It was around 2001, Mitsubishi, being a way cooler automaker back then it is now, decided to make a car that could practically be called an Evo. Hence they introduced the Airtrek Turbo. A four-door wagon with a large boot space and more ground clearance than you can ever have on an Evo without sacrificing its aesthetics. The Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo shared its engine and a permanent 4WD drivetrain with the Lancer Evolution VII. Although fitted with the same 4g63T four-cylinder turbocharged heart, the power was toned down to 240 BHP from the Evo’s 280 BHP stock and the manual transmission was replaced with a five-speed tiptronic.
Fast forward around twenty years, as the world’s population increases exponentially, its natural resources take a hit at a greater rate. Adding the massive spike in the number of environmentalists we have these days, producing a gas-guzzling Evo just might run you out of business. Hence, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that GAC Mitsubishi Motors Co., Ltd. (GMMC), MMC’s vehicle production and sales joint venture in China, unveiled the all-new electric SUV Airtrek at Auto Guangzhou
The all-new Airtrek was developed based on the concept of an “e-cruising SUV,” with “e” representing the three keywords of “electric”, “expanding”, and “expressive”.
Bringing back to life an old nameplate used on the first-generation Outlander, the battery-powered SUV was developed by GAC Mitsubishi Motors Co, the Japanese automaker’s vehicle production and sales joint venture in China. Speaking of GAC, the Mitsubishi Airtrek seems to be based on the Chinese company’s Aion V electric SUV. Even though Mitsubishi or GAC made no official statements about this, there are several clues that lead to the conclusion that the Airtrek is indeed a restyled, rebadged Aion V.
The largely closed-off grille is typical of an EV, while the lower intake has a cutout for the car’s sensors. Along the sides, flush door handles are similar to those of the V Plus. The tail lights themselves are unique to the Airtrek, with the two-piece, T-shaped clusters extending into the tailgate. Meanwhile, the rear bumper mimics what you see at the front, with horizontal slats running across the lower apron, with a break for the number plate recess.
The interior is open and spacious, featuring a horizontally-themed instrument panel that offers a broad field of vision and makes it easy to get a hold on the position of the car. To create a high-class feel, soft padding is introduced for the parts that passengers touch, and stitches are used in every detail. With its long wheelbase and broad overall width, the new model also offers spacious interior room for the whole family to ride in comfort.
The airtrek has a 70-kilowatt battery that gives a maximum range of approximately 520 kilometers. Mitsubishi stated that the installation of a drive battery in the center of the floor has improved the weight distribution significantly by creating a low center of gravity. This allows the SUV to maintain its handling despite the added weight of the batteries. The motor inverter has been integrated into a single unit combined into the driving system, reducing the weight further. This allows the EV to deliver high output and torque giving it the Evo-esque feel.
In a press release Takao Kato, president and chief executive officer, MMC. said, “We named the new electric SUV Airtrek so that many customers can enjoy adventurous, active driving with this pure EV, which achieves a maximum driving range of approximately 520 km while emitting zero CO2 in motion. We hope the all-new Airtrek will help expand the horizons of customers around the world, where environmental initiatives are accelerating with new energy vehicles, especially EVs.”