Sacrilege: Mitsubishi's next SUV could be called Eclipse

You don't throw that name around lightly, as Mitsubishi ought to know.

SUVs

Mitsubishi is no longer the enthusiast darling it used to be in the US, but one piece of that history might come back to haunt enthusiasts in a way nobody thought possible.

The Japanese automaker, now part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, will debut a new SUV at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. It's a compact SUV meant to slot in the lineup between the Outlander and Outlander Sport (called the ASX in other markets).

At least Mitsubishi isn't calling it "Outlander Middle."

Mitsubishi

The styling is a bit of a wildcard. Its front end -- what can see of it, at least -- is more closely aligned with the current Outlander lineup, but the rear end and its vertical taillights arrangement speaks more to the XR PHEV concept from the 2015 Geneva show.

What's most odd about this car, though, is its alleged name. AutoExpress originally published a story from an early drive of this SUV's prototype, and it claimed that Mitsubishi would call its new utility vehicle the Eclipse. Yes, the same name as the sports car of yore.

The article has since been deleted, which means AutoExpress may have accidentally given away too much information. Either that, or the outlet is way off the mark. I and many other enthusiasts hope it's the latter, but both are equally likely. Recycling a name isn't a dumb move, but the Eclipse moniker carries a certain cachet with Mitsubishi fans, and to attach it to yet another crossover would be a real kick in the pants -- more so than the last generation of Eclipse was.

A spokesman for Mitsubishi Motors North America confirmed that this SUV will be coming to the US, but timing and a name are both TBD at this time.

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Update, 1:18 p.m. Eastern: Added manufacturer comment.