It’s back, but is it what you expected? Mitsubishi has revealed the Vision Ralliart Concept before it’s unveiled in the metal at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon.
Although the automaker doesn’t mention it at all, the Vision Ralliart concept clearly appears to be based on the fourth-generation Outlander PHEV mid-sized SUV. It suggests that Mitsubishi is keen to bring back some performance cred to its brand.
“This is a concept car that expresses the possibilities of the new Ralliart, with elevated acceleration, cornering and braking in all road and weather conditions,” the company said in a press release.
More than just a sticker pack like the Thai-market Triton and Pajero Sport iterations, this concept is said to incorporate Ralliart DNA and offer a “higher motor output”, though it’s unclear how much more power and torque we might expect from a road version.
The regular 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder ‘MIVEC’ engine which produces 98kW of power and 195Nm of torque, which is mated with two electric motors: one with 85kW and 255Nm, the other with 100kW and 195Nm.
There’s no combined system output figure available.
Mitsubishi also says the Vision Ralliart Concept comes with “enhanced battery capacity”, although it doesn’t disclose how much larger the battery actually is, or could be.
The 2022 Outlander PHEV swapped out the old 13.8kWh battery from the previous-generation for a larger 20kWh unit. The bigger the battery capacity, the greater the EV range.
Mitsubishi also says the Vision Ralliart Concept comes with “sportier” four-wheel control tuning, and “large brake discs” with six-pot calipers. Over these brakes are a set of 22-inch dark alloy wheels with a slotted, aero-esque design.
The Vision Ralliart Concept has a wavy-looking bodykit with a wider stance thanks to the flared wheel arches.
It has a front grille with active, hexagonal shutters and a large rear diffuser said to “emphasise the sportiness of the model”.
The concept’s exterior is finished in matte black with blue highlights, which Mitsubishi says creates “a deep, multidimensional expression that enhances the vehicle’s high-quality feel”.
At this stage there are no details or images of the Vision Ralliart Concept’s interior.
Mitsubishi says it’ll use customer feedback on the concept car to inform the future development of its vehicles.
It’s uncertain if Mitsubishi will actually make a Ralliart version of the road-going Outlander PHEV, but it clearly hasn’t created a concept for no reason.
In September 2021, Mitsubishi Australia’s head of product strategy Owen Thomson told us he was keen on a local return of Ralliart, with some strings attached.
“We’d love to see Ralliart come back but if it comes back we want it in a particular way,” said Mr Thomson.
“It has heritage and there’s memory in the market.”
Ralliart’s history as a high-performance and motorsport development arm for Mitsubishi includes crowning achievements like various iterations of Lancer Evos made famous with Tommi Mäkinen.
At least for now there’ll (almost certainly) be no more Lancer Evolution.
Mitsubishi has a mixed bag when it comes to delivering on concepts: The 2019 Engelberg Tourer manifested as the new Outlander and the 2015 Concept XR-PHEV II gave at least a hint towards the Eclipse Cross.
On the other hand the 2017 e-Evolution Concept, which seems spiritually similar to the Vision Ralliart Concept due to its ‘sportiness’, never went anywhere as Mitsubishi was soon hit by financial woes that saw Nissan become its majority stakeholder.