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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC

      ...Making progress in the right direction...

    I was a bit surprised when I got word that I would be spending a few days with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross only a few weeks after doing a brief first drive. As I noted in my report, I came away pretty impressed with certain aspects of this latest contender in the compact crossover class. But there were some items that I needed more time to mess around with such as the infotainment system and powertrain. With a bit more time behind the wheel, how would Mitsubishi’s newest model fare? 

    As I talked about in my quick first drive, Mitsubishi’s design staff went crazy with the Eclipse Cross. Sharp angles, a split shape for the tailgate, and aggressive front end treatment will draw a lot of comment. But credit should be given to the design team as they have created something that does stand out in a very crowded class. The polarizing design can be toned down a lot if you choose a different color than the red as seen on my tester. 

    Sadly, that polarizing design doesn’t carry into the interior. But the plain look does allow for most controls to be easy to find and reach. Only the placement of the trip computer controls (behind the steering wheel) and climate control (nestled deep in the center stack) will invoke some frustration. Mitsubishi has also made some noticeable improvements to overall interior quality. There are higher quality hard plastics and some soft-touch materials used throughout. Also, there were no glaring build quality concerns that I noticed in the Outlander Sport.

    The front seats provide decent support for short trips, but I was wishing for more padding after doing a day trip to Ohio. The sloping roofline and large sunroof will eat into rear headroom, but legroom is decent for most passengers. Cargo space is on the low side with 22.6 cubic feet with the seats up and 48.9 cubic feet when folded. The sloping tailgate design does also mean you’ll need to plan carefully as to how you plan on loading cargo.

    Mitsubishi equips all Eclipse Cross models with a seven-inch touchscreen, but only the LE and above get a free-standing version with a touchpad controller. The touchpad controller reminds a lot of the Lexus’ Remote Touch system and its issues. Both systems exhibit some slowness to respond when your finger is moving across the pad. At least the Mitsubishi system has a touchscreen as another input method, but you’ll be stretching your arm to use it. The graphics and overall performance do trail competitors, but it is a huge step forward when compared to the previous systems Mitsubishi has installed. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard on LE models and above.

    A new turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder powers the Eclipse Cross. Output is rated at 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. All models come with a CVT and the choice of either front or Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control (S-AWC). During my first drive, I came away mostly impressed with the turbo-four as it moved the vehicle with subtle verve around town. This still held true during my time with the vehicle. But I did find the engine runs out of steam at higher speeds, making it somewhat difficult to pass quickly when traveling on the highway. Also, the engine does sound somewhat unrefined in hard acceleration. The CVT is similar; providing excellent performance around town, but noticeably struggles on the highway. 

    EPA fuel economy on the Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC is 25 City/26 Highway/25 Combined. My average for the five-day period I had the vehicle landed around 27.2 on a 70/30 mix of highway and city driving.

    Despite the Eclipse name on the vehicle, this is not a sporty crossover. There is pronounced body lean and the steering feels noticeably light. But for most buyers, this is not a big issue. They’re more concerned about how the Eclipse Cross rides and the news is better. The suspension does a great job of absorbing most bumps. Wind noise is kept to very acceptable levels, but there was a fair amount of road noise coming inside - especially when traveling on the highway. This makes long trips somewhat tiring.

    While many enthusiasts may bemoan the fact that Mitsubishi is using the Eclipse name on a crossover, I’ll be the first to admit this is their best vehicle in quite some time. The design and turbo engine help the model stand out in what is becoming a quite crowded class. Plus, the starting price of $23,295 for the base ES makes it quite tempting. Still, the Eclipse Cross does trail the pack in terms of comfort, cargo space, and performance at higher speeds. There is room for improvement, but Mitsubishi has most of the basics right on the money.

    Disclaimer: Mitsubishi Provided the Eclipse Cross, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2018
    Make: Mitsubishi
    Model: Eclipse Cross
    Trim: SEL S-AWC
    Engine: Turbocharged 1.5L Direct-Injected Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 152 @ 5,550
    Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 2,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/26/25
    Curb Weight: 3,516 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Okazaki, Japan
    Base Price: $27,895
    As Tested Price: $32,310 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Touring Package - $2,500.00
    Red Diamond Paint - $595.00
    Accessory Tonneau Cover - $190.00
    Accessory Carpeted Floormats and Portfolio - $135.00

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    20 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    How does the engine sound? I found it quite a drone when under heavier (but not full) acceleration, but it was otherwise tame for me. 

    One would think in today's technology, an OEM would know to not let an engine drone noise into the cab. Sad :( 

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    3 hours ago, dfelt said:

    One would think in today's technology, an OEM would know to not let an engine drone noise into the cab. Sad :( 

    This is Mitsubishi.  They did not spend the $$$$ necessary to disallow engine drone noise in the cabin.  If you want a quiet cabin, buy a Buick.  Otherwise, nice job Mitsubishi.

    • Haha 1
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    18 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    This is Mitsubishi.  They did not spend the $$$$ necessary to disallow engine drone noise in the cabin.  If you want a quiet cabin, buy a Buick.  Otherwise, nice job Mitsubishi.

    It really is helping Mitsubishi's sales. 

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    18 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    This is Mitsubishi.  They did not spend the $$$$ necessary to disallow engine drone noise in the cabin.  If you want a quiet cabin, buy a Buick.  Otherwise, nice job Mitsubishi.

    yup, my sister has an envision. well made trouble free after almost 3 yrs.

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    Helping sales or not, I’ve seen a few around town and cannot look around that hideous Asztek rear end. Just horrible. The presence of a CVT does not help its cause but I think all CVTs should be burned with dragon fire. 

    • Haha 2
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    I saw a new red one this evening at a local restaurant.  Hadn't seen one in the flesh in that color till now.  It was quite striking and actually made the vehicle look pretty good.

    I do think the small engine as the only choice was a mistake for Mitsubishi here.  

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      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
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