Car Feature – Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2018
We didn’t think there was much room left in the compact SUV market, but Mitsubishi has carved itself out a space. Though there are many competitors aiming for this market sweet spot, Mitsubishi has banked on them being a little off centre, either too expensive, too large, too cheap, using too much fuel, or somehow just not the right fit. It looks like the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross may have hit that market sweet-spot dead centre.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross landed at the end of 2017, smack bang in the middle of Mitsubishi’s now formidable SUV range – between the ASX and the Outlander. The name gives you a hint that this car isn’t exactly a traditional SUV, the Eclipse moniker is from Mitsubishi’s 1990 – 2012 coupe, and the Cross denotes that this is a SUV-coupe crossover.
As for pricing, the Eclipse Cross offers a front-wheel drive LS (starting at $30,500), the Exceed 2WD (starting at $36,000), and the Exceed AWD (starting at $38,500). It puts the Eclipse Cross at a very attractive price point to compete with upper compact SUV rivals, including the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan QASHQAI, and Kia Sportage.
You’re not alone to wonder why they dug into the past to reuse the Eclipse name, it wasn’t a stand-out vehicle when it was in production, but it must have had just enough branding to warrant using it for their new SUV-coupe crossover. If you’re wondering where exactly the coupe part of the design is, since this really is a SUV with coupe flourishes, you need to look towards the back.
In the rear you can see the curved lines of a coupe. At first we were a little pessimistic about a coupe and SUV crossover, especially where arguably the detractor of the coupe, is the sloped roof towards the back, and this was the element that was brought to the Eclipse Cross. Those curved lines can look great from the outside, but anyone who has experienced a long drive as a rear passenger in a coupe, knows that it’s terrible on the neck and cramped. The smaller windows in the back are a bane to anyone who gets car sick.
Yet, the Eclipse Cross pulls it off. The Eclipse Cross is taller than it’s direct competitors (in the compact SUV category), and with the addition of a long wheelbase, Mitsubishi has created a spacious interior, even with the sloping coupe roof – and the rear passenger windows are still quite sizable. The design does come at the expense of some boot space, but that’s not really an issue when looking for a compact SUV. The SUV, once a sports-utility-vehicle, has become more of a fashionable statement car, and Mitsubishi has responded, using the elements of a coupe to make some arresting design choices.
Other reviewers have called the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ‘the Goldilocks of SUV’s’. It fits. The 1.5 turbo-charged four-cylinder engine has been tuned for fuel efficiency, not power. It has some grunt to it, but this is not a performance first vehicle. It comes with all of the safety bells-and-whistles you would expect, collision warning, active cruise including stop-and-go, blind-sport warning with cross-traffic assist, and all-round parking cameras – and the all important 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Our impressions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is that it’s just right for it’s targeted place in the market. Let us explain…
We are in the midst of the rise of the SUV, at first it was a specialist vehicle, for off-road driving, beach goers that needed a surf board rack and space to store their gear; or, for drivers that needed the functionality of a UTE, but also additional room for passengers found in a sedan. We can all remember when hatchbacks were all the rage, it wasn’t too long ago.
Now, the SUV is driven more often that not by a solo driver, on an inner-city commute, and for that, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross works perfectly. It’s just the right size to comfortably fit four passengers, find parking on city streets, fit most IKEA flat packed furniture, and make a commute as luxurious as possible. Importantly, it’s an attractive car with design elements that will get you noticed, and not too expensive, and not too cheap to skimp on quality.
We agree with the nickname, Goldilocks of SUV’s. From what we can see, Mitsubishi has got the mix just right.