By Larry Edsall
If you love your F-150, Silverado or Ram, you're probably going to hate Mitsubishi's GR-HEV concept, which debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show. But if you are among those people who think there's a need for a less-than-full-size pickup and you're looking for a more carlike ride, then the GR-HEV might interest you.
Oh, and by "those people" we mean folks outside the U.S. and Canada, because in most of the world a full-size pickup is pretty much viewed as overkill: too big, too heavy and too thirsty to be practical. There's a reason why a compact pickup such as the Mitsubishi L200/Triton is the best-selling pickup in a place like England, where the roads are narrow and the fuel is expensive. But there's still a need for tradespeople to carry their gear, for delivery folks to tote supplies or drivers to tow their compact campers.
We've mentioned Mitsubishi's new concept (link) before, and the automaker says that the GR is short for Grand Runner, which "represents powerful driving through grand and magnificent lands with advanced technology." The HEV part of the name is short for Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
Seen as a potential replacement for the L200, Mitsubishi says the GR-HEV can duplicate many of the L200's various workhorse capabilities. It rides on a 118-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 213 inches, is 76 inches wide, 70 inches tall and can seat five inside.
Mitsubishi calls the GR-HEV a sport-utility truck and its styling, which it calls "aerodynamic chunkiness," appears to be based on a futuristic SUV. With that big bed area sticking up in the air, we think it looks more like a tan stink bug.
Providing power is a 2.5-liter "clean diesel" four-cylinder engine with an electric motor assist to boost power off the line.
Mitsubishi says the trucklette features Super All-Wheel Control with a Super Select 4 drive mode system that allows the driver to select between 2-High, 4-High, 4-High-Lock and 4-Low-Lock, capable of driving across all terrains.
The concept offers active cruise control, lane departure warning and other advanced safety technologies. It also has a small exterior door panel just ahead of the left-rear fender to provide access to an AC power supply system which, Mitsubishi says, eliminates the need to carry electrical generators to the work or campsite. This we like.
"Its development is founded upon the combination of sedan- or SUVlike comfort levels, and the pickup truck functionalities of the highly-acclaimed Triton," according to the Mitsubishi press release.
"The exterior design sets it well apart from conventional pickup trucks, combining flowing lines with richly contoured surfaces to achieve a combination of suppleness and power. It also provides excellent aerodynamic capabilities without compromising the functional elements of a pickup truck, making it extremely capable of supporting the most active lifestyles, in both leisure and work. The premium quality of the vehicle is brought out through the diamond motif applied to the DRL [daytime running lights], LED headlamp system, and LED rear combination lamp system. Stylish aluminum air dams mesh seamlessly with the vehicle's flowing shape, giving appeal to its functional pedigree and safety performance," the press release continues.
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