It’s not the first time Mitsubishi engineers have aimed for the sky. In the early stages of the Pacific War, the A6M Zero fighter aircraft was unbeatable in air-to-air combat. These days, however, the company’s aspirations are a lot more peaceful, but that hasn’t stopped it from gazing up into the wild blue yonder. This is evident in two concept vehicles the Japanese automotive brand has put on display at the ongoing 46th Tokyo Motor Show.
The first is the carmaker’s take on what a dune buggy should be. Named the MI-Tech Concept—‘M’ for Mitsubishi and ‘I’ for “intelligent, ingenious and inspired”—this vehicle does have technology that pays homage to Mitsubishi’s roots in aviation. The body style is quite meaty, with huge wheels and oversized fender overriders to match. The open cockpit lets occupants look up to the sky unimpeded and hear the unique drivetrain while they’re at it. The plug-in hybrid-electric power unit makes use of a gas turbine (or jet) engine that can run on a variety of fuels, such as diesel and kerosene. This is mated to an electric four-wheel drive system that makes the MI-Tech a competent animal on rough terrain.
The second show vehicle is what Mitsubishi calls the Super Height K-Wagon Concept. Quite a mouthful for what is basically a short-but-tall MPV. This ride complies with kei car standards, so the height isn’t so super at all. What is super about this runabout is its equipment list. The interior has stylish quilted leather seats in a brown-and-orange theme that wouldn’t look out of place inside a luxury car. Being a kei car, the performance won’t be super as well, but it does come with a slew of electronic driver aids like lane-keep assist and autonomous braking.
Both concept cars sport iterations of Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield design language. With the manufacturer’s renewed focus on SUVs and people-carriers, technology derived from these concepts may one day find its way to the brand’s product line.