Rumor on the street has it that Mitsubishi is bringing back the Lancer, a name used on its compact sedan for over 40 years, as a crossover. The idea is perhaps not as egregious as the Eclipse Cross, as the Lancer did famously have some dirt throwing AWD versions, but still.
The Lancer name first appeared in 1973 on a simple but rugged compact sedan in Mitsubishi Motors’ lineup. Without minimal modifications for safety, Mitsubishi sent it into some of the world’s toughest races, like the East African Safari Rally, where it won outright twice.
Though ten iterations of top-spec Lancer Evolution models were the most enthusiast oriented, the standard-issue Lancer nameplate existed continuously for 44 years. Last year, the Lancer name was finally retired in the US (in some Asian countries, a facelifted version continued to be sold as the Grand Lancer).
Less than a year since the name was put to rest, however, comes talk of a revival. The news comes straight from Mitsubishi Motors COO Trevor Mann, who told AutoExpress that the Lancer would now become a C-segment crossover, a category that includes cars like the Toyota C-HR and Nissan Rogue Sport (Qashqai).
Designer Tsunehiro Kunimoto said the design would take after the Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept from last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, adding that “maybe we can create a new type of hatchback vehicle.”
Opinion among the JNC staff is mixed about the name change. Editor -at-Large Ricky Silverio and ex-Galant VR-4 owner called it “a great progressive move by Mitsubishi,” while our Touge California Rallymaster and Mitsubishi Diamante enthusiast Patrick Strong was less of a fan, saying, “Fucking of course it is.”
If the new Lancer Cross or whatever it’s called can pull off a feat like the original did when it won the Safari rally in 1974, though, all can be forgiven.
Images courtesy of Mitsubishi.