Mitsubishi would quite like it if you thought of them as Japanís answer to Land Rover with a range of cars that are mainly SUVs. They are looking to make strides in the small SUV market with the Eclipse Cross.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV is undoubtedly a very bold looking car. The Eclipse part comes from a small Mitsubishi sports car that was never on sale here in the UK while the Cross refers to the carís crossover aspirations. This car is based on the same platform as the Outlander and sits between this car and the ASX. The Eclipse rivals the SEAT Ateca, Peugeot 3008 and Toyota CHR.
The bold design continues when you sit inside this car. Bold is a relative term and although itís still quite out there for a Mitsubishi itís not quite as whacky as the Peugeot 3008. However, theyíve definitely tried to do something a little bit different and there are some nice things dotted around like the touch-pad in the central console which controls the infotainment system. Unfortunately, the quality in the cabin just doesnít match up to that of the Peugeot 3008. Instead what you get is a lot of hard plastics on display and the whole look and feel just isnít coherent. So, you just get a modern looking touch-pad and infotainment screen but you then get heated seat controls that look like theyíve come out of a Mitsubishi Shogun from 50 years ago! However, one thing you wonít be complaining about is the storage space. This is because thereís absolutely loads of it. You get a good sized glove box, really large cup holders, a hand tray, large door bins and also a very large central console compartment. One thing we do need to point out is that no Eclipse Cross comes with satellite navigation which seems a quite an alarming admission these days. What Mitsubishi say about this is that most people use the maps on their phones and so this is why this car comes with Apple Car play and Android Auto fitted as standard across the range. The more you think about it Ė they probably do have a point.
At the back things are slightly more compact than some of its rivals. However, you can fit three adults in here quite comfortably. Due to the fact that thereís no huge transmission tunnel running along the middle those sitting in the middle seat get decent leg room too. One thing that isnít great though is head room. Average sized adults will find it pretty tight while if youíve got a 6-footer in the back then theyíre going to have to slouch down a little bit. You do get a couple of IsoFix child-seat points and the rears seats will slide back and forward so that you can prioritise cabin space or room in the boot.
With the seats pushed back to give maximum legroom youíll find that the boot room is only average. The Peugeot 3008ís boot is certainly bigger. Even when the seats are forward it still isnít that great either. However, the boot has a nice wide opening and low load lip. When you fold the seats down they do fold down completely flat which means you can slide your goods all the way to the back with ease.
There are three versions of the Eclipse Cross on offer. They are called, rather helpfully, the 2, the 3 and the 4 with a First Edition at launch. 2 gets the Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity, 16 inch alloys, climate control, forward collision alert system, automatic high beam, cruise control and lane departure warning. The 3 is certainly the pick with its head-up display, 18 inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, heated seats, reversing camera and keyless entry. The 4 throws in a panoramic sunroof, a 360 degree camera and an upgraded stereo system. The First Edition gets extra badges, body trim and unique red paintwork.
Thereís just a 1.5 litre petrol engine with 161 brake horse power (bhp) available as time of writing with a 2.2 diesel likely to arrive later. The transmission options are rather varied. In 2 spec you can have front wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox only while the 3 comes with manual and four-wheel drive or a CVT automatic gearbox with front and four-wheel drive. Meanwhile, the 4 gets the same transmissions with the exception of the front wheel drive auto and the First Edition front drive and a manual gearbox or four-wheel drive with a CVT auto.
What weíre reviewing is the four-wheel drive automatic and all in all itís pretty decent. The engineís punch kicks in lower down then range and youíll make perfectly smooth and quite rapid progress. Rev the engine out though and its four cylinder motors hum switches from being characterful to something approaching rather thrashy. As for the CVT itís really not the best. What Mitsubishi have done is try to simulate the normal automatic with fake gear changes but the reality is that it just holds on to the revs too long. What this does is make the experience not that enjoyable. What we would recommend to any potential buyers is to stick to the manual unless you think that having an automatic gearbox is totally necessary.
Unlike the Peugeot 3008 and some other small SUVs the Eclipse Cross comes with four-wheel drive although itís called Super All Wheel Control. The system controls torque to each wheel and provides power where itís needed most. A selectable driving mode can change how the car responds and there are Auto, Snow and Gravel modes which all work well.
The ride in this car is pretty firm but it doesnít feel uncomfortable. However, the steering does feel quite lifeless although this does seem to be quite the norm in the small SUV class. This car certainly corners well and thereís not the amount of body-roll you might expect.
The biggest issue with the Eclipse Cross is the 1.5 litre petrol engine. While itís smooth itís certainly not cheap to run. The most frugal is the front-wheel drive manual which Mitsubishi claims will do 42.8 miles to the gallon (mpg). This isnít all that great when you consider that the Toyota CHR 1.2 achieves 49.7 mpg and the 1.0 petrol SEAT Ateca gives you 54.3 mpg. Despite all of this the Eclipse Cross is a very likeable SUV and does a good job of trying to stand out in a crowded market. However, its sole petrol engine option is limiting and needs the diesel to appeal to more people. However, with Mitsubishiís reputation for strong reliability and the fact that this car is a proper four-wheel drive small SUV buying a new or used Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross car for sale is a worthy consideration.