There are no two ways around it: it’s been a tough couple of years for Mitsubishi. Many expected that the Japanese automaker would follow Suzuki’s lead and leave the United States altogether, but the company has worked overtime to considerably boost its sales over the past few months.
Several new products are on the way to keep the momentum going. The first is a brand new Outlander Sport — which will reportedly spawn an Evo on stilts — and the second is a long-overdue replacement for the full-size Montero. The off-roader was axed from the Mitsubishi’s North American lineup in 2006 but it is still on sale in a number of global markets including Europe and Australia.
Unsurprisingly, insiders say the next Montero will essentially be a toned-down version of the rugged-looking GC-PHEV concept (pictured) that was shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The new model will be about as big as its predecessor but it will be several hundred pounds lighter thanks to a much more modern chassis and the widespread use of lightweight materials.
The Montero will retain the current model’s off-road prowess in a bid to appeal to the few buyers who truly need an SUV for towing or to go far off the beaten path. Lance Bradley, the head of Mitsubishi’s British arm, explains that the next Montero will essentially be positioned as a more affordable alternative to the Land Rover LR4.
In the United States, the Montero will be available with either a naturally-aspirated six-cylinder engine or a plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of a turbocharged gasoline-burning four-banger and a potent electric motor. The hybrid Montero will likely be able to drive on electricity alone for about 20 miles.
The next Mitsubishi Montero is expected to arrive before the end of 2017, meaning it will land in showrooms in time for the 2018 model year.