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Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution could morph into an Outlander Sport-based crossover

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Mitsubishi is preparing to send off the Lancer Evolution with a limited-edition model appropriately called Final Edition, and it has confirmed that the iconic sports sedan will not be replaced in the immediate future. However, the iconic nameplate is not dead yet and company boss Tetsuro Aikawa has hinted that the next model to wear it will most likely be a high-performance off-roader. The Evo on stilts will be based on the second-generation Outlander Sport that was accurately previewed last month in Geneva by the XR-PHEV II concept (pictured).

Concrete technical details are still few and far between but Aikawa told British magazine Autocar that the SUV will be powered by a potent gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that will send a prodigious amount of power to all four wheels.

In spite of its utilitarian roots, the Outlander Sport-based Evo will be light, nimble, and fast, qualities inherited from its spiritual predecessor.  The SUV will be packed with technology gleaned from Mitsubishi’s Pikes Peak racing program.

Related: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander takes bow in New York

Because the Evo will be to the Outlander Sport what the Evolution currently is to the Lancer, it will adopt a muscular, rally-inspired look characterized by a full-body kit that will include a deep front bumper, side skirts, an air diffuser, and a large spoiler out back. Evo-specific bits and pieces all around will add a finishing touch to the overall look.

For the time being all of this is purely hypothetical, as executives openly admit that the Evo will only see the light of day if Mitsubishi sells enough examples of the standard Outlander Sport to cover the cost of research and development. The second-gen Sport will likely be unveiled later this year and it is scheduled to reach showrooms by late next year, but the Evo is not expected to arrive until 2018 at the very earliest.