The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross enters the market with heavy competition – even from within its own showroom.
We took the new premium SUV to test it out.
When the Mitsubishi ASX rolled out in 2010, we thought SUVs were at their peak – you had one in every size imaginable – then the goal posts shifted, now brands that already have an SUV in their range are releasing premium options to make the most of drivers appetites for the sporty wagons.
The Eclipse Cross is based on the same platform as the ASX, so size wise there’s marginal difference – but design wise, it’s like chalk and cheese. The external design is funky and different from its small SUV brother with a raked roof peeling down the back to a split-glass hatch.
Inside, the premium feel continues with materials that don’t feel like they’ve been borrowed from another Mitsubishi in the range with a new ‘pop-up’ style multimedia unit – that even gains a touchpad controller in top-line Exceed models – and a heads-up display to help you keep your eyes on the road when monitoring your speed.
The new aesthetic is pretty exciting, and coupled with the significant upgrades in technology, proves that Mitsubishi is onto a winner with their almost all-SUV/4WD range.
Despite sharing a basic platform with the ASX, the Eclipse Cross comes with all new engineering to help it stand out on the road.
A new engine is part of the package – although we are limited to the petrol option, there is a diesel available overseas – and is pretty sprightly in its application of power. Power delivery is pretty even from the new engine with smooth direct power hitting the tarmac thanks to the CVT automatic – you can even ‘step’ through eight programmed ‘gears’ with the paddle shifters if you’re feeling like self-shifting.
The suspension is set up to be sporty without feeling overly harsh – especially on city streets pockmarked by uneven repairs – and at speed, it firms up to provide a nicely weighted feel to the steering, pairing the sporty profile from the turbo engine with a strong chassis to create an on-the-road experience that is well sorted.
Because of it’s similar footprint to the ASX, its nimble and confident on the move – with none of the body-rolling heft of larger SUVs despite its slight push upwards in size.
It stands to reason that switching their product line to almost all SUVs that Mitsubishi would have a handle on how to implement a vehicle that can meet the requirements of a growing family.
The tech upfront is the biggest new change – especially in the Exceed – with a touchpad controlled multimedia system (the LS just does without the touchpad to use a combo of buttons and a touchscreen.) Many may bemoan the fact that none of the models come with integrated satellite navigation – but with everyone with some kind of smart phone, the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto sort of covers that basis if you need maps.
Space wise, the Eclipse Cross is similar to the ASX with incremental increases to the overall footprint but, due to the raked roof, a reduction in headroom in the back seats. This may be a problem if you’re chauffeuring an All-Star NBA crew full time, but most people will be able to get by. In terms of storage, the sliding rear seat allows you to adjust the space in the back, while the loading height is the perfect height that you don’t have to throw your shoulder out trying to lift the weekly shopping into the back.
The safety tech is a highlight of the Eclipse Cross – even more so in the Exceed. Lane departure and blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, misacceleration mitigation system (to stop you from rear ending someone in traffic) and lane change assist are all thrown in to the top-spec Mitsi. This is in combination with upgrades to the construction of the car with stronger steel to reinforce it as a safe option under its sporty skin. That's why the Eclipse Cross received a maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
The Eclipse Cross range has two models – the LS and Exceed. The range starts from $30,500 for the LS 2WD, while the range topping Exceed AWD comes in at $38,500.
All prices exclude on-road costs including registration, dealer delivery and stamp duty.
Servicing costs are covered by Mitsubishi’s Capped Price Servicing program at $300 for the first scheduled service, and $400 for the two scheduled services after that, during the 3 year coverage. Scheduled servicing is due annually or every 15,000kms.
Overall, the Eclipse Cross is a worthy push upmarket for the increasingly SUV-based Mitsubishi range – slotting in as a graduating point for drivers of the ASX who want more engagement, tech and an all-round family wagon that delivers on style.
To test drive the Eclipse Cross for yourself, see the friendly sales team at Motorama Mitsubishi.