It’s no secret that Mitsubishi is one of the lowest Japanese brands on the automotive totem pole. Sales aren’t where they need to be, their new cars have been received with unanimous boredom (unless they’re going to announce a new Evo), and they aren’t exactly known for their reliability. In the wake of Suzuki’s departure from the US market, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking at Mitsubishi as the next candidate to call it quits.
These days, the Outlander is the primary car that Mitsubishi is counting on, and even it has seen recent bad press thanks to the plug-in hybrid version’s battery problems. Apparently, safety concerns were so high that production of the eco-friendly SUVs had to come to a complete halt before the problem could be sorted out.
But, the Outlander isn’t the car I want to talk about today. In fact, I don’t even want to talk about my theories regarding Mitsubishi’s poor performance. I know that many people love their Outlanders, and I’ve got nothing against smaller Japanese brands. Each to their own.
Instead, what I want to talk about today is the Mitsubishi CS-21 Concept.
Back to the Glory Days
While the current Mirage is a boring car, it wasn’t always that way. Way back in the 1960s, the Colt was Mitsubishi’s first family car. Discontinued in 1971, by 1978 the Colt was brought back as a Mirage-based hatchback. By and large, the Colt was successful and it definitely helped contribute to Mitsubishi’s legacy throughout the 80s and 90s. This was back when saying “Mitsubishi” actually evoked images of specific models, instead of being almost synonymous with “Outlander” and “Evo”.
Why does this matter now?
Well, it matters to Mitsubishi because these were the glory days. By analyzing what they were doing correctly back then, ideally they can improve what they’re doing now. On that note, I’d like to introduce you to the semi-independently designed Mitsubishi CS-21 concept.
The Mitsubishi CS-21 Concept
Back in 2011, designer Gabor Farkas developed a concept based on the popular 90s-era Mitsubishi Colt. Whis concept was called the Mitsubishi CS, and it remains as one of the few out-of-the-park hits credited to Mitsubishi within the past 5 years.
Today, we get to see the sequel to that concept. Enter the Mitsubishi CS-21:
What I really like about this concept is that it’s simple. There aren’t a bunch of fancy bells and whistles. There aren’t any spectacularly swooping lines, over-the-top chrome modifications or dollar-store-variety LED headlights. Instead, the CS-21 is exactly what I want to see from an entry-level hatchback – clean, sleek and functional.
After listening to Farkas describe his intentions for the CS-21, it becomes clear why this car looks so pleasant:
“The oval headlights and rear lights, the trapezoidal shaped front air intake and the rooflines are well known from the Colt/Mirage of the early 90’s. Even the fact that the back is designed using similar lines to those on the front is a key point of the CA’s exterior…. You can create a modern looking car out of an old shape with contemporary design elements.”
In other words, Farkas aimed to celebrate the old Colt’s identifiable exterior with a port into contemporary automotive design. The result is a car that looks classy and concise. Unfortunately, we have no idea whether or not this car will ever lead to production, or have any impact on Mitsubishi’s future designs.
So, what do you think about the CS-21? Like or dislike? Too simple or not simple enough? Am I being too hard on Mitsubishi, or do you agree that they’re on the decline?