi's plug-in hybrid.

Mitsubishi made another bold leap in the development of its next generation SUVs with the world premiere of the Mitsubishi Ground Tourer Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (GT-PHEV) Concept at the Paris Motor Show.

The GT-PHEV Concept follows in the tracks of the XR-PHEV, shown at the Tokyo Auto Show in 2013, and the XR-PHEV II, which was unveiled to much acclaim at the Geneva Auto Show in 2015.

As with its predecessors, the GT-PHEV will showcase a massive leap in plug-in hybrid technology and in-car connected technologies, while also hinting at the future design language of mass-production Mitsubishi models.

Electric reach, hybrid power

Topmost on the GT-PHEV Concept's list of technical advancements is a brand new plug-in hybrid system. The system uses three electrical motors and a small, lean-burning internal combustion engine to drive all four wheels and provide an enormous cruising range of 120 km on battery power alone and 1 200 km using all modes of propulsion.

The three electric motors are split between the front and rear axles, with one electric motor in front, alongside the internal combustion engine, and two fitted on the rear axle - one connected to each of the rear wheels.

Using this layout and the Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) technology from its range of off-road vehicles, the GT-PHEV Concept offers an active all-wheel drive system that will seamlessly switch between different drive modes, depending on driver demands and road conditions. More details on the technical performance of the GT-PHEV Concept will be made available at the Paris Motor Show, but expect a performance bias to suit the concept vehicle's dynamic design and best make use of its high-output electric motors.

The future of SUV design

The new GT-PHEV Concept not only showcases the next evolution of plug-in hybrid technology, but also introduces Mitsubishi's future design direction. Mitsubishi used the term Ground Tourer (the GT in the GT-PHEV name) as inspiration for its design of a dynamic, off-road focused vehicle.

The concept features an even bolder interpretation of the Dynamic Shield front design, which creates a powerful overtaking presence and sets the scene for an overall dynamic design.

In crafting the GT-PHEV, Mitsubishi designers set about creating a dynamic SUV that appears to have been crafted from a single ingot of steel. It does this through its use of a high waistline, deep shoulder lines and the implementation of a floating roof design.

The roof itself mirrors the colour of the interior trim, which in this version of the concept is a deep red burgundy. The roof slopes slightly towards the sculpted rear to create a sporty wedge shape.

Next-generation connected motoring

Mitsubishi has announced that it will further develop the highly connected digital cockpit concept of its XR-PHEV and XR-PHEV II forebears.

Among the innovations will be a system that seamlessly combines a large number of data sources from the vehicle's own sensors and exterior cameras as well as from connected traffic, weather and road sources to dynamically adjust the vehicle's settings in real-time. This negates the need for the driver to adjust his or her vehicle preferences based on the weather or changes in the road surface and will best utilise Mitsubishi's S-AWC system.