Road test: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The Eclipse Cross is a capable SUV, but doesn’t set new standards.
What is it?
The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a mid-sized SUV to rival the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca. It sits between the ASX and the Outlander in Mitsubishi’s range.
How green is it?
Well, there’s no hybrid version and surprisingly no diesel, at least for now. The 1.5-litre petrol achieves 42.8mpg on the combined cycle, which is reasonable for a petrol SUV.
Who should buy one?
If you want to avoid the usual SUV suspects, have a Mitsubishi dealer nearby, and are set on petrol power, the Eclipse Cross is a solid choice.
Road test by David Motton, June 2018
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
There’s just the one petrol engine in one state of tune (although a 2.2-litre diesel may join the range later in the year if demand is strong enough). The 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol has 161bhp and 184lb ft of torque. That’s a little more power but the same torque as the equivalent engine in the Seat Ateca other VW Group SUVs.
While the decision as to which engine to choose is made for you, there is a choice of transmissions. There are front-wheel-drive cars with a six-speed manual gearbox, and four-wheel-drive cars with either the manual or a CVT automatic.
Accelerate hard in a car with a CVT ‘box and there’s usually lots of engine noise as the engine revs hard and the transmission adjusts the gear ratio to build speed. It’s efficient, but not very easy on the ears. Mitsubishi gets around this by using eight-fixed ratios, effectively mimicking the behaviour of a regular automatic. It works well. Indeed, we preferred the auto to the manual box, with its slightly clunky shift action.
With either gearbox, the Eclipse Cross gets up to speed eagerly enough, and doesn’t sound strained unless it’s revved really hard.
The choice between front-wheel-drive and 4×4 versions will come down to budget, and the kind of use you’ll put the car to. Mitsubishi’s 4×4 system is certainly clever, varying the torque split between the front and rear wheels depending on the conditions and there are specific ‘Snow’ and ‘Gravel’ settings if the going gets really tough. On dry Tarmac, though, there’s little obvious difference in handling between the two versions. The 4×4 is worth the extra for rural drivers or anyone with a caravan or trailer to tow, but the two-wheel-drive car will be just fine for someone who mostly drives around town or on main roads.
Both the 2WD and 4WD models ride comfortably at high speeds, but can fuss and fidget over bumpy surfaces. With little road noise, the Eclipse Cross is well suited to motorway driving.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Mitsubishi cabins are usually solidly screwed together, but aren’t renowned for their design flair or upmarket feel. The Eclipse Cross shows a marked improvement, with an appealing look and soft-touch plastics on top of the dashboard.
The driving position is comfy, with sufficient adjustment for the seat and wheel to accommodate drivers of most shapes and sizes.
Those in the back have plenty of room, too, so long as the sliding rear bench is all the way back on its runners. However, headroom is tight in high-spec cars fitted with a panoramic sunroof, and we’d like to see air vents between the front seats or in the door pillars to keep those in the back at a comfortable temperature.
Boot space is on the tight side. There’s just 341 litres with the rear seats all the way back, and 448 litres with the seats forward. A weekly shop won’t be a problem but owners may need a roof box for a family holiday.
Mitsubishi is rightly proud of the car’s excellent five-star Euro NCAP rating, with a score of 97% for adult occupant protection. We’re particularly pleased that high-tech driver aids aren’t reserved for the most expensive models, with Forward Collision Mitigation (which slows the car if there’s a risk of a collision and the driver fails to react) standard fit across the range. A Lane Departure Warning system is also fitted to all models.
Entry-level ‘2’ spec includes a DAB radio, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, cruise control, a reversing camera and 16-inch alloy wheels. Step up to ‘3’ for 18-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and more. Choose the ‘4’ model for a premium nine-speaker stereo, a panoramic sunroof, leather seat trim and more. However, no car comes with sat-nav – you have to use a connected smartphone for guidance.
The Eclipse Cross is keenly priced and good value, priced from £21,290. It would score more highly if a fuel-efficient diesel version were available. As it is, fuel economy ranges from 42.8mpg on the combined cycle for the 2WD manual to 40.4mpg for the 4WD CVT auto. Service intervals are 12,500 miles of 12 months (whichever comes first) and the car comes with a five-year/62,500-mile warranty – longer than most rivals’.
WE SAY The Eclipse Cross is a capable SUV, but doesn’t set new standards.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62 in 9.8 secs
Figures for the 1.5 ‘3’ 4WD CVT Auto