Mitsubishi resurrects an old name for its new crossover

As it pares down the number of sedans in its U.S. lineup, Mitsubishi is becoming increasingly reliant on crossovers for sales. Considering the current popularity of these vehicles, that may not be a bad bet, assuming Mitsubishi can keep its models competitive with those of its rivals.

The current Mitsubishi Outlander and Outlander Sport aren’t exactly world beaters, but the Japanese automaker has another crossover on the way. A new compact crossover will debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March, Mitsubishi says. We don’t know much about it, but we do know it will have a name that may cause some controversy.

That’s because the new model will be called Eclipse Cross, referencing the Mitsubishi Eclipse, one of the Japanese automaker’s cult-classic models. Perhaps best known for its appearances in the Fast and Furious movies, at its peak the Eclipse was a genuine sports car, although it eventually devolved into a car that just looked like one. Still, applying a name previously used on a sporty coupe and convertible to an SUV is a bit of a stretch.

Mitsubishi promises that the Eclipse Cross will be stylish. It says the new model will have a “sharp and active-looking coupe SUV shape,” with “heavily flared front and rear fenders.” That last detail sounds like something straight off the sadly departed Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and the rally cars that inspired it. Mitsubishi’s teaser photo looks encouraging, too, showing hints of a sleek roofline and highly-stylized taillights.

Mitsubishi did not say where the Eclipse Cross will sit in its model lineup, only describing it as “compact.” That word also nicely describes the current Outlander Sport, although the new model will be sold alongside the Outlander Sport, rather than acting as a replacement. That would seem to position the Eclipse Cross to compete against the likes of the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and a host of other smaller crossovers being introduced by other automakers.

We’ll find out more details at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Press days for the show are March 7 and 8, so check back then for full coverage.

Updated 2/14/17 by Stephen Edelstein: Added details on Eclipse Cross name, the new model’s place in the Mitsubishi lineup, and new teaser images.

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