MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS EXCEED

Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross sits somewhere between the Mitsubishis ASX and Outlander but has a personality all of its own. Its compact dimensions belie its spaciousness and, complemented by generous inclusions, this SUV is punching above its weight.

It is offered here in Australia in three grades, the mid-level LS, the newly arrived entry-level ES and the top-spec Exceed. The versatile crossover is pushing hard to make its mark in a segment that surprisingly still has some wiggle room.

STYLING
The Eclipse Cross may very well be one of the more stylish examples in the Mitsubishi stable featuring trademarks of the brand with a modern twist. The reserved front end with the familiar grille combines well with a more sculpted rear for a car that is noticeable in a busy mid-size SUV segment.

The carries this attitude inside too, for an interior that is sensible and practical but an obvious step up from some of the more tired of Mitsubishi’s offerings. Drivers familiar with the brand will recognise the instrumentation with a favoured blue hue and some of the switchgear as well, but on the whole, the designers have opted for sleeker lines, a simple mix of materials and uncomplicated dials and buttons which help add to that sense of spaciousness usually amiss in an SUV of this size.

The front seats are supportive and able to accommodate wide shoulders, with the driver’s seat electrically adjustable as you search for that optimum spot. Passengers in the rear, too, can travel in comfort with room under the front seat for feet and head room not particularly disadvantaged by the sloping roof or sunroof, unless you are a tall adult that is.

More legroom is available should you wish courtesy of the 60:40 sliding seat which borrows space from the boot when needed. The boot itself is quite compact, which is not unexpected in a vehicle of this size, with a higher loading lip and a space saver spare under the floor.

The raised driving position in SUVs are often an advantage in terms of visibility, and while that is the case with the Eclipse Cross, visibility is hampered somewhat by the split rear window. The lower entry point for the rear seats makes it slightly tricky for parents strapping young kids into their seats although the two IsoFix points are certainly handy.

Storage options are effective with two cupholders upfront, bottle holders in the doors and compartment for phones and keys. Standard kit in the top-of-the-range Exceed is generous and includes amongst others, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and high beams, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers and reversing camera.

INFOTAINMENT
Eclipse Cross has a dual control 7.0-inch infotainment unit that works by touch or through a touchpad in the centre console. Like those featured in more luxury brands, we found the touchpad fiddly with the intuitive touchscreen more suited to changes on the run.

There is a six-speaker sound system with DAB+, Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls and audio streaming. The system pairs seamlessly with your smartphone for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which means you can happily use your favourite apps. Navigation is through smartphone too, with the Eclipse Cross going without an in-built sat-nav system.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross range is powered by a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol paired with a continuously variable transmission. The unit is good for 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. In the Eclipse Cross full torque is available low down the range which makes for smooth CVT performance.

SAFETY
The Eclipse Cross gets a five-star ANCAP rating thanks to a long list of active and passive features. Along with seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees, a 360-degree camera and blind spot monitoring, the Eclipse Cross also gets rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, active cruise control and a new forward collision warning system.

DRIVING
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a nifty little unit well suited for the challenges of urban driving. The chassis is set up for a compliant ride which offers comfort over bumps and common road irregularities.

Our test car featured Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive system which gives an added sense of surety under foot. In practical terms this equates not only to stability in wet conditions, for example, but also in confidence into corners and composure through roundabouts.

You will find the Eclipse Cross an enthusiastic participant who gets about its job with such little fuss that you will be happy to look the other way when execution doesn’t always match the intention.

It is an easy car to navigate around the city and shopping centres, is able enough once at speed on highways and sturdy on unsealed roads. It may need a reassuring breath when carrying a load up a hill, can be slow to start when asked for a burst of speed and the steering is lighter than you expect, but its good manners and willing nature is hard to fault.

Our Eclipse Cross used around 8.5L/100km (official figures are 7.7L/100km) is runs happily on 91RON.

Mitsubishi offers the Eclipse Cross with a five-year/100,000km warranty – unlimited kilometres would have been a nicer touch in line with many of its competitors. Servicing prices are capped for the first three visits with service intervals at 15,000km or 12 months.

SUMMING UP
The Eclipse Cross is a lovely surprise package from Mitsubishi. It’s pleasing exterior, flexible interior and generous inclusions and safety package make it a real consideration for buyers who want more space than a small SUV but with a compact footprint.

AT A GLANCE
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed pricing and specifications:

Price: from $38,500
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol

Output: 110kW at 5500rpm and 240Nm at 1800-3500rpm
Transmission: Continually Variable Automatic, AWD
Fuel: 7.7L/100km (ADR Combined)
Warranty: 5 years/100,000km
Safety Rating: 5-star ANCAP

WHAT WE LIKED:
Standard inclusions and safety
New styling
Flexibility and spaciousness

WHAT WE DIDN’T:
Fiddly touchpad
Rear air-vents under front seats
Rear visibility

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