Mitsubishi claims, with some justification, to have invented the term “crossover” and now, 11 years after the introduction of the vehicle for which the word was coined, the third generation Outlander is ready to launch at the Geneva auto show in March.

And let us compliment Mitsubishi right up front for giving us a teaser image that actually shows us the car, the whole car and nothing but the car.

The new Outlander, says Mitsubishi, is about the same size as the model it replaces, and follows a key design brief to keep it “solid, safe and simple” with substantial body elements and clean surfaces.

The same uncluttered look continues inside the car, it says, with padded surfaces, soft-touch finish, silver accents and gloss black appliqués on a clean, driver-focused dashboard - but we’ll have to take that under advisement, since we don’t have a picture of the interior.

ECO-FRIENDLY DRIVING SYSTEM

The new Outlander will be available at launch in Europe with either two or all-wheel drive with either two-litre petrol or 2.2-litre turbodiesel power. Depending on the market, auto stop/start will be available, as well as a new six-speed auto transmission

Key features of the new Outlander include advanced safety systems (forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and active cruise control), new dual-zone climate control, a power tail-gate, full third-row seating, flat-floor cargo area, tilt and telescopic steering column and 'wide vision' xenon headlights.

It will also have a fashionable “eco-friendly driving system” to tell the driver when he or she is driving at maximum efficiency.

SA DEBUT SET FOR SECOND HALF OF 2013

After its Geneva debut the third-generation Outlander will be released first in Russia in mid-2012, in western Europe in the third quarter of the year, followed by Japan, Oceania, China and North America, with the South African release due in the second half of 2013.

From 2013 in Europe, there will also be a battery-based plug-in hybrid version, based on the company's Miev technology. Mitsubishi is targeting a range and CO2 emissions rating similar to that of the Concept PX-MiEV II (more than 800km and less than 50g/km).