JAPAN/NETHERLANDS: Mitsubishi readies first twin-clutch SUV
Mitsubishi Motors Europe is to offer the new Lancer Evolution X's Twin Clutch SST automated transmission as an option for (PSA-supplied) 2.2-litre diesel engine versions of its Outlander mid-size SUV from next autumn.
The automaker said the transmission's benefits include "lightning quick" shifting compared with normal manual transmissions; almost no power loss when shifting compared with traditional automatic transmissions; and lower fuel consumption and emissions compared with standard automatics due to the inherent efficiency of the system's gear changes.
MME said the Outlander would be the first SUV to be equipped with cutting-edge twin clutch technology.
The new option will also give the Outlander an advantage over Japanese rivals such as the Japan-built Toyota RAV-4 and UK-made Honda CR-V SUVs which do not offer a diesel-automatic powertrain option in Europe.
Volkswagen has recently launched its Tiguan model in this increasingly hard-fought segment - which includes Land Rover's Freelander 2 (also offered with diesel/auto). VW offers a two-litre turbodiesel engine in the Tiguan but a spokesman told just-auto it had opted for a conventional six-speed torque converter automatic rather than a twin clutch unit (which the VW group pioneered) due to the torque converter unit's superior off-road low-speed take-off characteristics.
The new Outlander 2.2 Di-D Twin Clutch SST model will first be shown at the Paris motor show next October, ahead of retail launch during the first quarter of 2009.
UK-market versions will also come with paddle shifters plus dual mode (normal/sport) and hill start assist functions.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) last week said it would transfer production of all EU-bound Outlander SUV derivatives it supplies to PSA Peugeot Citroen from its Mizushima Plant (Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture) in Japan, where they are currently built, to its European production hub, Netherlands Car (NedCar) in Born, The Netherlands.
The transfer takes place in January 2009 and follows a similar move - announced last September - to shift production of all EU-bound Outlander versions to Born later this year.