What’s this? A new Mitsubishi Montero? Well not quite, it is the Mitsubishi GC-PHEV, a concept car fresh from the floor of the Chicago Auto Show. Yet, if Mitsubishi is to be believed, and we hope it is, this plug-in hybrid lunar rover represents the future of the company’s SUVs.
The center of the story is the GC-PHEV’s plug-in hybrid powertrain. Honestly, Mitsubishi kind of gives that away in the name, which stands for ‘Grand Cruiser Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.’ Expanding on the XR-PHEV concept that has been making the rounds of auto shows, the GC-PHEV will be powered by a combination of supercharged 3.0-liter V6, producing 335 horsepower, and 70 kW electric motor producing an additional 94 hp.
Mitsubishi claims that this powertrain will be able to operate in EV-only mode for as much as 25 miles, and achieve better than 35 mpg — not bad for a car with more than 400 hp.
This power is distributed to all four wheels via an advanced full-time AWD system. This system is an evolution of Mitsubishi’s existing Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) technology. On the GC-PHEV, it will feature front and center differentials to split power both front and back, and side to side (at least on the front axles). The GC-PHEV will also feature electronic active yaw control. Mitsubishi was not specific as to just how this works, but it would appear that the electric motor is capable of producing differential torque to each of the front wheels — a neat trick for producing better handling.
As exciting as all of the under the hood technology is, the most striking thing about the car is the styling. Concept cars are supposed to stand out, and by that measure the GC-PHEV certainly succeeds. The Mitsubishi, with its tall profile, angular lines, and futuristic wheels looks like a 1950s conception of something we should be driving on Mars right now. An impression underscored by the fact that its unveiling in Chicago was accompanied by people dancing in Daft Punk costumes.
At least the odd exterior lines aren’t the only futuristic thing about it. The interior features what Mitsubishi calls a “Tactical Table,” this large flat touchscreen runs from the center console all the way back to the second row of seats. The idea being to run apps and programs for the whole family. Apps like Risk, or a map featuring an invasion plan of neighboring garages if the “Tactical Table” moniker is to be believed.
In all seriousness, while there are some polarizing styling choices and silly language associated with the GC-PHEV it does contain some good news for consumers. Mitsubishi has been struggling to stay relevant with an older stable of vehicles, and a concept like GC-PHEV suggests that the company is committed to modernizing and getting ahead of the curve. So while the GC-PHEV is speculative for now, a lot of this good be showing up in the next generation of Montero.