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2007 Mitsubishi Concept-cX

Mitsubishi is getting in on the Frankfurt Auto Show action early this year by sending us sketches of a new a vehicle they're planning to show there. Called the Concept-cX, Mitsubishi calls it a "new-generation compact SUV," but its main focus is to showcase a new clean diesel engine and highlight its environmentally friendly features.

The engine is a 1.8-liter turbo-diesel that has an oxidation catalyst as well as a particulate filter to help it meet tough Euro 5 emissions standards. Although no output figures have been released, we know that this diesel will be attached to Mitsubishi's Twin Clutch SST - the same transmission available on the new Evolution - with similar technology to Volkswagen's DSG setup.

Inside, instead of the usual petroleum-based plastics and trim materials, the Concept-cX uses Mitsubishi's "Green Plastic". This new stuff is made from bamboo and other plant-sourced materials and resins. We haven't seen a shot of the interior to see if the color is actually green, but if it is, sitting behind the wheel may feel like you're about to pilot a giant salad bowl.

Looking at these sketches of the exterior, however, we can't help but feel a tingly sense of dj vu. The front of the hatchback obviously bears a strong resemblance to the Lancer Evolution with its bold grille and scowling headlamps. From the A-pillars back though, it's all Volvo C30 - right down to the broad shoulders and squeeze-waisted hatch-glass. Not that these similarities are a bad thing: those are both good-looking cars.

Taken as a whole, however, the appearance and mission of the Concept-cX may draw even more comparison to another vehicle appearing for the first time at Frankfurt: the Ford Kuga concept. Nevertheless, we'll have to wait until September when we see both concepts in the flesh.