Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
A quick look back at images from recent Geneva motor shows and you won’t be surprised by the look of the brand new Eclipse Cross from Mitsubishi. Car companies don’t approve design concepts willy-nilly, make them only for them to be discarded. They may not make the exact car but a lot of the design on show is an early warning of what’s to come. With the Eclipse Cross that concept styling has more than usually been used. And having said that, in the Eclipse Cross I see a lot of design cues that could be from a few contemporary cars on sale. I suppose it depends on who got their car into production from concept first. I see a bit of Lexus at the front, some Karoq/Ateca from the side and a bit of Volvo / Juke / 3008 at the back. I also see a very pretty car and one that will attract buyers. In the very crowded compact SUV sector it’s hard to secure buyers and equally hard to produce a different, winning design. Rivals include the all-conquering Tuscon, the Qashqai, the Sportage, Ateca, XC40, Karoq and the award winning 3008 so as you can see competition is tough, very tough.
The Eclipse Cross fits into the quite small range of Mitsubishi cars on sale in Ireland sitting between the ASX and the Outlander. Both are crossover/SUV type vehicles although these older cars look a bit out of fashion with the arrival of the new Eclipse Cross with its new corporate design theme. It is also probably the last full-on Mitsubishi to be made now that it is part of the Renault/Nissan group and you can expect a bit more sharing of everything across the three brands.
Features on my top of the range model included keyless entry, heated front seats with the drivers being electrically adjustable, rain sensing wipers, electric handbrake, rear privacy glass, split panoramic glass roof, automatic dipping headlights and a handy heads up driver’s display. It’s certainly loaded and for the money quite good value. I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t an all out assault on the driver to remove choice when driving. It’s as if anything we used to have to decide for ourselves is progressively being taking away from us and shall – I’m not convinced will – probably lead to the driver doing nothing except perhaps instructing the satnav, by voice of course, where to go.
Safety features include forward collision mitigation system to automatically apply the brakes if you are not quick enough to do so yourself, lane departure warning and blindspot warning. I also had adaptive cruise control – the only way to do it now in my book. A multi-camera all-around monitor gives that birds eye view of the car that never ceases to amaze me and really helps when parking or maneuvering.
Space is excellent for driver, passengers and luggage and the between 411 to 485 litres of boot space is easy to access and use. There is even an under floor storage space for the parcel shelf cover if you have to transport something tall that won’t fit under the parcel shelf. I mention this because most car companies don’t think of this with a lot of their cars. And well done guys on providing a glove box of a size that will take more than just a pair of gloves. The rear seats allow passengers move backwards and forwards (this is why there is a range of dimensions for the boot) and you can adjust the back of the seat angle to suit your preference. Mitsubishis tend to have hardwearing and functional interiors with quite a lot of plastics of the hardy variety. Not so here and this is a welcome departure. Interiors in general are where, I feel, the battle for buyers is being fought these days and if it is not a welcoming and hospital place buyers quickly move on. I’d go so far as to say that the “looks are the hook” but the (interior is sealer”. And, if my family is any barometer of how quick a buyer makes up their minds once inside, it’s pretty instant and brutal.
The rear window has a sort of Honda Civic thing going on with a bar across the back splitting the rear view that has the remarkable, some say divisive, ability to stop following cars blinding you in the dark. Location of the window controls forward of the door handle is awkward and an experiment that doesn’t work. The trip computer buttons below the driver’s dials are not the easiest to access either, albeit they are replicated on the infotainment display and can be navigated by using the touchpad located between front passengers. There is a button on the steering wheel that shows you where the passenger side front wheel is that helps to avoid curb rash and on a car that’s not your own is a very welcome feature and a first – the button on the steering wheel that is – for me. There is a blank circular space that is used for 4wd selection if fitted that would be better used for the stop/start engine button. That infotainment system is quite comprehensive with Apple/Android car play and in my test model pumped out the radio/media sound via a Rockford Fosgate sound system. It’s a new name to me but the quality it produces is excellent.
Buyers will be asked for €27,900 for the entry Invite or €34,900 for the top of the range Instyle model and an automatic CVT model will set you back an additional €2,500 in either Intense or Instyle trim. Bear in mind that if you want 4wd you can secure a Tuscon for less than the top of the range 2wd version and that would also be a diesel the fuel of preference for 4wd still. All models have a 1.5l Turbo charged petrol engine that produces 163 PS of power and all currently 2wd. That’s a lot of power and makes the Eclipse Cross feel quite sporty when pressed hard. Most manufacturers fuel economy figures are very hard to achieve in real world driving so I am glad to report I returned 8.4l/100Kms as opposed to the quoted 8.0l/100kms. For a car of its size and the amount of power available in the engine my return was impressive. Getting down to 6.0l/100kms for the Urban cycle would be difficult unless you select Eco mode that I found drained the car of any responsiveness at the expense of better fuel economy. I chose to leave it off and it made the car a lot more enjoyable. Performance from the petrol engine is brisk enough and it’s reassuring to know that there is always a bit of power available if needed. I had paddle shifters as well but I confess I didn’t use them.
The ride is comfortable leaning towards soft. It has a very easy to drive demeanor and really suits me at my stage of life. I’d find it hard to quibble about this car if I was using it everyday. The automatic 8 speed, CVT gearbox made it even easier to drive and delivered the quite ample power very smoothly. My wife and I went cycling in the Eclipse Cross and the ease with which it took the two bikes and our kit once the rear seats were folded was effortless. Who needs a carrier? It is a quiet car and has a desirable ability to make our poorly repaired roads feel that they are not that bad at all. Might be cheaper for our roads authority (ahem) to give us all an Eclipse Cross to make all our trips comfortable.
The Eclipse Cross is where Mitsubishi should have been a few years ago for a car company with such a rich engineering pedigree. It will reawaken the Irish customer to this quality brand and should deliver more than the 661 buyers from last year. The signs are already there with sales up on this time last year helped in no small part by attractive 3.9% APR for a PCP deal.