The Lancer 2020 handles well and its standard AWD gives off-road ability as well, though only the turbo model offers spirited performance.
As the SUV market is growing larger by the year, more and more automakers are giving up on SUVs to make crossovers. Ford has already announced plans to drop almost every nameplate that’s not a crossover in the U.S. soon, and Mitsubishi seems to follow the same path. Having turned the Eclipse sports car into a crossover, the Japanese firm wants to do the same with the Lancer.
In 2017, Mitsubishi launched the Eclipse Cross, a compact crossover that slots between the Outlander Sport and the Outlander. Previewed by the XR-PHEV concept, this new hauler borrowed its name from an iconic sports car that Mitsubishi built between 1989 and 2011 in Illinois. With the iconic Lancer discontinued in 2017 after no fewer than 44 years on the market, the Japanese carmaker is pondering a revival of the name for a new crossover.
Rumors of this radical change have been flying around for a few years now, and Mitsubishi confirmed earlier in 2018, through COO Trevor Mann, that the next-gen Lancer doesn’t have to be “a very conventional hatchback.” “We’re thinking quite radically,” he added, hinting that the Lancer name may join the Eclipse on the SUV market. It remains unknown when it will happen, but a new rendering Tigran Lalayan, a designed from Pininfarina, gives us a look at what the Lancer Cross might look like.
The rendering seen here is very conceptual and shows what Mitsubishi might design as a preview. The Japanese firm unveiled many concept vehicles in recent years, and most of them were crossovers. It’s natural to believe that the Lancer Cross will also break cover as a show car at first.
Lalayan’s concept is both sturdy and aggressive. The aggressiveness comes with the Lancer badge, as the Evolution is already an iconic sports sedan with deep roots in rally racing. While the rendering shows a design language that’s different from what we’ve seen from Mitsubishi in recent years, it’s still somewhat recognizable.
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The front fascia is particularly interesting, as the headlamps extend the entire width of the car. There are a couple of long LED strips that extend toward the apron, like on the Cadillac CT6 for instance, with two additional lights on each side of the emblem placed in the center of the grille. Two circular LED lights placed in the bumper act as fog lamps. The bumper itself is very aggressive, featuring a large opening and sharp winglets on the sides. Despite being aggressive, the crossover retains a tall ride height.
The front fenders are very wide and feature visible bolts at the top. I’m guessing the design wanted to link the Lancer to its motorsport heritage through these small details. The rear fenders are equally beefed-up, while the side skirts are big and boxy. The crossover was envisioned as a two-door, with long quarter windows and a coupe-style roof. Like many concept cars, it rides on massive wheels. The tires seem to have an off-road-ready tread.
Around back, we can see an interesting multi-tier design. While the trunk lid incorporates a spoiler, the area below extends in front of the fascia. The same thing happens a few inches below, where the bumper starts. The latter features sharp winglets, just like the front sections, while the apron has large exhaust pipes and vents. The taillights are shaped like the letter “P,” but they’re very sharp toward the “Mitsubishi” emblem and on the fenders. Just like the headlamps, they extend a lot into the bumper.
Needless to say, this is one sexy rendering, and I can definitely see this thing in a booth as a real-life concept car. However, while it’s not very likely for Mitsubishi to make one just like this, the production model won’t be nearly as aggressive. But a two-door crossover layout is an interesting option for the Lancer, as it would be different than anything else Mitsubishi offers right now. On the other hand, two-door SUVs aren’t exactly popular, and there aren’t many options out there aside from the boxy Jeep Wrangler and Suzuki Jimny and the really expensive Range Rover Evoque.
It’s anyone’s guess what the Lancer Cross will sport on the inside, but I think that the new Eclipse Cross provides a few hints. The company’s newest crossover boasts a German-like layout with better looking plastics and trim, a sizable infotainment display, and a modern looking instrument cluster.
Don’t look for any features related to the Lancer, as the sedan is more than 10 years old. Sure, the nameplate continues to be offered in China and Taiwan with a new design, but the revised interior still looks somewhat dated for the U.S. market.
This crossover is likely to arrive beyond 2020, so it will probably get some technology that Mitsubishi doesn’t offer yet. The company could even opt to position the Lancer Cross in a more premium segment, and thus add features and options usually not available for vehicles like the Eclipse Cross and the Outlander.
The best value in Lancer 2020 is a base model with manual gearbox, but it’s still decently priced after adding fancy audio, leather, and a moonroof.