Mitsubishi's eye-catching Eclipse Cross isn't obscured
Everyone's doing compact SUVs these days and now Mitsubishi has launched the Eclipse Cross to sit between its existing ASX and Outlander, says Tom Wiltshire.
Mitsubishi is, first and foremost, a four-wheel-drive brand, with the ASX, Outlander, Shogun and, soon, Shogun Sport SUVs and L200 pick-up. But it has carved out some more space for yet another off-roader – the Eclipse Cross.
Mixing bold styling, a practical interior and value, it’s sized to compete with the best-selling family SUVs.
Sitting on the same platform as the Outlander, but sharing very few components, it debuts the brand’s latest design, with a bold face, chiselled flanks and interesting tiered rear, and an all-new engine and gearbox combo.
Under the bonnet
The 163PS 1.5-litre turbo petrol – with six-speed manual or CVT automatic – transmission has lots of low-down grunt. The CVT, offered with front and four-wheel drive, improves performance while the manual gearbox allows you to surf the low-end torque for smoother progress.
How it drives
The Eclipse Cross was designed as a dynamic drive and it’s certainly more exciting to hustle down a back road in than any of Mitsubishi’s current models.
You sit higher than in many rivals, giving a commanding view of the road ahead. The view behind isn’t as clear with the split tailgate glass, for a coupe-like roofline without sacrificing cargo space, but the top-hinged rear wiper doesn’t clean the lower section which gets filthy, reducing visibility.
Looks and image
The split rear window is the most striking element, and gives a bold tail-light graphic at night too. The rest of the car is less divisive, with chiselled flanks sitting above the black plastic wheel arch cladding so beloved by crossover designers.
The latest Mitsubishi family face looks modern and rugged and suits the car well.
Space and comfort
Mitsubishi says this is its best interior yet with a stacked layout and soft-touch plastics atop the dash but materials are cheaper lower down.
There’s good legroom for rear passengers, and the bench seat slides and reclines to balance people with luggage. The useful boot ranges from 341 to 448 litres. Only slightly tight headroom spoils the rear half of the cabin.
Entry ‘2’ cars have an infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, cruise and climate control and rear-view camera. Mid-range ‘3’ trim adds 18in alloy wheels, head-up display, heated front seats and keyless go, while ‘4’ models gain leather seats, panoramic roof, LED headlamps and a suite of safety kit, including all-round cameras, adaptive cruise control and lane-change assist.
It’s hard to argue with the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross’s generous equipment, powerful engine and value pricing. In the flesh it looks striking and is even quite spacious.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross First Edition 4WD Auto £29,765 (range from £21,290)
Engine: 1,499cc, 163PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol
Performance: 0-62mph 9.8 seconds; top speed 124mph
MPG: 40.4 combined
CO2 emissions: 159g/km