It’s an interesting looking car, isn’t it? Whether you think that’s a good ‘interesting’ or a bad ‘interesting’ is up to you. Either way, what you are looking at is the latest SUV from Mitsubishi, the Eclipse Cross. It’s name is inspired by the Eclipse sports car from yesteryear, and the Cross is because, well it’s a crossover.
So the car market has yet another crossover/SUV on its hands, but is Mitsubishi’s latest offering able to eclipse its competition? Well for starters, Mitsubishi has tried to make the Eclipse Cross stand out with a coupe design, and whilst I’d argue it’s a bold look, I wouldn’t say it’s as well-executed as a Toyota C-HR. For what it’s worth, I don’t think the Eclipse Cross looks too bad, although the Diamond Red is far more flattering than the optional New Bronze paint applied to this model.
The inside isn’t quite as interesting though. Sure, you have silver metal-effect details that run along the dash before down the centre console, but the inside is rather sober. There are soft touch materials used, but they feel disappointingly coarse. On the flip side, the materials do feel durable, so it’s not all bad. Mind you, the handbrake feels cheap and sounds equally as cheap, so it’s safe to say the interior isn’t on par with rivals such as the SEAT Ateca or the Peugeot 3008.
So the design falls a bit flat, but is it as least practical?
It is, but it depends on what setup you go for. Confused? Let me explain. The rear seats slide backwards and forwards, which is great, but it does present you with a bit of a catch 22. With the rear sears slid back, you’ll find a generous amount of legroom. Headroom is initially tight for a taller person like me (6’2″), but the rear seats also recline, which is a big help.
This is all good and well, but it means boot space has to suffer. If you fully commit to rear passenger space, you’ll find that the Eclipse Cross offers just 341 litres of space. That’s less than a Volkswagen Golf, which is disappointing for a car of this size. However, if you slide the rear seats forward, you’ll enjoy a more reasonable 448 litres. This still isn’t huge of course, but it is more agreeable. Fold down the rear seats altogether and you’ll be able to enjoy up to 1,122 litres.
Space may not seem the best, but to help balance things up, I can tell you that there is a good amount of space in the front and there is a decent amount of cubbyholes. This is the range-topping model, meaning you’ll get electronically adjustable driver’s seat, which is very comfy, but I will admit my driving position isn’t perfect. My seat be set to its lowest and the steering wheel set to its highest, I still find the steering wheel a little bit too low for me.
Storage areas are good though; the doorbins are of a good size, there’s also a central compartment which also offers a good amount of space and the glovebox is also of an agreeable size. My only gripe, which may seem picky, is that my smartphone doesn’t fit properly in the slot underneath the centre console.
So, it’s far it’s a bit of a mixed bag – how does it drive though?
Now before I set off, I’m afraid I’ve got another small moan. The biting point for the clutch is high and the biting point offers very little feedback. Couple that with a throttle that doesn’t respond on your initial prod and you’ll either find yourself stalling, or feeding more revs than a learner in their first level in order to get moving. To put it simply, moving off takes a bit of finesse.
Choosing an engine for the Eclipse Cross will be a doddle, as there is just one you can have. It’s a 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol, which is kicking out 163hp with 250Nm of torque. This engine can either be mated to a 6-speed manual and two wheel drive, or a CVT gearbox, which can either be used with two wheel drive or all wheel drive.
There will be another engine coming soon, which will be a 2.2 litre turbocharged diesel, which will offer an 8-speed automatic and all wheel drive. That’s not arrived yet though, so let’s get back to the 1.5 litre petrol. It’s more peppy than I was expecting, and it’s definitely one of the car’s strongest points. It offers a nice band of power between 2,000 and 5,000rpm, although the engine does get a bit shouty as you approach the redline. You’ll hit 62mph in a respectable 9.7 seconds and continue to a top speed of 127mph.
The manual gearbox in which it’s mated to is alright; the changes are a tad shorter than I was expecting, but it’s quite notchy and it could do with more precision. You can of course have the CVT, but it’s reported to be noisy, and not overly fantastic, so you’ll probably be better off with the manual. That’s unless you really need to have all wheel drive, of course.
Let’s talk about the ride – it’s bumpy. It’s quite a firm setup, which will like to jiggle to about when you driving around town or on broken surfaces – particularly at lower speeds. I wouldn’t go so far to call it uncomfortable, especially as the chunky leather seats help to take the sting out of things. However, it may be enough to put some of you off from buying this car, although I will add that the ride becomes better when you’re up to speed, particularly on main roads.
Is it good in the corners?
The Eclipse Cross is pretty dynamic in the bends, and it offers less body roll then you expect. The steering offers a decent enough weight, although it could with more feedback, but that’s not exactly an uncommon complaint in this sector of the market. Whilst the level of grip is predictable, it hasn’t got stacks of it. On the whole though, the Eclipse Cross puts in a decent enough show when it comes to handling.
What’s it like to live with?
Refinement is a mixed bag though. The engine is barely audible, and it sends little vibrations in to the cabin, but the road noise from these 18″ alloys is most definitely audible, and due to the dimensions of this car, there’s some wind noise as well. Also, the retractable luggage cover makes a squeaky rattle as you drive along, which is quite annoying. In case you’re wondering, it makes the noise whether it’s retracted or detracted.
Visibility is also a mixed bag. Seeing out the front is fine, and the wing mirrors are of a good size, but thanks to rear design of this car, you’ve got a noticeable line blocking your vision. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not enough to be called dangerous, but it is irritating. You wouldn’t go to a cinema and watch a film on a screen that’s got a line running across it, would you? Mitsubishi seems to think you would. Ok, that’s an extreme example, but you get my point; it’s a weakness that could have been avoided.
So, the driving experience is a bit hit and miss, what kit does it have?
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is available in three generously equipped trim levels, 2, 3 and 4 – I’m not sure what happened to 1 either. 2 starts from £21,090, and is able to offer goodies such as AEB, rear view camera, 7 inch touchscreen, DAB Radio, smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, 16″ alloy wheels, climate control, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and privacy glass. You also get a trackpad to support the function of the touchscreen, which is alright to use but you’ll find that’s it’s more efficient just to lean forward and prod at the touchscreen.
3 starts from £22,810, adding features such 18-inch alloy wheels, a head-up display, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and keyless start, electrically folding door mirrors, silver side sills and an electronic handbrake on automatic versions.
The model tested here, however, is the 4 model, which starts from £25,240, and is able to offer leather trim, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, electric opening panoramic roof, Rockford Fosgate Premium sound system with nine speakers and a suite of advanced driver assistance systems including LED headlamps, 360˚parking camera, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist and adaptive cruise control (automatic only).
Sat nav isn’t available on any models though, which seems like a huge omission, but Mitsubishi states that buyers can get around this by using their smartphone. I can see the logic in that, but what if it’s an older customer that doesn’t own or use a smartphone?
Thankfully, safety has not been compromised
Mitsubishi may have scrimped on sat nav, but the same cannot be said for safety features as this is where the Eclipse Cross excels. Thanks to a raft of standard safety kit, the Eclipse Cross was able to secure five stars from Euro NCAP, with adult occupancy scored at a very impressive 97%. Child occupant safety isn’t quite as impressive, but it’s still a solid 78% whilst pedestrian safety was scored at 80% and safety assist was scored at 71%.
So it’s pretty much safe as houses, but what about running costs?
If you’re looking for a frugal car, you may want to look elsewhere. This model, with its bigger alloys is able to offer 40.4mpg and in my experience, I’ve come pretty close to hitting that. However, its rivals will offer better economy and they’ll emit less CO2. You see, this engine isn’t overly green – it emits 159g/km. This means for the first year of VED you’ll be required to pay £515.
I’m afraid things are worse if you got for the CVT gearbox. This is because fuel economy drops to 36.7mpg on a combined run, and it puffs out 175g/km, meaning the VED first year cost rises to £830. Crikey.
From a brand that has built a strong reputation on building solid, dependable SUVs, the Eclipse Cross is a bit of a disappointment. It’s got a peppy engine, a good amount of kit and a high level of safety. However, practicality could be better, it won’t be the cheapest car in its class to run, and even once the diesel engine arrives, the engine choice will limited. The four wheel drive may make a better case for itself, but I doubt this two wheel drive model will do much to attract buyers from other brands. Eclipsing the competition? Hmm, I’d say it’s a bit more like left in the dark.
Car Obsession Rating: (3 / 5)
- Peppy engine
- Good level of equipment
- Great safety equipment
- Decent storage areas
- Competent handling
- Very limited engine choice
- Not as practical as rivals
- Looks are likely to be divisive
- Refinement levels could be better
- More expensive to buy than its rivals
- Bumpy low speed ride
- Lack of sat nav
As I’m sure you know, the Qashqai is the daddy when it comes to the SUV world, even though it doesn’t offer the biggest boot and it’s not quite as comfortable as some of its rivals. Still, it’s a good looking car that offers a decent amount of kit and safety, leading it be a very popular buy with families.
The Ateca may be SEAT’s first ever SUV, but it’s been a big hit for the Spanish brand and for good reason. It’s a very handsome car that offers an accomplished drive, a well built interior and good amount of kit. It also offers a strong choice of engines as well, which the Eclipse Cross simply cannot match.
Where the Eclipse Cross struggles with its interior design, the 3008 has no such problem. In fact, it feels years ahead of the Mitsubishi, making it a nicer place to be. It’s not as dynamic to drive though, but it is noticeably more comfortable. It’s more practical as well, plus I’d argue it’s better looking, although that is subjective of course.