Mitsubishi Concept Pushes Boundaries

Mitsu GR-HEV 1 II

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 L200 2012 II

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.

For more information, click here

Mitsu GR-HEV 3 II

Mitsu GR-HEV 4 II

Mitsu GR-HEV 2 II



I would LOVE to see a nice selection of freshly designed mid-sized trucks in the US, but this is definitely not it.

Give me one of those T6 "global" Rangers. Since I'm already asking for the forbidden fruit, I might as well request a crew cab with a 6' bed too.

I think this concept has merit and would like something like this as a daily driver / second vehicle. For me, it would have to be RWD bias and I could do without the HEV part. It would also have to be priced well under our current truck offerings.

I'd still keep my truck for when I really needed it.

The design needs more work though. The view from the rear is HORRIBLE. The bed is so high it looks like it would limit visibility. And the shape of the tailgate / proximity of the taillights looks like the lens would get smashed the first time I was loading something heavy into the bed and caught the edge. It needs a real rear bumper and its just plain ugly from the back.

Why the assumption of hate? I do love my Ram but I can also love a smaller truck

@Brian in NC

100% agree. Make mine DoubleCab XL 2.2L 4x4 6MT with a 6' bed option please. 3.2 would be ok too.

And they wonder why they only sell 2 cars a year.

I dig it. For a concept, this really not that far out there. A lot of Japanese trucks run around without a rear bumper at all, or just a little tube underneath. The current L200/Triton is already styled much more car-like than anything else called a pickup. Since the double cabs tend to be basically SUV alternatives, I could see much of this carrying over (toned down a little, of course). The single and plus cabs could still have a totally conventional bed and vertical cab seam.


Mitsubishi is still in business?

"If you love your F-150, Silverado or Ram, you're probably going to hate Mitsubishi's GR-HEV concept" - amen to that!

The idea is great,the styling leaves a lot to be desired.It does look like a tan stink bug...

Thankfully this is just a concept car/truck because as noted it is quite ugly. That said I do hope some of the conceptual ideas make it to a reasonable production version.

Overall I think hybridization is here to stay and more trucks will need to get onboard with it. A truck is a great application for it too since trucks need low end torque (electric motors produce 100% torque at 0 RPM) and having a full on generator integrated into the truck helps tradesmen. Hybrids tend to make more sense for those who won't be driving 30+ miles to work since diesels have to get warmed up to run at their peak efficiency.

I know not everyone is onboard with this yet but it is the way we are moving and for most people it makes a lot of sense. I just hope that a company more reliable than Mitsubishi will be bringing this technology to market.

To even hope to make this work they will have to take all of the best features from the Ridgeline and improve upon them.

Put in the trunk and the dual action tailgate. Make sure that the powertrain can get 30+mpg and tow over 6K lbs. Bed dimensions need to have 4 ft between the wheel wells. And give it an air suspension to improve ground clearance for mild offroad conditions.

I'd bet about a million dollars that this truck will not make it to the United States ever.

For these types of SUTs I liked the rampage concept from a few years ago a *lot* better. The rampage actually seemed as if it would have a lot of utility. This looks a lot more gimmicky. Time will tell.

I reserve the word love for living breathing organisms not engineered chunks of metal, rubber and plastic.

I do, however, really like my full sized truck, BUT I do see a market for alternatives.
Hybrids have a place, it only takes me 10 minutes to drive to work, but how would batteries fare in -25C (-13F) ?
That is also why I wouldn't want a diesel.

Those are my current preferences, but I see a place for small diesels, mid-sized and small trucks. I'm not totally sold on the battery thing, but I'm not going to make my views into something that means it is a stupid choice for anyone else.

I agree with the statement above. This turd does look like a stink bug. Probably smells like one, too.

I'd guess we'll see wheels with plastic inserts to reduce air resistance at highway speeds much sooner than we'll see another Mitsu pickup in North America.


For a regular hybrid the battery capacity is usually low enough that the cold will have only a modest effect. Ours gets worse mileage in the winter as one would expect but it is no more than about 15-20% less on the coldest days (got down to below or right around freezing multiple times in Boise this year).

we have friends on the eastern side of Idaho which gets much colder (-10 to -20 F) and they see similar losses on their hybrid. My gut tells me that the batteries come up to temp much faster than a diesel would but most of the loss in mpg's is coming from the cold ICE not the electric side of things.

That gold thing is hideous. The silver truck looks like the global Colorado with a different front clip. Very ugly as well but not nearly as bad. Both need to be killed with fire.

I don't see it as even in the same class as a half-ton or larger pickup.

I see it more as a car with a bed that provides utility beyond what normal cars can give you. More like a Ranchero or El Camino or even Explorer Sport Trac.

For those of us who need a pickup, this car is not even an option. For those who want more utility than a car normally provides but don't want a real pickup, this thing is definitely an option.

It looks like it should have a "retractable hard-top" tonneau cover.


I live in Northern Minnesota where temperatures routinely get below -20 F in wintertime, often dipping down to -40 F (and lower!) on the coldest mornings. I can see where a hybrid or plug-in hybrid might still make sense in this climate as there's still plenty of waste heat bleeding off of even a tiny engine to keep a passenger cabin and batteries warm, but electric-only vehicles are pretty much a non-starter around here...

IMHO, they'll need to move away from chemical batteries to another type of energy storage device before electrics are as practical as an ICE vehicle around here (seems like they were promising super capacitors a few years back, but I guess that research must've hit a roadblock of some sort).

I had to laugh when reading all of the recent hubbub about that Tesla road test in the New York Times where they were all up-in-arms about the temperatures and it's not even below zero yet...I wonder how much range you'd lose at 40 below?

I'm sure they work great down south though. :)

Looks like they tried to graft a partially-melted Avalanche bed on the back of a Nissan Murano.


It's quite ugly, the front end looks like it from a future Nissan Murano.

I liked the Dodge Rampage better, especially if it came slightly redesigned on a full chassis in a mid sizer format.

We have alot of the Tritons on the road over here. They can be bought on sale generally cheaper than most of the other mid sizers.

Woman & tundra owners will buy them

@Howam00 - interesting points, my part of the world seems to be getting warmer so worrying about -40C might be passe'. (At the rate things are going, I may have beach front property). If I lived further out in the sticks, a baby diesel would be worth it.
My wife probably would benefit from a hybrid more than me. She is a bit of a leadfoot, so the engine might be kicking in more than with me driving. I sure do notice the gas gauge more when she takes my truck.

We have a slightly similar ute over hear that's getting about 33mpg average fuel economy. That would put it up at about 40mpg on the highway. Can tow almost 4 500lbs and is 4x4.

Looking at the prices we pay, you guys would pay about $20 000, but the base model is well equiped.

It's actually about 6' wide, which is a surprise.

It's not the prettiest thing around, but I've seen a few on the road.

This would suit the someone who just wants utility from a vehicle. It wouldn't suit my application needs.

looks like a ridgeline to me...those are the only ones that will like this mess

This would work as a Parallel Hybrid not a diesel then electric alternative power supply. Presumably Mitsubishi is looking at 2018/2020 to introduce a production model. How far removed from the concept is a good question.

@Larry Edsall
"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. "

You have one attribute right "too thirsty" for Europeans Yes, not for Australians /New Zealanders. For European roads yes it would be too big, but not elsewhere. Too Heavy??? Not really.

@Big Al from Oz - the Sangyong trucklet reminds me of the Fiat Strada. It would be easy for Fiat to bring to NA by building it in Mexico to take advantage of NAFTA. That would be the easiest way to skirt the chicken tax. The only other hurdles would be NHTSA and EPA.

Hopefully Ford gets it's way with the Germans' in the US joining the UNECE Global Vehicle Harmonisation. Fiat/Chrysler would support such a move as well.

It think GM will be the sore point, I haven't found any information of their position.

Canada would be in favour, I've read it isn't totally happy towing the US line, your government do allow some UNECE vehicles that the US doesn't get.

That would remove most of the barriers and you guys would be getting this and many more. The world is full of amazing vehicles including the large truck market.

Australia with 22 million people has as a wider choice of vehicles as the US if you include one off imports. Or nearly as wide if you don't.

The consumer and industry can only benefit.

It's a shame the US can't get a 40mpg pickup, the Ssyangyong pickup does over well over 100mph.

Granted, that back end could use some work. Otherwise, not too bad as long as it's not too big. At 76" wide (more than six feet) and 70" tall (just under six feet) that's a pretty big rig. Bigger even than my Wrangler unlimited in width and length and only just shorter in height. Too big for my taste.

Wrangles may be a bit wide at the fenders but thier shorter then a Honda Civic, no truck would be shorter then a Wrangler.

They are the same. Still Mitsubishi does produce some very "Asiatic" looking Pickups hope the production one looks better.

Like US Pickups Global models are getting bigger.

Yes, they are getting bigger. My BT50 is about 76" wide.

I hope they don't get any bigger or I'll have to buy a SUV or something similar to that Ssyanyong. The Ssyangyong would have limit off road ability compared to my BT50.

It would be great if the manufacturers can come up with a full chassis pickup the size of the old minitrucks.

They could run on a 1.6 litre diesel or a 1.6 Eco Boost style engine and give you over 40mpg on the highway.

@Big Al from Oz - Canada has been slowly moving away from its dependance on the USA for selling its products and resources. When the USA tanked in 2008, we fared much better. China wants our oil but the only hurdles are the Greens and some Aboriginal bands that have been listening too much to the greens. They are all hung up on "traditional way of life" crap that the pipeline might screw up. Since when is driving to the logging cut block in a 4x4, and shooting a moose with a scoped rifle traditional? Moose weren't even in BC until after the railways came. But who am I to comment, I'm just a white guy of European descent ;)
Canada was pissed off at the USA because we were negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU and the USA came to the table and dragged our eggs into their basket.

Our government is odd politically since it loves to traditionalize our "British" past, but they are also enamoured with the USA. If the USA gets more protectionistic, I'd much prefer having allignments that offer a variety of export arrangements. Since 2008, we've been selling more lumber to Asia then to the USA.

I was almost going to say my multi postings have dissappeared!

I hope PUTC has resolved the issue:)

We'll see.

I actually don't mind the silver one as a true compact truck. The Honda Ridgeline has actually grown on me as well and if I didn't have my Isuzu I might buy a Ridgeline. My problems with Mitsubishi are not quality as much as availability of parts. That was the only draw back for my 85 Mighty Max. We will not see this truck in the US, Mitsubishi is bearly hanging in the market. It is ashame because Mitsubishi makes a decent vehicle. I do agree that the back of the gold one is way too high. This is more of a commuter truck and no replacement for a regular truck.

We have similar problems here in Australia.

From what I can see the government supported infrastructure gains more than the indigenous do.

It's big business. All secure and government supported.

Our Aboriginals have been playing the "green" card to leverage more concessions out of the big companies and government. That is my take on it, and in many cases is blattantly obvious.
Experts are warning that bitumen could become harder to sell down the road if China finds oil that is less costly to refine we could be in trouble. Even the Keystone XL line is being held up.

the thing about small pickup trucks that i do like is the ground clearance and agility. to me that seems to be the biggest foot hold for small trucks. the tacomas have great ground clearance as does the T6 Ranger. full size trucks have become large land yachts and cruizing vehicles really. i miss things like k10 blazers, ramchargers, and broncos. my dad had a '77 K10 custom blue 4x4 reg cab short bed 3.05 V8 and 33 inch tires. it was a nice truck. modern full size are more like mini 18 wheelers. but you can't get a V8 with a small truck and mpgs are the same in both so it isn't really practical in the u.s. to get a small truck anymore (unless you are an avid offroader).

@Lou--I can see your point. We can be arrogant as a nation and Canada has every right to sell to who ever they want and to buy what they want. We are still allies but we should be more respectful of other countries as well. As for global products this has been happening with autos and eventually trucks whether we like it or not. Costs to develop and market vehicles necessistate more globalization and that is one reason why Ford is for more harmonized standards. I am not saying that the F-150 is going away as we know it, but I believe it will evolve into more of a globalized product in order to contain costs.

@Josh Big thing with Global Diesel Pickups is their Off Road ability. That is why on Australian car sites, they rate the Off Road ability as well as payload, ride handling etc. Not really the anywhere the same emphasis in the US/Canada

Little trucks like this have clear advantages and a devoted fan base, but to Mitsubishi, their memory of selling pickups in the US was like a bad weekend in Tijuana. It started off good.. ended badly. The last thing Mitsu ever wants to do is come back to it, and nether does Mazda or Isuzu. Hell no.. Still some insist it's a conspiracy to limit our choices performed by unions etc, etc. Completely laughable.

Even with harmonized US-EU standards and free trade all around, it'd be a nonstarter. Mitsu would rather someone else deal with US stripper truck buying cheapskates, fleets, etc.

Surprisingly, Mitsu still sells cars here so a mid-size truck would also cannibalize what little profits they have here.

Here is a link to a Triton review. It also runs a 2.5 turbo diesel.

When it was released in 2006 it replaced the Hilux as the best performing mid sizer we had.

It now sits between the Hilux and the newer Ranger/BT50, Colorado/Dmax and Amarok in overall performance.

The first post doesn't appear to be there.

Here is a link to a Triton review. It also runs a 2.5 turbo diesel.

When it was released in 2006 it replaced the Hilux as the best performing mid sizer we had.

It now sits between the Hilux and the newer Ranger/BT50, Colorado/Dmax and Amarok in overall performance.

I just made a post and it is no longer on the site.

Here is a link to a Triton review. It also runs a 2.5 turbo diesel.

When it was released in 2006 it replaced the Hilux as the best performing mid sizer we had.

It now sits between the Hilux and the newer Ranger/BT50, Colorado/Dmax and Amarok in overall performance.

The first post doesn't appear to be there.

Here is a link to a Triton review. It also runs a 2.5 turbo diesel.

When it was released in 2006 it replaced the Hilux as the best performing mid sizer we had.

It now sits between the Hilux and the newer Ranger/BT50, Colorado/Dmax and Amarok in overall performance.

I can forsee the MMC (Mitsubishi Motor Company) becoming a part of the Nissan/Renault Alliance. MMC is already product sharing with Nissan in the Middle East and Asia on a range of vehicle from micro cars upto and including LDTs.

Nissan and Mitsubishi share a factory in Thailand and produce the Triton and Navara on the same line. MMC and Nissan were going to produce a global pickup, but this never eventuated.

PSA (Puegeot/Citroen) I also will have a good chance of being bought out by the Nissan/Renault alliance as well, there is product and technology sharing between PSA and MMC.

France having an overly protected market with trade barriers has reduced the competitiveness of its auto manufacturers.

It started to liberalise its vehicle market, but was to late.

MMC is a minor player globally.

Be good to see what Misibishi and Nissan have up their sleeves later. Going to be a lot of changes in the next couple of years that is for sure.

The comments to this entry are closed.