NEW MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS

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Mitsubishi has long been a leader in SUVs in Australia, with the Pajero, launched in the mid 1980s, proving you can have comfort and off-road ability at the same time.

A new model has just joined the Mitsubishi SUV range, the Eclipse Cross. Sitting between the ASX and Outlander it joins many others in this class in being is as much about style as function. It has a sloping roof that’s more coupe than wagon. Hence the ‘Cross’ in the name indicating it’s a crossover.

The rear has an interesting double-screen arrangement with the screens divided by high-mounted LED brake lights. It probably doesn’t do much for rear vision as we’ve noticed in other vehicles that have tried this style in the past where our eyes have become confused.

Unfortunately pressure of business meant we weren’t able to attend the media launch of the Eclipse Cross, however we have one on its way to Brisbane in a couple of weeks and will road test it then.

Inside, the instrument area of the Eclipse Cross has an almost futuristic style that looks to be both attractive and functional.

The rear seat can slide back and forwards to juggle passenger / luggage space. Cleverly, the rear seat backrests (60:40 split) can be set at different angles to let you choose between occupant comfort and (again) luggage volume.

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Power comes from an ultra modern turbo-petrol 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 110 kW of power. Torque is impressive, reaching its maximum of 250 Nm at 1800 and holding it there till 4500 revs.

Transmission is through an efficient CVT unit, but you can pretend it’s a conventional automatic by using eight preset ratios. This will slightly reduce efficiency but will please those who can’t adapt their ears to the sound of a CVT. There is no manual option.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is offered in both two wheel drive (the front wheels) and all-wheel-drive. The latter is only available offered on the topline Exceed model (more about this in a moment).

Turbo-diesel engines are sold in other markets, but given the decrease in popularity of small diesels in Australia it’s unlikely we’ll see them here.

Mitsubishi’s Smartphone link Display Audio (SDA) connects through Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Users can connect to selected apps, including navigation, stored on their smartphone.

Eclipse Cross is sold in the usual Mitsubishi model designations of LS and Exceed. Prices begin at $30,500 recommended retail for the Eclipse Cross LS 2WD.

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The Exceed 2WD ($36,000 recommended retail) adds dual-zone air-conditioning, leather interior, power and heated front seats, LED headlamps with automatic levelling, a double panoramic sunroof.

Eclipse Cross AWD Exceed ($38,500) comes standard with the same equipment as the Exceed 2WD with the addition of Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control S-AWC four-wheel drive system.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has been awarded the maximum of five stars by ANCAP. It has impressive passive and active safety features, including pedestrian protection measures.

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