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1999 Mitsubishi SSU Concept Car

The late 1990s witnessed a blend of sports car agility and SUV versatility in the form of the 1999 Mitsubishi SSU Concept Car. Created by Mitsubishi Motors R & R&D of America, Inc., this groundbreaking concept made its debut at the 1999 Chicago Auto Show, captivating enthusiasts with its unique design and performance promises.

The SSU Concept was envisioned as an "extreme sports vehicle," aiming to seamlessly merge the performance attributes of a sports car with the spaciousness and adaptability of an SUV. It boasted a bold aesthetic with center-opening doors, eliminating the B-pillar for enhanced accessibility and luggage loading.

Under the hood, the SSU housed a potent 2.5-liter V-6 engine, twin-turbocharged to churn out an impressive 310 horsepower. Power was transmitted to all wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission, offering the choice of conventional automatic or clutchless manual shifting via Mitsubishi Motors' Sport mode.

This concept vehicle aimed to cater to adventure enthusiasts, presenting itself as a rally car capable of accommodating five individuals and their equipment for a weekend of extreme sports. The integration of an all-wheel-drive system and a robust powertrain hinted at its capability to navigate diverse terrains while maintaining a thrilling driving experience.

Though not explicitly designed for extensive off-road expeditions, the SSU focused on providing a balance between performance and utility. Its design ethos revolved around carrying passengers comfortably while offering ample cargo space, aligning with the ethos of a sports car/SUV hybrid.

The SSU Concept, along with Mitsubishi's lineage of innovative show vehicles like the HSR series, showcased the brand's forward-thinking approach to automotive design and technology. While not intended for production, these concepts often serve as testing grounds for new ideas, with elements sometimes making their way into future production models.

The 1999 Mitsubishi SSU Concept Car stands as a testament to Mitsubishi Motors' dedication to pushing boundaries in automotive design. Its fusion of sports car dynamics and SUV versatility presented a glimpse into a potential niche market, catering to enthusiasts seeking a blend of performance and utility. While not destined for production, the SSU's legacy lives on, influencing the trajectory of future Mitsubishi vehicles.

Image Sources: Mitsubishi Motors Corp.