The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a five-door compact SUV that is available in two or four-wheel drive. It boasts a bold exterior design and offers excellent levels of comfort. It is generously equipped and buyers can choice from a number of trim levels. At launch it is available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to either a manual or CVT gearbox.
The goodStyling, practicality, performance and economy
The badNo sat nav available
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – first drive (2018)
With manufacturers churning out new cars at a breakneck speed it seems to have been an absolute age since Mitsubishi introduced anything fresh. But that has all changed with the arrival of an all-new compact SUV Eclipse Cross model which fits snugly between the ASX and Outlander in the company’s line-up.
It boasts bold muscular design cues and an athletic stance meaning the five-door Eclipse Cross looks fabulously modern from any angle and with a pricing strategy that starts from just £21,275 it aims to draw buyers away from the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, SEAT Ateca and Kia Sportage.
At the moment the car is only available with a newly developed 1.5-litre 163hp petrol engine, but there are already plans to introduce a hybrid version later on and the company has not ruled out following up with a diesel powertrain.
Customers can however choose between manual or automatic transmissions and there is the further option of two or four-wheel drive. Trim levels called Eclipse Cross 2, 3 and 4 are all generously equipped and there is a First Edition model that is limited to just 250 cars.
When competing is such a popular segment a car has to have stand-out qualities and the Eclipse Cross is an instant attention grabber thanks to its distinctive SUV-coupe styling with strong flowing lines, a tapered roofline, muscular flared wheel arches, a panoramic sunroof, short overhangs, privacy glass, sweeping light clusters with LED lights, sculpted bonnet and a split-tailgate.
Move inside the spacious cabin and there is an upmarket, modern and clutter-free feel to the car with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. A horizontal bar rather cleverly splits the dashboard into two with everything above it responsible for infotainment functions and everything below it contributing to operational settings. Mitsubishi claims it is the company’s best interior design to date with high quality materials, piano black and satin accents, soft touch surfaces, along with classy upholstery.
Creature comforts are plentiful and, depending on trim level, include the likes of smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, up-to-date mapping services with live traffic reports, a seven-inch colour touchscreen, head up display, a premium Rockford nine speaker sound system, dual zone climate control, rearview camera, parking sensors, touchpad controller and plenty more besides.
However rather disappointingly, even the higher specced models don’t have a sat nav built in, but instead rely on a smartphone being connected.
That aside though, the interior is very roomy with ample space in the back for a couple of six footers to sit comfortably with the front seats pushed back. Another plus point is the amount of adjustment available on the rear seats which can be moved forwards or backwards up to 20cms and have eight levels of recline. That is impressive in a family car that may be transporting children in the back one day and adults the next.
The boot is also generously sized and its Japanese designers proudly boast it can hold three or four golf club bags with the rear seats in an upright position depending on seat adjustment. The 60:40 split-folding rear seats would free up even more space and elsewhere throughout the car there are numerous convenient storage options, including a glovebox with partition shelf, door bins, cup holders and a deep central box.
We tested out the range-topping First Edition model which is based on the Eclipse Cross 4 but is finished in a stunning premium red diamond colour and features some specific design traits to help it stand out in the line-up. These cosmetic touches include a red styling line along the sides of the car, silver flashes on the front and rear, First Edition badging and branded mats.
The first test car, priced at £26,825, featured the six-speed manual gearbox and had 2WD. It has the same engineering and performance capabilities as the Eclipse Cross 4 so can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.3 seconds, tops out at 127mph and has combined fuel economy of 42.8mpg with carbon emissions of 151g/km.
Comfort levels within the car are excellent and there is ample seat and steering wheel adjustment to find the perfect driving position. All the controls are ideally situated for ease of use and there is a rather clever touchpad which is used to access many features – it takes a few minutes to get used to but once mastered, it is less of a distraction than buttons and switches.
In busy town centres and villages, the Eclipse Cross was agile and easy to manoeuvre and the driver’s all-round visibility is good which is vital with cars and pedestrians darting out from all angles. Then out on the faster roads and country lanes the acceleration through the gears proved silky smooth and responsive.
Mitsubishi has introduced a rigid chassis to the vehicle and that assists with its ride and handling resulting in excellent road-holding even when driven enthusiastically into bends. It delivers a sporty, engaging drive with plenty of driver feedback and the 1.5-litre engine offers all the firepower needed for everyday motoring.
We also tested the Eclipse Cross First Edition 4WD model with eight-speed automatic gearbox costing £29,750. This car can complete the 0-62mph dash in 9.8 seconds, maxes out at 124mph and, according to official figures, can achieve combined fuel efficiency of 40.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 159g/km.
Once again this version of the Eclipse Cross was an absolute delight to drive and despite being fitted with a CVT gearbox, there was no evidence of any screaming or screeching under heavy acceleration. The Steplogic gearbox feels like a normal automatic unit and there is a sport mode that can be accessed via steering wheel paddle shifters. The car also featured an on demand all-wheel-drive system with auto, snow and gravel settings.
Mitsubishi has also given careful consideration to refinement and the likes of the soundproof windscreen along with noise-damping rear suspension help to insulate the cabin against any road surface or engine noise.
In addition, the Eclipse Cross is kitted out with a raft of safety features that have helped it achieve the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP tests. These include forward collision mitigation system, automatic lights and high beam, lane departure warning system, rain-sensing wipers and seven airbags.
Other safety features available on the range-toppers are adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera and rear cross traffic alert, plus blind spot warning with lane change assist.
All in all, the Eclipse Cross is a beautifully designed, well-equipped new arrival into the bursting compact SUV sector. It is easy to drive and offers good all-round economy along the way.
Mitsubishi has set a target of 6,500 sales this year, but not surprisingly believes the real figure could be more.