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