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2001 Mitsubishi S.U.P. Concept

The 2001 Mitsubishi S.U.P. (Sports Utility Pack) Concept emerged as a distinctive and versatile vehicle showcased at various international auto shows. Initially presented as a hardtop at the 35th Tokyo Motor Show in 2001, it later appeared at the 2002 North American International Auto Show and Geneva Motor Show in a cabriolet version. The S.U.P. was part of a series of concept vehicles introduced by Mitsubishi Motors following the appointment of Olivier Boulay as the head of design in 2001.

Designed for nature lovers who embraced technology during weekdays but sought outdoor adventures on weekends, the S.U.P. aimed to cater to individuals with diverse interests. Olivier Boulay, known for his work at DCX's Advanced Design Studio in Yokohama, contributed to creating a unified design identity for Mitsubishi vehicles during this period. The common "face" incorporated design elements such as the curvature of the lower grille edge, the size and shape of the badge, and a sharp crease rising on the bonnet.

The S.U.P. Concept featured innovative and radical styling, including a thick wraparound tubeline housing the front and rear lamp units, detachable semi-transparent body panels in the doors, and seatback-mounted backpacks. The hardtop version included a large louvered sunroof, while the cabriolet variant featured a convertible top and hideaway rear glass.

Beneath the surface, the S.U.P. was equipped with a "soft HEV" (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) 4WD drivetrain. This system consisted of an automated manual transmission channeling power from a 1,999 cc 4G94 gasoline direct injection straight-4 engine with an integrated starter-alternator (GDI-ISA) to the front wheels. Additionally, two discreet electric motors powered the rear wheels, enhancing the vehicle's overall efficiency.

The S.U.P.'s hybrid powertrain, described as a "soft HEV," aimed to provide an environmentally friendly and spirited driving experience. The automated manual transmission, combined with the innovative drivetrain setup, showcased Mitsubishi's commitment to exploring cleaner and more sustainable mobility solutions. Despite the innovative features and environmentally conscious design, the S.U.P. Concept did not progress to production. However, it stood as a testament to Mitsubishi's exploration of advanced technologies and versatile designs in the early 2000s.

Source & Images: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

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