Shanghai Motor Show preview: Mitsubishi G4 concept is no Gulfstream

Mitsubishi G4 concept front three quarterMitsubishi continues to take baby steps toward relevance with its latest concept car. The G4, which will debut at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show later this week, is an economical compact sedan. In other words, don’t expect it to set the world on fire.

The G4 is close to being production ready, with only blue lights and a blue grille added for the show stand. The opaque grille suggests electrification, but the G4 will likely debut with conventional powertrains only. The rest of the car looks like a Nissan Versa sedan.

The sedan concept is closely related to the 2014 Mirage hatchback Mitsubishi showed at the New York Auto Show last month. It will share the Mirage’s 1.2-liter three cylinder engine, which produces 74 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque.

Mitsubishi says the Mirage will return 37 mpg city, 44 mpg highway, and 40 mpg combined. We expect similar numbers for the production G4.

After Shanghai, the G4 will get a name change (to Mirage sedan?) before going on sale in Europe and Asia. Mitsubishi hasn’t said whether the sedan will make it to the U.S., but it would be a good idea considering that the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Hyundai Accent, and Kia Rio are all available as both hatchbacks and sedans.

It seems that, at least until the Outlander PHEV’s battery issues are resolved, Mitsubishi will rely on small displacement engines and lightweight chassis for fuel efficiency.

Mitsubishi G4 concept rear three quarterWhile the G4 and Mirage are impressively efficient, there are only so many buyers who will want to putter around in small cars with less than 100 hp. Unless Mitsubishi wants to become a microcar specialist, it will need to scale up.

Mitsubishi used to be a full-line carmaker, but it has thinned its lineup in recent years to focus on affordable small cars and crossovers.

On the other hand, the rally-bred Lancer Evolution and the electric i-MiEV prove that Mitsubishi can load its cars with tech when it wants to, so maybe we’ll see a G4 plug-in hybrid down the road.

Do you think the G4 is a competent small car, or does Mitsubishi need to up its game? Tell us in the comments.

Product Review

While other crossovers dabble in dirt, Toyota's truck-like RAV4 doubles down

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 gets a clean-sheet redesign, ditching the previous generation’s car-like styling for truck-like toughness. Toyota’s compact crossover also gets more tech and new powertrains.

2019 Crosstrek Hybrid has something no Subaru has ever had

The 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is the Japanese automaker's first production plug-in hybrid vehicle. It will go on sale before the end of the year. Subaru relied on plug-in hybrid tech from Toyota to make the Crosstrek Hybrid a reality.

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?

Mini’s most extreme hot hatchback will hit the streets in 2020

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the basic Mini Cooper.

Jaguar can take the next F-Type in one of two completely different directions

Jaguar needs to decide what the future has in store for the F-Type. Its options include turning the next-generation model into an electric car aimed at the Tesla Roadster or pelting it into the ring with a twin-turbocharged V8 from BMW.
Product Review

A Mercedes so sophisticated, it connects to your watch to plan your massage

The mid-size luxury SUV segment is a must-win competition, and the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is the newest contender. With active suspension, driver assist, and even a connection to your watch, this is more than an SUV, it’s a mobile device.

With lessons learned from racing, Mercedes-AMG takes GT R sports car to next level

Mercedes-AMG keeps finding ways to make its GT sports car even more hardcore. If you thought the GT R variant was as good as it got, get ready for the GT R Pro, which will race into the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Volvo will be at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, but it won’t bring any cars

Volvo has declared that it won't unveil any new models at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, and that its display at the show won't feature a single car. Instead, Volvo plans to focus on mobility services.

How a village in Italy caught 58,000 speeding drivers in just 10 days

A village in Italy knew it had an issue with cars speeding through it, but data from a newly set-up speed camera left residents utterly gobsmacked. In just the first 10 days, the camera recorded more than 58,000 speeding offenses.

Here’s how Uber plans to improve its service for riders in wheelchairs

Uber is working to improve its service for disabled riders. Its latest initiative sees it teaming up with a specialist transportation firm to provide more wheelchair-accessible vehicles with wait times of less than 15 minutes.

Tesla’s next-generation Superchargers will arrive in 2019

Tesla is planning on starting the roll out the next generation of Superchargers starting in 2019. According to Elon Musk, they will be within range of at least 95 percent of people in "active markets."

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

Oops! Teen driver loses license just 49 minutes after passing his test

A German teen lost his driving license just 49 minutes after passing his test. Cops spotted the guy doing more than twice the road's legal speed limit, resulting in a driving ban and a fine.