Design Analysis – 2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV

2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV 14When Mitsubishi rolled out its latest trio of design concepts in Geneva last March, we were slightly horrified and very shocked. The designs are quite ‘advanced,’ — which is another way of saying they are freakishly ‘out there’ and not exactly attractive on first glance.

But after seeing how this look filtered down to the 2016 Outlander, we are determined to give the new Mitsubishi design style a chance.mitsu outlander gif 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept-S 4

And clearly, Mitsubishi believes it is on to something here. The XR-PHEV here became the firm’s Vision Gran Turismo car as an ‘Evolution’ version of this design, so you cannot say this has no future. More than the opposite, in fact. This look is coming on the next Outlander Sport and also on the next Lancer. If there is another Lancer Evolution, it will wear this face too.Vision GranTurismo Scores a Super Evo! Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV is Super Widetrack Racer 44 Vision GranTurismo Scores a Super Evo! Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV is Super Widetrack Racer 42 Vision GranTurismo Scores a Super Evo! Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV is Super Widetrack Racer 90

So we better learn to like it, or shove off, right?

Let’s look at it angle by angle to dissect what is good and what was so alarming on first sight.

Design Analysis – 2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV



Clearly, this nose is the most shocking part of all. We’ve warmed up to the look and it is a ‘grower’ over time. The part that is hardest to digest is the full-frame grille taking over the entire bumper and lower flanks. It looks to be all gloss-black, but the top section is actually tinted glass with grille slats undernieth. The glass portion is where the XR-PHEV has its plug intake, so it flips open.

The giant black section below is overwhelming and can seem clownish with its thick chrome frame. Toning this down for the 2016 Outlander shows the potential of this look in production, and it is actually clean and modern. As it stands here, the black element is helpful at widening the look of the car down below.

Ultra-thin LED lamps up top are a smart and sharp look, extending upward and back over the hood nicely thanks to their small lighting elements not taking much room. The light shape helps reinforce how wide the fenders are, and give the XR-PHEV a far meaner stance than the compact crossovers it will battle as the 2017 Outlander Sport.


In profile, the XR-PHEV is actually damn sexy right as it stands.

The take glasshouse and rising beltline hide the rear doors very effectively, while the deep and sharp point of the front window below the hoodline gives the XR-PHEV a great stance and sportiness. The blacked-out tints of the glass almost perfectly match with the gloss-black A- and B-pillars — hiding any sense of boring production-car traits.

A simple chrome strake atop the glass window-frames lightens the look up top, and helps balance the huge fender flares and somewhat tacky multi-spoke wheels.


In back, we have another very alarming style – at first. The black glass section of the tailgate seems to extend down nearly to the bumper, but only the portion above the horizontal LED brake light bar is the backlight. Below that, a small glass section provides extra visibility out back. All this appears simply jet black from behind, where it also seems relatively flat.

This is a visual trick: the tailgate and giant LED section actually bulged out dramatically, extending the beltline bulges from the profile rearward.

The sharp points of the brake lights in profile define the D-pillar and form a chopped roofline design very slinkily. We are fans of the look in all-black, and see how this might work in a production car as the tailgate cutting a shutline. It definitely feels sporty, and again draws the eye to the ultra-sporty fenders and giant performance rubber below. Subtle exhaust pipes are part of the XR-PHEV’s plug-in hybrid functionality, and the lower bumper is finished in a relatively premium silver gloss.


2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV 17 2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV 19 Concept XR-PHEV 2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV 15



Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV Makes North American Debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

Thu, Nov 20, 2014 – Cypress, Calif. –

  • Mitsubishi Motors showcases the Concept XR-PHEV featuring bold styling, high performance and an efficient plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) drivetrain at LAAS 2014

  • This futuristic crossover design study hints at the upcoming direction of U.S. Mitsubishi cars

  • Join us in the conversation on your preferred social media channels using #FindYourOwnLane and #Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) today unveiled the futuristic Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV during the Mitsubishi press conference at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Featuring bold styling and a performance-oriented yet highly efficient plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) drivetrain, the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV crossover hints at the future design direction for Mitsubishi Motors production vehicles in North America and further reaffirms the automaker’s commitment to the U.S. market.

“We brought the Concept XR-PHEV to LA so that we could talk about our new design direction and how future products will be taking clues from its dynamic lines,” said MMNA Executive Vice President, Don Swearingen. “We also brought it to LA to reinforce the message that Mitsubishi is here to stay in the United States.  As we regrow the brand we will introduce new models while updating existing ones, creating a new look and a new value proposition for the brand.”

Sales of Mitsubishi models in the U.S. have sustained a year-long upward trajectory. Outlander Sport has led the way with year-to-date sales up over 25% from the previous year and thanks to the addition of the Mirage to the lineup in 2014, overall sales in the U.S. are up 28.9% year-over-year.

For more details on the Concept XR-PHEV visit and be sure to visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all research & development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and financial services for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells sedans and crossovers/SUVs through a network of approximately 400 dealers. MMNA is leading the way in the development of highly-efficient, affordably-priced new gasoline-powered automobiles while using its industry-leading knowledge in battery electric vehicles to develop future EV and PHEV models. For more information, contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (888) 560-6672 or visit

About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)