Mitsubishi has a history of building rough-and-ready SUVs that have tackled the Dakar Rally, the Rubicon Trail, and the dirt roads of Patagonia. But the company’s current lineup is much more pavement-oriented, with nary a proper SUV in sight.
That might change, according to CarBuzz. Speaking to Tsuneshiro Kunimoto, vice president and general manager of Mitsubishi design, the website discovered that Mitsu was contemplating a new rugged vehicle, ostensibly to do battle with the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.
Given Mitsubishi’s partnership with Nissan, which began when the latter took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors, it’s possible the company with the red diamonds could borrow a few platforms from Nissan’s portfolio, according to CarBuzz. Further adding fuel to the rumor fire is body-on-frame guru Fred Diaz, who is leaving Nissan’s truck and commercial division to become CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America. Diaz has a long list of credits to his name, ranging from heading up Ram Trucks to successfully launching the new Nissan Titan and Titan XD.
So should we expect a new Montero in the U.S. soon? That might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not totally unlikely. “Mitsubishi is robust and ingenious,” Kunimoto told CarBuzz. “Look at the Pajero at Dakar, for example. Thanks to the new alliance, we have so many choices. Mitsubishi will continue to grow.”
Kunimoto’s direct reference to the Pajero, which is the overseas name for the Montero, leads us to believe the company might be cooking up a legitimate off-road successor to the fullsize SUV. Currently, the company’s utility lineup is comprised exclusively of unibody crossovers without low-range gearboxes. A new Montero would change that.
Were Nissan to donate the next-generation Frontier platform to Mitsubishi for a neo-Montero, we think it’d make a fine addition to the company’s North American stable. Stripped down for off-road duty, a new Montero Sport would be a great rival to established off-road players like the Wrangler and newcomers like the Bronco.