What is it?
Quoting from their press release, the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is the first of a new generation of Mitsubishi cars that are more capable and desirable thanks to their sharp designs; engaging driving characteristics; advanced technologies, enhanced safety features and more inviting interiors.
It certainly has an edgy design that enables it to stand out, but how does it perform?
On the road
The majority of miles we did in the Eclipse Cross were on motorways, around 900 or so I reckon. Along with 2 trips to the NEC in Birmingham from Lancashire, there was a trip to Stamford for the Burghley Horse Trials and a trip down to Silverstone and back, and it proved to be a rather nice cruiser. Road noise wasn’t intrusive, neither was it pitchy.
As I’ll get to later, currently the Eclipse is only available with the 163bhp 1.5ltr petrol engine which has enough get up and go to be entertaining. The CVT gearbox, although fabulously smooth at any other time, on twisty county lanes is not so much. Having said that, in my experience, that is CVTs in general, but that’s why we have flappy paddles!
Using the aforementioned to hold onto the correct gear and choosing the right lines, the Eclipse Cross will give you huge smiles all-round, and the AWD system offers extra confidence too.
When you’re feeling sensible, or running low on dino-juice, press the ‘Eco’ button and it really slows things down, it’s like driving with a small ball stuffed under the accelerator, but it certainly does the trick.
Overall, the Eclipse Cross was quiet, comfy and a pleasant place to be for hours on end, especially on the M6 on a Friday afternoon…
Due to Mitsubishi’s insurance, and the fact they don’t promote its 4x4 abilities, I wasn’t allowed to get its tyres dirty, which of course meant no green-lanes. Yes, yes, I know, green-lanes are legal byways just like the M6 (only smoother and less congested), but rules are rules and I wasn’t going to argue.
If perchance you do want the AWD Eclipse Cross for winter journeys or muddy fields, then you can have peace of mind knowing that it features Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) which has three drive modes: Auto, Snow and Gravel.
The system is normally front-wheel drive biased (80:20 front-to-rear), but it can shift torque to the rear wheels if needed – to a maximum of 55:45 front-to-rear in Auto mode, or to a full rear-wheel drive bias in Snow or Gravel drive modes.
Approach and departure angles as well as ground clearance are decent for its segment, but you’ll still need to be aware if you’re driving along deep ruts.
If you really must see the Eclipse Cross off the beaten track, here are couple of pics taken at Burghley House…
As I mentioned earlier, I spent quite a bit of time in the Eclipse Cross, and there wasn’t much I found to fault. The only problem was that the centre console, where my left knee rests, is hard plastic and got quite painful after a while. However, Muddy Madam told me not to mention this as I’m told, ‘it’s my fault for man-splaying’!
Up front is nice and airy, helped by the split sunroof. The dash layout is spot on, and it’s good to see that Mitsubishi haven’t been tempted by the dark side where they put all the controls on a touchscreen. Buttons, they’ve used proper old fashioned buttons and switches - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I say! The heads-up display is another nice touch, though this is only available on top models.
Having said the above, the infotainment system is controlled by a touchscreen, or well-designed trackpad controller down in the centre console which, after a day or so, I got used to.
Leg room front and back is ample, as is the view from the elevated driving position, as you’d expect from a crossover.
For our trip to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials there was myself, Muddy Madam and Muddy Madam senior. I also loaded 3 camping chairs, the Coleman 6-in-1 camping table, Firepod oven and gas, a huge plastic box containing food, cutlery and a few other bits in the back. As you’d expect, I had to lower one of the rear seats, but the Eclipse Cross swallowed everything with ease.
Engines ’n’ transmissions
Currently there’s one engine, a 1.5-litre, direct-injection turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol and a choice of two ‘boxes, either a 6-speed manual, which is only available on the front wheel drive, or the 8-speed CVT automatic with paddle shifters. The latter is available for for both front and 4WD models.
Economy wise, on combined drives both 2wd variants get you just over 42mpg, and the 4wd auto will get you 40 miles per-gallon. On long motorway journeys averaging between 50-70mph the onboard computer was telling me I was achieving 39mpg, which isn’t too far off, and I wouldn’t say I was hanging about either.
I really enjoyed my week with the Eclipse, to the point that if I was offered one on long term loan I would be rather excited. Obviously it was a shame that I couldn’t explore its off-road prowess, but I have no doubt it would crawl over, and through, pretty much anything I would point it at, approach angles and tyres taken into consideration of course.
Prices start from £21,290 - £28,480