Mitsubishi’s new Eclipse Cross
Mitsubishi’s new Eclipse Cross brings a dash of panache and is set to bolster Mitsubishi sales in the family-styled SUV segment
Modern-looking and comfortable, Mitsubishi’s recently introduced Eclipse Cross brings a dash of panache to South Africa’s family-styled, compact SUV segment.
The vehicle – which slots in between the brand’s ASX and Outlander models – boasts an interior that is feature-rich, well-crafted and versatile, with rear seats that can be adjusted forwards to increase cargo space – or backwards to increase legroom.
Speaking at the local launch of the model in Cape Town, Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, said the derivative – which surpassed the global sales milestone of 80 000 units within a year of its international debut – was perceived to be more modern, distinctive, dynamic, advanced and sportier than most of its competitors.
“The three primary product attributes of the all-new Eclipse Cross are stimulating design, confidence-inspiring driving and the vehicle’s level of human connectivity,” Campbell maintained.
He added that the design concept – which has won a host of international awards – offered a defiant, new-genre coupé approach, helping to bring the compact SUV into the modern age.
To my eye, the vehicle’s styling is robust in the lower half of the body – possibly to reflect Mitsubishi’s enviable 4x4 heritage – with an upper structure that is more dart-like in profile than the boxy shape of traditional SUVs.
Hallmark of the sharp but somewhat fussy rear end is a distinctive aerodynamic aid – an integrated spoiler which splits the back windscreen into two separate horizontal planes. Seen in the rear-view mirror, it takes some getting used to!
Thanks to a wheelbase which matches that of the Outlander’s, the Eclipse Cross’s cabin is comparatively spacious by compact SUV standards. That said, the vehicle’s cropped tail and a boot floor that has been raised to accommodate a full-sized spare wheel tend to truncate cargo volume, while the slope of the roof line in the cabin restricts rear seat headroom.
On the latter point, Mitsubishi offers a quick solution – a recline-function on the 60/40 split backrests, an attribute usually found only in vehicles in the upper luxury bracket. And with boot capacity still exceeding the 400 litre mark, the size of the cargo area remains accommodating.
Though available in 4x2 or all-wheel-drive configurations, engine choice across the range is limited to a 2,0-litre petrol-fuelled plant that delivers 110kW and 198Nm, with transmission through a CVT gearbox which, in sport mode, boasts six steps to emulate cog-like gear changes.
On the road the vehicle performs effectively, easily accelerating up the rev range in city traffic and cruising quietly and comfortably at the speed limit on highways. There’s a bit of body roll in corners but, for the most part, the Eclipse Cross retains good agility and nimbleness, the 4WD version offering sure-footed levels of grip on even on slippery surfaces courtesy of the latest rendition of Mitsubishi’s S-AWC electronic torque distribution system.
Suspension is compliant rather than overtly sporty – the underpinnings based on those used in the bigger, heavier Outlander. While response to steering and throttle inputs is generally good, in normal drive mode the CVT ’box can become a little noisy and whiny when placed under duress. Selecting sport mode and using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters to change gears resolves the problem.
On the subject of sporty embellishments, a standard feature across the range is a full-colour head up display – reinforcement, perhaps, of Mitsubishi’s commitment to sharpen the interface between human and machine, a factor apparent in other areas of the vehicle’s layout.
Cockpit attributes include next-generation technology and connectivity features, including an optional seven-inch touchscreen with a built-in GPS which, via Bluetooth, allows the driver through voice control to access a smartphone’s compatible apps and stored information.
Standard equipment includes a touchscreen infotainment system; Bluetooth with hands-free voice control; accessory sockets and USB ports; a smartphone storage tray; a multi-function steering wheel; cruise control; a rear-view camera; front and rear park distance control; automatic air-conditioning; an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and heated front seats.
The steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach and there are electrically powered windows front and rear. Seats are leather covered and bolstered. Other standard features include seven airbags; side-impact protection bars; Isofix child seat anchors; an anti-lock braking system; active yaw control; hill start assist; active stability and traction control and a keyless operating system.
Mitsubishi quotes fuel consumption figures for the 4x2 Eclipse Cross at 7,9 litres/100km and that for the AWD derivative at 8,1 litres/100km. Each of the models rides on 18-inch tyres and boasts a reasonably tight turning circle – 5,3 metres. Ground clearance is measured at 180mm. The 4x2 version has a fuel tank capacity of 63 litres while that of the AWD holds 60 litres.
- Eclipse Cross 2,0L CVT 4x2: R399 995
- Eclipse Cross 2,0L CVT AWD: R449 995
The models are sold with a three-year, 100 000km warranty; a five-year, 90 000km service plan and a five-year, unlimited mileage roadside assistance package. Service intervals are at 15 000km.