The latest model from Mitsubishi combines some interesting styling, the latest technology and sporty driving.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
The last time you heard the name Eclipse was when Mitsubishi still made their sports coupe. It also shared the model with the late Eagle Talon and for a while, was a pretty sharp-edged performer. The later renditions of the Eclipse got a bit bloated and less exciting, but nevertheless – it was a sports coupe. This is not that car. Mitsubishi obviously decided to recycle the name for recognition’s sake, although they have received quite a bit of flak from enthusiasts who regard the Eclipse name a bit of a sacred thing. Oh well, they’ll get over it. Let’s have a look at the newest Eclipse – the Eclipse Cross.
Mitsubishi tells us that the Eclipse Cross sports “coupe-like styling”. They claim the inspiration is a crouched-down ready-to-race sprinter, and the exterior is pretty distinguishable from its competitors. The wedge profile with a distinctive sloping beltline, the angular and vertical tail end, the short rear overhang all make for something taller-looking and a bit hunchback-ish and quite different. Whether you like it or not, it’s refreshing that Mitsubishi didn’t just try to fit in.
I reviewed the top GT trim although it’s important to note that all trims come very well equipped and none of them looks lesser than the others. You’ll find Mitsu’s “Dynamic Shield” grille, partially chromed, partially blacked out. You get LED headlights, daytime running lights and combination tail lights which are high-mounted and stretched out.
And a nice set of 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/55-sized tires all around fill out the aggressive wheel arches.
When you step into the Eclipse Cross, you immediately notice a new design direction for the interior – and that’s a good thing. Other Mitsubishis feel pretty dated inside these days. Fit and finish seems quite good, as well as refinement in the materials department – I’d say they are nice for this class. Most things your hands will touch are soft-touch and there are nice details like contrasting stitching. Unfortunately whatever Mitsubishi uses for the glossy black trim bits is very susceptible to scratching.
I enjoyed the heated leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as the heated leather seats. The driver’s side is power-adjustable and both are very well bolstered and quite comfortable. It’s a tall driving position which affords an excellent view of the road ahead.
Front and centre is a 7-inch touchscreen which can also be managed using the touch-pad controller. While I am guessing there is an ergonomic reason the touchpad is sitting in its own frame on the console, it really looks like an afterthought that was tacked on. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work very well with this system. The 710-watt 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system sounds great and a dual-zone automatic climate control handles temperatures.
The GT trim comes loaded with driver assistance technology – you get a multi-view camera, lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and a heads-up display.
I found the rear seating to be reasonably comfortable. Space-wise, it feels about middle of the pack for compact crossovers. At 5’10”, I had less than an inch of headroom but certainly enough leg room. Rear passengers sit way higher than the front seats which means they get a good view out of the Eclipse Cross. As one would expect in this class, the middle position is very narrow for a third adult passenger and straddles a floor tunnel as well.
The two outboard seats are heated, and the rear seats recline and slide fore and aft. There’s a 12V charging plug.
The dual-pane panoramic sunroof is fantastic and really lets a lot of light into the back seating area, which brightens things up nicely. It has dual powered sunshades too, if things get too bright. Not only that but rear passengers get their own button to control the rear sunshade independently.
There’s a rubberized tray under the “chin” on the centre stack – it sort of fits a smartphone and you’ll find a 12V and two USB plugs here. Under the armrest lid is a carpeted bin with a sliding organizer tray.
The trunk (at a decent 626L size) offers a nice high load floor. Drop the rear seats (in a 60/40 split) and cargo space grows to 1382L. There’s a retractable and removable tonneau cover for visual security as well.
Under the Hood
The Eclipse Cross only offers one engine – it’s a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder putting out 152HP at 5, 500 RPM and 184 lb.ft of torque at 2,000 RPM. It is coupled with a CVT and all-wheel drive.
Fuel economy is decent but not great – Mitsubishi rates it at 9.6/8.9 L/100 km (city/hwy) and we averaged around 9.8 L/100 km.
The little engine is a compelling power plant, providing enough jam for daily driving and enough efficiency to satisfy most drivers. It’s not a fast vehicle, by any stretch, but it does love to rev and probably feels faster than it is. The transmission simulates 8 gears, and can be shifted manually through those pre-programmed ratios using the paddle shifters or the gear selector – it is extremely quick to respond. If you’re into maximizing your fuel economy, there is an eco mode as well.
The ride is smooth and soaks up most of the hits pretty well. Mitsubishi sells this as a sporty crossover, and it does handle well – although it feels tall and exhibits some body roll.
The Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system is excellent. It lets you choose between drive modes. Auto focuses on front-wheel drive, kicking power to the rear wheels when needed. I was surprised at how bad Auto mode was in the snow. I’ll lay part of the blame on the terrible all-season tires that were on the review vehicle. As with any ride, I always recommend bumping up to winter rubber, or at least all-weather tires. But the Eclipse Cross quickly redeemed itself in the …. you guessed it… Snow mode. Here it essentially sticks with all-wheel drive and it is very good in the snow, which we got a ton of during our time in the Eclipse Cross. And there’s also a Gravel mode, which I never used and I’m assuming nobody else ever will either.
Visibility out of the Eclipse Cross is good except for the rear view which is impacted by the rear headrests (when in use) and the weird bisected rear view that I never quite got used to. I get that the vertical pane of glass is part of the styling, but I don’t like it for a couple of reasons. The aforementioned rear view being one, and the fact that it instantly gets dirty with road spray being the other – and there’s no way to clean it other than doing so manually at the car wash or gas station. Ironically the rear wiper is on the angled glass, which never got nearly as dirty.
Mitsubishi’s warranty sets them apart from the competition and remains one of the best in the industry. The basic comprehensive warranty is for 5 years or 100,000 kms – roadside assistance is also covered for 5 years but unlimited kilometres. The powertrain warranty is significant – coverage is for 10 years or up to 160,000 kms. That’s a lot of peace of mind.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was middling. She wasn’t too fond of the styling but found it remarkably fun and easy to drive.
Mitsubishi has come up with an interesting alternative in this category. I like that they weren’t shy about the styling. The powertrain is sporty enough and the Eclipse Cross was fun to drive. It offers enough efficiency and utility to be practical as well. All in all, it’s a package worth looking into if you’re shopping for a small crossover.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Canada.
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Pricing: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Base price (GT trim): $35,998
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $37,548