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First pics of Mitsubishi's new Qashqai rival

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Tokyo, Japan - Mitsubishi has confirmed that its new compact SUV will debut at the Geneva motor show on 7 March, and released these images to whet our appetites.

The teaser images show a chunky high-rider - rather like a sexier Outlander - with a fashionable sloping roofline and a big grille between sleek headlights; it retains the high mounted one-piece light-bar tail lights seen on the XR-PHEV II concept at the 2015 Geneva show.

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The show car is finished in a special deep gloss red metallic paint, developed specifically for this model. Size-wise, it will slot in between the current ASX and Outlander models - but with sportier lines than either, as a direct challenger to the market-leading Nissan Qashqai.

Expect to see it offered in Europe with a choice of either a newly-developed 1.5-litre turbopetrol four or a four-cylinder turbodiesel. Insiders are saying it will be the ASX’s 1.6-litre unit; that may work for Europe, but our money is on a torquier 2.2-litre version for the rest of the world.

All-wheel drive and an optional automatic transmission are already on the menu for the European launch in the second half of 2017; a plug-in hybrid is also likely, a little further down the line.

The new SUV has been named Eclipse Cross

Eclipse was the the name of a sporty two-door Mitsubishi coupé that was sold in North America, in four generations, from 1989 to 2012; the company is apparently trying to cash in on the brand value of the nameplate, while tacking on Cross to remind us it’s a crossover.

IOL Motoring

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