Mitsubishi’s ageing bread and butter SUV model range has been poked alive with a fresh new entrant that sits snug between the ever-popular ASX and seven-seat ready mid-size Outlander.
Now on sale for just over half a year, the Eclipse Cross doesn’t seem like it’s going to steal sales away from its eight-year old smaller sibling anytime soon, but there’s plenty going for this well executed alternative to the normal mid-size SUV crowd.
Vehicle Style: Medium SUV
Price: $36,000 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 110kW/250Nm 1.5 turbo-petrol 4cyl | CVT
Fuel Economy Claimed: 7.2 L/100km | Tested: 8.2 L/100km
Following Mitsubishi’s latest ‘Dynamic Shield’ design language, the Eclipse Cross has a modern look that the brand’s current crop of SUVs doesn’t offer. But better than just looking good next to an elderly line-up, it stands out against its rivals too.
Where it distinguishes itself from the pack is with a sleek-raked roof that slips under the usual size for the mid-size SUV segment – cars like the Mazda CX-5 and Jeep Compass – and is similar yet larger (and more restrained in design) than the funky Toyota C-HR.
In turn it has carved out a bit of niche for itself that should appeal to current buyers hunting on-trend for a sporty looking SUV. And in typical Mitsubishi fashion it’s cut the price tag down from usual expectations.
Keeping things simple, the Eclipse Cross comes in just two model variants and with one basic driveline configuration. It starts with the LS model grade at $30,500 and jumps to the Exceed on test from $36,000 plus on-road costs.
Both models are powered exclusively by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that goes through a CVT transmission to the front-wheels and the Exceed can be further optioned with all-wheel drive for an additional $2500.
From outside, the only distinguishing feature between the two models is the Exceed’s split-sunroof, with most of the additional gear coming in the form of added safety and technology. If cost is an issue the LS is quite well equipped, but the Exceed brings further kit even some rivals don’t offer.
Standard equipment on the model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and headlights, fog lights, keyless entry and start, leather-trimmed upholstery, 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, reversing camera, 360-degree birds-view camera, dual-zone air-conditioning, panoramic sunroof and head-up display as well as added safety in the form of adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
In addition to its standard safety features the Exceed models come with ultrasonic mis-acceleration mitigation which detects if the driver has accidently hit the accelerator at speeds below 10km/h and reduces engine power to help prevent an incident, such as going from a carpark into a shop front.
THE INTERIOR | RATING: 3.5/5
- Standard Equipment: 18-inch alloys, Cruise control, leather trim, electrically adjustable front seats, heated front seats, keyless auto-entry, electric tailgate, auto-dimming rear view mirror, dual-zone climate control, and auto on/off wipers and led headlights with auto up/down high beam.
- Infotainment: 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, reversing and 360-degree view camera.
- Cargo Volume: 341-448 litres.
Matching new looks on the outside the interior brings a fresh design that’s well presented and strung together nicely. A few parts are borrowed from elsewhere in the Mitsubishi stable and the overall aesthetic is safe, but it’s also flexible, smart and easy to use.
Bringing some of the latest infotainment technology is a 7.0-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but it’s a bit of a stretch to touch and navigate so a smart controller alleviates fumbling on the screen. Opting for a touchpad rather than rotary controller the device would look completely at home inside a Lexus, except Mitsubishi’s first crack at the system is a success and surprisingly easy to use. If the infotainment was just an inch larger it would look smarter, and it doesn’t come with satellite navigation that’s instead mirrored from connected Apple or Android devices.
Upfront the seating area is spacious and provides good shoulder room between the front pews and the dash. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and heated and can sling into a fairly low and comfortable position with a heads-up display providing a clear glimpse of the speed on the windscreen.
The materials used throughout are a mix of leather, aluminium and black and carbon-look panels. With nothing over the top it blends together well and there’s a solid feel behind all of the parts.
The sleek exterior design takes some toll inside though as both vision through the rear glass and headspace for rear-seat occupants is compromised, however, a reversing camera and 360-degree birds-view camera help with the lack of rearward vision and a sliding and reclining rear bench make the most of the useable room. It’s also not entirely cramped in the back with enough space to fit two baby seats or a few kids comfortably and the trick sliding rear seat also provides a handy varying boot space from 341 to 448 litres large.
Along with charging points - both USB and 12v - there are plenty of cupholders and well-sized storage areas but no rear air vents in either model grade.
ON THE ROAD | RATING: 3.5/5
- Engine: 110kW/250Nm 1.5 turbo petrol 4cyl
- Transmission: CVT, FWD or AWD
- Suspension: Strut front and independent rear
- Steering: Electrically assisted mechanical steering
Equipped with just one simple drivetrain the Eclipse is a no thrills but efficient urban commuter producing 110kW and 250Nm from its 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine.
Its power goes through a CVT that’s good at getting the most from the engine without sounding like its overworking and it doesn’t feel slack from a standing start. There’s also enough pep further up the rev range for zipping through traffic and cruising on the big open road confidently.
Adding some excitement for the driver are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel with eight stepped gears that hang on around corners when pushing along. The chassis keeps up well with some spirited driving and has a slightly firm but planted composure that steers well. Over poor road surfaces the sound isolation was good and the ride was complaint, soaking up most bumps with some tenderness.
Rounding out good manners is a fairly tame claimed fuel consumption of 7.2L/100km that equated to 8.2L/100km over our real-world test – the all-wheel drive is thirstier at a claimed 7.7L/100km.
It’s hard to get around the poor rearward vision though that is only worse when conditions turn wet. The safety tech, like a reversing camera and 360-degree camera, make slow-manoeuvres easier but it takes a couple of checks in the rear-view mirror to decipher traffic.
ANCAP rating: 5-stars – this model scored 36.9 out of 38 possible points when tested in 2017.
Safety Features: Nine airbags, ABS and ESC, front and rear parking sensors with rear-view camera and autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Five years/100,000km.
Servicing: Mitsubishi offers a capped-price servicing plan costing $1100 over three years. Servicing intervals are every 15,000kms of 12 months.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The Subaru XV is a more adventurous looking alternative that offers good value and handling but it’s smaller – particularly in the boot – and the driveline is comparatively dull.
The Jeep Compass is only slightly but noticeably larger inside and comes with some nicer looking technology, such as the 8.4-inch infotainment system, but it doesn’t have the style and polish of the newer Eclipse.
Nissan’s stalwart Qashqai is ageing like Mitsubishi’s siblings with similar dimensions outside and a similar compromise for rear-seat passengers, but it also has plenty of good equipment including a 360-degree camera.
- Subaru XV
- Jeep Compass
- Nissan Qashqai
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL RATING: 3.5/5
Given the once in a blue moon approach Mitsubishi has to new models it had to nail its Eclipse Cross on the head, and it did. Good looks, a solid driveline and nice interior all add up to a genuine contender in the mid-size SUV market. What’s more, its flexible size, looks and price put it in contention with an even wider range of crossovers to prey on, giving the Eclipse Cross a solid foothold to stand on for a long time to come.
- Interested in buying Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross? Visit our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross showroom for more information.