MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS UPDATED

Eclipse Cross is the fifth member of the Mitsubishi SUV family which together account for about two-thirds of all the Japanese company’s Australian sales. Indeed, only one traditional passenger car, the small Mirage hatchback, has survived the trend towards SUVs and light commercial vehicles.

Launched here in December 2017 the Eclipse Cross fits into the space between the compact ASX and the medium-large Outlander (all three sit on what is effectively the same platform), with the Pajero Sport and the large Pajero at the top of the tree.

Eclipse Cross was launched in December 2017 and now comes with four variants: ES 2WD, LS 2WD and AWD, Aspire 2WD, and Exceed 2WD and AWD. Driveaway prices range from $30,490 to $43,990.

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version will be added later this year.

STYLING
The latest update to Eclipse Cross arrived in November 2020 with some minor styling changes including some tweaks to the Mitsubishi Dynamic Shield grille and headlights, an upgrade of daytime running lamps to LED and new-design 18-inch alloy wheels.

What doesn’t change is the flowing coupe-like roofline that’s currently in vogue and which gives the vehicle an attractive and stylish profile.

Mitsubishi’s has listened to its critics and replaced the previous split rear windscreen, which restricted visibility, with a conventional single window.

INTERIOR
The interior of the Eclipse Cross has a neat and functional design with most features easily accessible. The instrument panel has carbon and piano black accents as do the steering wheel, centre console and door panels. The lower dash, centre console, arm rests and air vents all have a high finish silver trim.

Eclipse Cross has the feel of a larger vehicle with plenty of head, leg and elbowroom in the front. The seats are wide and comfortable enough for long-distance travel.

The 2020 upgrade added 140mm to the length of the Eclipse Cross all of which went into providing extra rear legroom and/or luggage space. The latter has been increased from 341 to 405 litres, expandable to 1149 with the rear seatbacks folded.

There’s plenty of space in the rear seats with the added convenience of eight-step sliding and reclining adjustments. They can be moved up to 200 mm to adjust between rear legroom and boot space. Taller occupants will appreciate the tilt feature of the rear seats.

Storage includes a large double-compartment glovebox, centre console with sunglass tray and underfloor cargo box.

POWERTRAIN
All models are powered by a new-design lighter 1.5-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol engine with peak power of 110 kW at 5500 rpm and 250 Nm of torque from 2000 to 3500 revs.

They have a CVT automatic with eight programmed manual overrides operated via paddle shifters.

The AWD LS and Exceed variants use the latest Mitsubishi Super All-wheel Control with Auto, Snow and Gravel drive modes

At this stage Mitsubishi Australia has no plans to add the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, available in overseas markets. Instead, as mentioned above, a plug-in hybrid electric variant will arrive later in 2021 featuring the newest version of the PHEV hybrid powertrain with one front and one rear high-power electric motor, a large-capacity drive battery and a 2.4-litre MIVEC engine with a single-speed planetary gearbox.

INFOTAINMENT
The multimedia system uses the Mitsubishi Smartphone Link Display Audio connectivity system and displayed on an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen at the top of the dashboard. The buttons are large and conveniently positioned for driver access.

The only integrated satellite navigation comes with the top-spec Exceed model and uses the TomTom satellite navigation system6. Other models require smartphone-paired navigation.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility comes standard on all models although they are plug-in rather than wireless. Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB+) where available is also standard across the Eclipse Cross range.

There are two USB ports in the front console.

Audio systems range from four speakers in the ES, six in the LS up, and to the 510-watt eight-speaker Mitsubishi Power Sound System in the Aspire and Exceed.

SAFETY
Comprehensive passive safety features are based on Mitsubishi’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) impact safety body and seven airbags, including for driver and front passenger, side, curtain and driver’s knee positions.

All variants also get ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist; active stability and traction control; active yaw control; forward collision mitigation; IsoFix child seat mountings; rear view camera; and hill start assist.

The LS adds lane departure warning; automatic headlights, windscreen wipers and high beam; and rear parking sensors.

The newly-added Aspire model gets rear cross traffic alert; blind spot warning; lane change assist; adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go; head-up display; 360-degree ‘overhead’ cameras; and front parking sensors.

Extra safety equipment in the flagship Exceed includes a head-up display that can show up to 10 features as well as an ultrasonic miss-acceleration mitigation system that reduces the chance or severity of impact with obstacles when the driver accidentally presses the accelerator when stationery or at speeds up to 10 km/h.

DRIVING
As with most in its class Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is designed primarily for urban driving and as such the suspension is set up for a compliant ride which offers comfort over bumps and common road irregularities.

It is an easy car to navigate around the city and shopping centres and is able enough once at speed on highways and sturdy on unsealed roads.

The front seats are supportive and able to cater for broad-shouldered occupants. Both front seats are electrically adjustable in the Exceed and the driver’s seat only in the Aspire.

The steering wheel can be adjusted for both height and reach.

Visibility is fine all round now that the aforementioned horizontal bar across the rear window has been removed.

The 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine is nicely responsive, quiet and well-suited to the on-road conditions for which it’s designed.

Handling is pretty good for an SUV with less body roll than others in its class that we’ve driven. Steering is well-weighted but we would prefer more feedback.

Our Exceed test car featured Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive system which provided extra stability during the wet conditions that we experienced but also more composure during corners and roundabouts as well as a more settled drive overall.

The 1600 kg braked-trailer towing capacity is better than the ASX (1300kg) and equal to the Outlander.

Fuel consumption is listed at 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres with 2WD and 7.7 L/100 km with AWD. During our extended test of the AWD Exceed we averaged 9.2 L/100 km.

SUMMING UP
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a capable and affordable vehicle that should be on the test schedule for any potential small-medium SUV buyer. There’s a high level of standard safety equipment even in the entry level ES topped up in the range-topping Exceed.

Although Mitsubishi has joined the move towards longer standard warranties by extended the time limit to five years, we do question the decision to leave the distance limit at the previous 100,000 kilometres. If you’re used to averaging more than 20,000 km a year then you’ll need to factor this into your purchasing decision.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL LINE-UP
ES 1.5-litre petrol 2WD: $30,490 (CVT)
LS 1.5-litre petrol 2WD: $33,490 (CVT)
LS 1.5-litre petrol AWD: $36,990 (CVT)
Aspire 1.5-litre petrol 2WD: $36,490 (CVT)
Exceed 1.5-litre petrol 2WD: $40,490 (CVT)
Exceed 1.5-litre petrol AWD: $43,990 (CVT)
Note: These are driveaway prices and include all government or dealer delivery charges.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mitsubishi Exceed 1.5-litre petrol AWD)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.499 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 110 kW @ 5500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 250 Nm @ 2000-3500 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.7 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 174 g/km

DRIVELINE: Continuously variable automatic transmission, Super-All Wheel Control

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4405 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1805 mm
Height: 1685 mm
Turning Circle: 10.9 metres
Kerb mass: 1555 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / 100,000 km

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