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Mitsubishi Trots Out a 'Crossover'

February 07, 2001

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is a bit late to the starting gate in the "crossover" race, with its first U.S. market model not due to go on sale until next year as a 2003 model. So to whet appetites for its forthcoming car-based sport-utility--or sport-utility-looking car--the company recently showed off a near-production model of the Japanese market version, left, which hits the streets there this year.

Company officials who showed off the Mitsubishi ASX (automotive shorthand for "active sports crossover") at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last month said it will handle like a sports sedan with the versatility of an SUV. Ground clearance is a tall 9.6 inches and combines with an all-wheel-drive system for decent off-road performance.

Power will come from Mitsubishi's 2.4-liter direct-injection gasoline engine for better fuel economy and lower emissions than most SUVs. The U.S. version will have a different face--grille, headlamps, bumper and, possibly, front fenders--than the Japanese model pictured here.

Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, based in Cypress, will begin offering the ASX in 2002 as an '03 model. Prices have not been set, but it will compete in the compact crossover market with such vehicles as the Ford Escape, so figure in the $20,000 to $25,000 range.

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