Mitsubishi only sells a handful of models in the U.S., but the automaker will have 15 vehicles in its booth at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. The biggest news will be an all-new Mirage model aimed at emerging markets and the Concept PX MiEV II plug-in hybrid showing off the automaker’s latest “green technology.”
Mitsubishi resurrected the Mirage name for a new a sub-compact, five-door hatchback that’s only 146 inches long – or, for context, about one inch shorter than the current MINI Cooper hatchback. The five-passenger, front-wheel-drive Mirage is powered by a 1.0-liter inline three-cylinder MIVEC engine with Auto Stop & GO (AS&G) mated to a CVT transmission.
The automaker designed the Mirage to meet the needs of emerging markets and advanced markets alike. According to Mitsubishi, emerging markets need affordable compact cars for maneuverability and drivability; advanced markets need an entry-level model; and both markets need a car with good fuel economy and low carbon emissions that seats five adults comfortably.
Fuel economy is aimed at best-in-class for the Japanese market version. Efficiency gains were made through weight reduction, rolling resistance, less drivetrain friction, improved brakes, and an aerodynamic body to reduce drag. The Mirage is scheduled to go on sale in Thailand March 2012 followed by other markets.
Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV II
The Concept PX-MiEV II is a plug-in hybrid PHEV that combines Mitsubishi’s existing EV technology in an SUV body. The hybrid setup increases range over traditional small EV-only city cars. The automaker uses technology lifted from its i-MiEV (or i in the U.S.) electric city car and a conventional gasoline engine. Mitsubishi claims the Concept PX-MiEV II has a range of 800 km (496 miles) and can travel as far as 60 km per liter or fuel consumed.
Mitsubishi says the PX can travel as far as 50 km (31 miles) on battery power alone. The gasoline engine can be used as a generator (like the Chevy Volt) or drive the wheels directly. The Concept PX-MiEV II uses a 2.0-liter MIVEC four-cylinder engine making 94 horsepower combined with two 80-horsepower electric motors that drive Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) four-wheel-drive system – the same system used in the Lancer Evolution X. Mitsubishi claims the instant torque from the electric motors help it accelerate like a 3.0-liter V6 engine.
Among the cars on Mitsubishi’s stand will be one each of the Concept PX-MiEV II. RVR, Galant Fortis, Pajero, Outlander, Delica D-2, and Delica D-3; two each of the Mirage, MINICAB i-MiEVs, and Delica D-5; and four i-MiEV electric vehicles.