Mitsubishi to keep Evolution alive… for now

March 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was just a couple of weeks back that we brought readers the sad news that Mitsubishi planned to kill of its iconic hero model – the Lancer Evolution. Currently, in its tenth generation, Mitsubishi claimed dropping sales and plans for a new greener direction. This left Evo fans globally sulking around the house and making attempts at drowning their sorrows.

But now, after a strong backlash, Mitsubishi is backing down quickly from its earlier claims that the Lancer Evolution would be no more after its 10th generation. The Japanese automaker now promises that the Evo X will live out its life cycle as planned, and will continue to evolve in the future, but that may mean going a slightly different direction.

A different direction, WTF you might say. Well you got to feel a bit sorry for Mitsi here, it’s desperately trying to balance the necessity to move toward more eco-friendly vehicles while not alienating the huge fan base that the Evo has cultivated since the first-generation car was introduced in 1992. Continue reading “Mitsubishi to keep Evolution alive… for now” »

Is Mitsubishi preparing to kill off the Lancer Evolution?

March 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For fans of the Mitsubishi Evo, and there are many out there, this news may come as a shock. According to Gayu Eusegi, head of global product development for Mitsubishi, the Lancer Evolution X will be the last Evo the Japanese automaker ever builds.

Why exactly? Well, it’s all about pushing towards electric vehicles and with petrol currently at well over two kiwi dollars a litre it’s starting to make sense.

Evo grim reeper, Eusegi went on to say that the move is part of a shift in strategy to put the company’s product focus and ethos on leadership in EV technology. There have been rumours that the next Evo would be a hybrid but few people thought Mitsubishi could actually kill off a halo model like the Evo.

Eusegi refused any idea that a hybrid Evo is in the works saying, “Maybe the world can change, and maybe someday we can do a motor race by electric vehicles. Maybe then we can enter the market agian.”

Mitsubishi are choosing to look on the bright side and claim that consumers will respect the idea and get behind the brand. By sacrificing the Evo, Mitsubishi is making its intentions plain to an increasingly environmentally-conscious car-buying public.

So what’s next for Mitsubishi? The Japanese car maker plans to release eight fully-electric or hybrid-electric cars by 2015, and try to win a large portion of the CO2-reduction market share. By 2015, it seems that fuel-guzzling performance cars like the Mitsubishi Evo will be dinosaurs on the verge of extinction, especially being based on a rally car that no longer exists. Continue reading “Is Mitsubishi preparing to kill off the Lancer Evolution?” »

Mitsubishi teases Concept Global Small ahead of debut

January 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show isn’t on until March but carmakers are already warming us up with previews of their latest concepts. Mitsubishi has now come to the party and released the first image of the Concept Global Small, ahead of its official debut.

While the name seems a touch unoriginal, the CGS is based on the notions of compact size, affordability and high fuel-efficiency. It features a modern, attractive design with distinctive headlights, a sloping roofline, and flush-mounted door handles.  In the cabin, clever use of space should ensure the cabin can comfortably seat five occupants.

At this stage the CGS is technically a concept vehicle but will possibly be the new Colt/Mirage, which is scheduled for production in March 2012. It will be built in Thailand and will be challenging for class-leading fuel efficiency as well as CO2 emissions.

Detailed specifications haven’t been announced, but the concept vehicle will use a 1.0 or 1.2-litre gasoline engine with a regenerative braking system, a stop-start mechanism to decrease fuel consumption and a thrifty CVT gearbox. The concept has also been trimmed of as much weight as possible and is given a highly aerodynamic body shape. Continue reading “Mitsubishi teases Concept Global Small ahead of debut” »

Mitsubishi ASX Sport 2010 Review

December 10th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mitsubishi’s new ASX is huge, not in size but in importance for the Japanese brand. The recession has been tough on Mitsubishi but now its time to fight back and the ASX is being wheeled out as the weapon to turn the tables. The ASX name stands for Active Smart Crossover and the vehicle slots into the fast growing family compact crossover segment currently occupied by the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti and Hyundai ix35. Although it’s a niche market segment, it is one with broad appeal to buyers who want SUV styling and practicality but don’t need a rugged off-road battler or seven-seater capability. So the ASX is targeted at the right spot but does it have enough firepower to hit its mark? Car and SUV got locked and loaded into a new Mitsubishi ASX Sport to get the answers.

Mechanically, the ASX has borrowed heavily from the Outlander and Lancer models but the styling is all its own¦ well almost. Up front, the ASX receives the jet fighter front grille keeping it aligned with most of Mitsubishi’s current product. From the A-pillars back the ASX has a razor-cut modern character and while it uses the same platform as the Outlander it’s new-model charm will turn heads in this new segment. Puffed-out fenders and an upswept shoulder line give the ASX an athletic profile and fine detailing like chrome ringed fog lamps and 16-inch alloys add a feeling of quality. The ASX also comes with an in-built party trick in the form of durable front guards that pop back out without damage if knocked or pushed in. It’s exactly this sort of progressive detailing that makes the ASX stand out.

Continue reading “Mitsubishi ASX Sport 2010 Review” »

American tuners AMS work over the Mitsubishi Evo X (+video)

December 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When it comes to Mitsubishi Evos, no one tunes them harder than AMS and it’s latest creation the Evo 900X is one of its most hardcore machines. Unsurprisingly, the 900X comes with a long list of performance and handling modifications and performance is rapid with the 0-100 km/h sprint covered in just 3.3 seconds. The go-hard Evo is powered by a AMS Stage 3 2.2-litre short block engine with new head studs, Spec JE pistons, Kelford cams and upgraded valve springs and Manley I-Beam Rods. It also comes packing a GT900x V-band turbo kit with Tial 44mm WG, a Racing Series exhaust system and a TIAL Alpha QR blow off valve.

A new intercooling system has been fitted as has a 800hp fuel system. Visible in the images, and the video below, the AMS Evo 900X has a new aerodynamics package which is mostly made from carbon fibre pieces and the brakes and suspension have also been upgraded.

Check out the AMS Mitsubishi Evo 900X do some power runs and tear up the tarmac in the video below. Continue reading “American tuners AMS work over the Mitsubishi Evo X (+video)” »

Mitsubishi Challenger tow capacity raised for NZ market

November 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Recent engine and chassis upgrades to Mitsubishi’s Challenger range have raised its towing capability to 3.0 tonnes. The significant improvements bring Challenger’s performance into line with the rest of Mitsubishi’s 4WD diesel range, which now boasts the largest number of models capable of towing 3.0 tonne and over in New Zealand.

Challenger has accounted for over 240 sales since its launch in January and head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook says the improvements are a direct response to consumer feedback.

“Challenger has had a strong following since it was first sold in New Zealand in 1999,” said Mr Cook. “Upgrades have further refined the 2.5 L common rail turbo diesel engine and structural work on the ladder-frame chassis has increased the tow capability to 3.0 tonnes.”

“We now have three diesel models – Triton, Challenger and Pajero – comprising 11 variants capable of towing 3.0 tonnes or in the case of the range topping Pajero 3.3 tonnes,” says Mr Cook. “The refinements of modern diesel engines and Mitsubishi’s long history in off-road vehicle development provide drivers with comfort, performance and the torque to hook almost any commercial or recreational toy to the tow ball.

“All covered by Mitsubishi’s industry-leading 10/5 Diamond Advantage warranty, our range of tow vehicles is hard to go past.”

Further upgrades to the 2011 Challenger Exceed include paddle shifters and sports mode transmission, rain sensing windscreen wipers, power passenger seat and dusk-sensing and auto levelling headlights. The range also gains the Iron Bark colour, popular in Pajero.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the 2010 Mitsubishi Challenger.

Hulme CanAm to headline Australian International Motor Show

October 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) is opening at 5pm this Friday in Darling Harbour, Sydney and will showcase he launches of some significant new vehicles for Australasian markets.

AIMS will host two major global premieres of locally-developed vehicles from Ford and Mazda which headline a number of other expected world-first reveals. The Motor Show also has more than 40 vehicles making their debut in either Australia or the Southern Hemisphere.

Yesterday, Sydney locals got a taste of the broad range of vehicles on offer at AIMS with a display of three unique vehicles in Darling Harbour.

Mitsubishi’s electric i-Miev — the first all-electric vehicle offered by a major Australian brand — appeared alongside NZ’s first supercar, the hand-built Hulme as well as a Renault race car air-freighted straight from France.

The three cars were shown to represent the broad cross-section of what is on offer at the Motor Show, which opens to the public this Friday.

i-Miev leads the Motor Show’s extensive green vehicle line-up, highlighting the industry’s push for more environmentally-sustainable motoring.

Hulme’s CanAm offers purists the chance to get up close to a pure-bred supercar which accelerates from 0-100km/h in less-than 3.5 seconds thanks to its 7.0-litre Chevrolet V8 engine.

The Renault Megane Trophy heads a variety of race cars at AIMS. The mid-engined machine’s sleek lines were developed using aerodynamic lessons learnt in Formula 1.

AIMS director Russ Tyrie believes the wide variety of vehicles on show, coupled with a large number of new models, means there should be something to suit all automotive tastes.

Continue reading “Hulme CanAm to headline Australian International Motor Show” »

Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2010 Review

September 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Sharp styling is always nice, and strong performance can be exciting, but nothing speaks to new car buyers as loudly as price. The Korean carmakers have known this for decades and now Mitsubishi has cottoned on and released a new entry-level model in its very successful Outlander range. Like buying ‘home brand’ at the supermarket the Outlander LS forgoes some of the fancy packaging to chase down a more attractive price – $37,990. That’s a tempting sum to swap for NZ’s best selling medium SUV especially coming with Mitsubishi’s 5-year/10-year warranty.  But in achieving this price what concessions have been made on this brazen base-model? Car and SUV opened the packet on the Outlander LS to take a closer look at the contents within.

Visually the LS, like all Outlanders has a more traditional boxy SUV shape when compared to the highly curved new-school SUVs like the Hyundai ix35 and the Mazda CX-7. Classic good looks aside, it’s only under close inspection that the LS differs from its more expensive siblings. Mitsubishi’s ‘jet fighter’ grille, first used on the Lancer then on the facelifted Outlander range, hasn’t filtered down to the LS model. While this leaves it a facelift behind other Outlanders the overall styling on the LS is modern and gives it genuine presence. Tough black plastic mouldings protect the underside and it rolls on 16″ steel wheels with silver covers. Overall, it’s a smart looking machine with its high beltline, tinted rear glass and subtle chrome touches.  With the exception of the steel wheels there is nothing about the Outlander LS that really screams ‘base model’.

Continue reading “Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2010 Review” »