Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Could this Qashqai-sized SUV save Mitsubishi's fortunes?

Mitsubishi has teased a new SUV ahead of its reveal at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show – and hinted that it could be a ‘turning point’ for the brand in the UK.

The Qashqai-sized crossover is rumoured to be named the Eclipse and will sit between the ASX and the Outlander in the company’s range.

The Japanese carmaker saw UK registrations plummet in 2016 – down nearly 20% to 18,237 sales last year. In recent years it’s been relying on sales of its popular Outlander PHEV crossover, which has been hit by reduced government incentives for plug-in hybrid cars.

Mitsubishi teased the new crossover in concept form as the XR-PHEV II at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

At the time, Mitsubishi UK’s managing director Lance Bradley told Motoring Research it had potential to double the manufacturer’s sales figures in the UK.

He explained that, in 2015, Mitsubishi UK was expecting to sell 10,000 Outlander PHEVs. As the C-segment crossover sector is three times larger than the D-segment SUV, the firm could potentially sell 30,000 Qashqai-rivals a year.

“I’m not saying that’s going to happen,” Bradley told Motoring Research. “We’re going to be conservative in our numbers. But when I went to Japan, Aikawa [former president and chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation] ambitiously suggested that it might be possible.”

The new crossover will use a shortened version of the Outlander’s platform and will feature a more stylish, coupe roofline.

Although a plug-in hybrid version would appear to make sense following the success of the Outlander PHEV, reduced incentives and high costs mean the firm might stick to more conventional powertrains for the Eclipse.

A new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is expected to be popular, while a 2.2-litre turbodiesel will also be offered. The SUV will be available with two- and four-wheel-drive powertrains.

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