If there's one thing Mitsubishi is absolutely great at, it's bombarding the international auto show circuit with hybrid concept cars of all styles. In recent years we've seen the GR-HEV pickup, a plug-in SUV and crossover duo and the Outlander PHEV Concept-S. And it's not satisfied with its hybrid concept resume just yet. At Paris 2016, it will premiere the sharply styled GT-PHEV, flashing a glimpse at what Mitsubishi hybrid technology and SUV design language might evolve into in the years ahead.
Mitsubishi introduces the GT-PHEV as a "high-end next-generation" SUV designed to showcase both styling and technology. The concept builds on design and tech seen in last year's eX Concept, an all-electric concept that will also appear in Paris.
Mitsubishi set out to create the vision of a grand tourer built to venture across all kinds of surfaces and conditions. A rather stout, blocky concept, the GT-PHEV greets the world ahead with a "Dynamic Shield" front-end similar to what the eX Concept sports. This upright treatment conveys a sense of toughness and occupant protection. It's a clean, tech-forward design, with an X-like grille and headlamp arrangement and vertical stacks of hexagonal lights.
Behind the broad, chiseled face, the strong, level lines continue, creating a thick body supporting the dark wraparound glass and contrast roof of the cabin. The design is accented by defined character lines throughout, and it seems Mitsubishi paid particular attention to the rear, which comes to life with a combination of shapes, angles and curves. A taillamp strip extends straight across that fascia, broadening out at the edges before turning the corners and tapering back in.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but we like how Mitsubishi has found a middle ground between the curvy, highway-roaming crossover and the harder, boxier lines of more outdoorsy 4x4s. The hypothetical owner of this one can feel confident exploring tracks and trails all day before leaving the keys with the valet in time for a late dinner, perhaps after a quick spray-down at the car wash, or at least that's the type of impression it gives from afar.
At the heart of the GT-PHEV design is a triple-motor system paired with an engine of undisclosed size. With one motor up front and two at the rear, the powertrain provides full-time all-wheel drive, with Mitsubishi's Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics control overseeing multiple systems for better handling and stability.
Power to those electric motors comes from a "next generation high-capacity" battery pack that's good for 75 miles (120 km) of range, not bad at all considering the fuel tank kicks in close to 685 more miles (1,100 km). The telematics platform pulls weather, route and road surface information from the cloud and onboard sensor systems to increase efficiency and all-wheel control.
Mitsubishi says the interior is defined by an occupant-wrapping cockpit and horizontal dashboard. Burgundy leather trim matches the roof to create a smooth exterior-interior transition.
The GT-PHEV will make its world debut in Paris, where the eX Concept, Outlander PHEV and other Mitsubishi vehicles will also be on display. The event is fast approaching and will open up to the press in two weeks, on September 29. We'll be there bringing you all the latest auto news as it hits.