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Could This Test Mule Actually Be The New Mitsubishi Evo?

Spy Shots / Comments

Don't be fooled by the Renault badges.

Following the failed merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Renault-Nissan Alliance, it seems very unlikely that Renault will start selling cars in the US, even if they are rebadged as Nissans. But don't forget, Mitsubishi is also a part of the alliance and needs new products of its own to sell. It would make sense for Nissan to take some existing Renault platforms to replace aging models in its lineup, but if our predictions turn out to be accurate, Mitsubishi may be the first to benefit from a rebadged French platform.

Mitsubishi recently moved its US headquarters to be closer to Nissan. The move indicates that Mitsubishi would like to work more closely with both Nissan and Renault, and soon after the move was announced, a rumor emerged claiming Mitsubishi is planning to revive the Lancer Evolution that borrows the drivetrain from the next-generation Renault Megane RS.

Why is this rumor so important? Because Renault was recently spotted testing a mysterious prototype version of the Megane. The prototype shouldn't seem out of the ordinary since Renault is confirmed to be working on a new plug-in hybrid version of the car, though there are some strange additions we wouldn't usually expect for such an upgrade. These photos clearly show a charging port on the driver's side, indicating this is a plug-in, but the wide fender flares are highly unusual. Wide fenders typically indicate a high-performance model, and there is even a Clio mule behind it with similar flares. But guess which other car famously wore wide fender flares? The Mitsubishi Evo, of course. See the connection?

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Mitsubishi has been successful as of late thanks to new crossover models like the Outlander and Eclipse Cross, but the company has completely lost its loyal enthusiast following, who enjoyed cars like the Evo and Eclipse. The Japanese automaker has gone back and forth on whether it makes sense to revive the Evo in the current market, and even tossed out the idea of turning the legendary nameplate into a crossover.

Nearly all mentions of an Evo successor include a hybrid drivetrain, which further adds fuel to our suspicions that this Renault prototype is connected to Mitsubishi in some way. The current most powerful Megane RS produces 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque but could be even more potent with a hybrid assist, putting it in prime territory to power the new Evo. It is only a theory at the moment but we hope it turns out to be true.