Mitsubishi’s Dynamic New Eclipse Cross SUV

The future has never looked better for the Mitsubishi Motor Corporation than it does at present. Worldwide sales have exceeded the 1-million unit threshold for the first time in the company’s history…and that trend is set to continue.

This growing success was, undoubtedly, one of the main motivating factors behind Nissan’s controlling-interest buy-in in 2016. This move subsequently made the firm the third partner in its manufacturing alliance with Renault in 2017. More and more customers the world-over are buying SUV’s and this fits in perfectly with Mitsubishi’s product line. In fact, SUV’s are the type of vehicles that Mitsubishi has specialized in over the past two decades.

With this growing trend in mind, Mitsubishi have launched the Eclipse Cross (SUV/Crossover), which sits between the smaller ASX and the bigger Outlander in its model line-up. The main rivals to the new Eclipse Cross include the likes of the SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Renault Kadjar.

It may be arriving under Alliance control but in fact, the Eclipse Cross really is still a Mitsubishi production. The car’s platform can be traced to that of the Outlander. Its petrol engine isn’t to be found in Renault’s or Nissan’s; it’s a 1.5-litre unit of Mitsubishi’s own creation. And you won’t find Qashqai or Megane switchgear in there either; it’s a blend of new tech, such as the impressively crisp infotainment screen mounted on the top of the dash. The infotainment set-up includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the system is ultra- responsive. Even the touchpad controller between the front seats is very user friendly and intuitive.

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is available with a choice of three trim levels – Invite, Intense and range-topping Instyle, while just one engine is offered at present – a 1.5-litre turbo petrol offering an impressive 163bhp and 250Nm of torque. Thanks to brisk acceleration from this refined petrol engine, the 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in just 10.3 seconds with the slick 6-speed manual gearbox or in just 9.3 seconds when mated to Mitsubishi’s sweet-shifting automatic gearbox. Fuel consumption in manual guise is as low as 5.7l/100km on an extra-urban driving cycle, while the automatic consumes as little a 6.0l/100km on the same driving cycle. Thanks to emission figures of 151-154g/km, annual road tax is just €390.

All trim levels in the Eclipse Cross come very well equipped with even the entry level ‘Invite’ model having such standard features as 16” alloy wheels, rain sensing wipers, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, automatic high beam assist, auto lights, rear privacy glass, roof rails, rear spoiler, front & rear skid plates, leather bound multi-function steering wheel, front centre armrest, Bluetooth, air-conditioning, rear view camera and a comprehensive suite of advance safety technology (including ABS, EBD, active stability and traction control, hill start assist, emergency stop signal system, front, side & curtain airbags, forward collision mitigation system, lane departure warning and an electronic engine immobiliser.

My test car was an Eclipse Cross Instyle 1.5-litre turbo petrol 2WD CVT Automatic finished in stunning white metallic paint with a (standard) contrasting panoramic sunroof. Other standard features include LED headlamps with auto-levelling and headlamp washers, chrome bumper accents, sound-proof windscreen, leather seating with an 8-way electrically adjustable drivers seat, advanced infotainment system, multi-around-view monitor, dual-zone air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.

I found the Eclipse Cross’s petrol engine to be very punchy and responsive, leading to perfectly smooth and rapid progress when called upon. Excellent driving dynamics ensure that the Eclipse Cross makes light work of driving on rutted or speed-ramp laden roads and is an accomplished companion of motorways too. The cars steering offers great driver involvement and is quick to respond to inputs, while ensuring that the car stays impressively flat when cornering.

Cabin space in the Eclipse Cross is well laid-out and the big double-aspect glass area of the rear hatch makes it seem very airy. You can slide the split rear seats fore and aft to prioritise either cabin space or boot capacity (it switches from 411-litres to 485-litres), while the rear seats can be folded completely for added practicality.

Mitsubishi offers the new Eclipse Cross with a class-leading 8-year/150,000km warranty, along with a free annual vehicle health check for added peace of mind. Prices start at a very competitive €27,900 (ex-works), while my test car is priced at just €37,400 (ex-works). With stylish and dynamic looks that boldly proclaim incomparable refinement, robustness and road performance maybe it is time to cross-over to Mitsubishi’s new Eclipse Cross.