The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification. Contributed

REVIEW: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross looks faster than reality

TURNAROUND, every now and then I get a little bit lonely (Mirage). Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit tired (Lancer). Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit terrified (looking at the back of the Pajero Sport).

Bonnie Tyler seemingly envisaged Mitsubishi's company fortunes in 1983. Maybe that was the inspiration for the new (Total) Eclipse (of the Heart)?

For Mitsubishi, all-new models have been a long time between drinks. The Eclipse Cross has perfect timing, with the Japanese marque enjoying a purple-sales patch led by the ASX and Triton variants.

While that pairing relies on value pricing, this new Eclipse Cross will appeal to those chasing modern style inside and out.

Prices start from $30,500 for the base LS variant, but we sampled the range-topping Exceed variant with all-wheel drive that currently has a drive-away price of $40,990.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification. Contributed

VALUE

Exciting and interesting, the cabin is the best you'll find in any Mitsubishi currently on sale. Storage options are good, it has sliding and reclining rear seats, and it possesses high quality Japanese build quality.

Mitsubishi has ensured there is no shortage of kit in the range-topping, including the latest must-have entertainment compatibility in Apple CarPlay and Android auto, then there's leather trim, heated and power adjustable front seats, digital radio, panoramic sunroof, dual zone aircon and "super” all-wheel drive.

Infotainment includes a seven-inch touchscreen, plus a touchpad on the centre console. Using the touchpad takes a little analysis at first, it's not perfect and our preference was the touchscreen, but if your use the CarPlay or Auto then everything works seamlessly and you don't need to worry about the in-built apps - plus there is no satnav unless you use your phone.

White is the only colour which doesn't attract a $590 premium, which includes cream, silver, titanium, blue, black and red.

Servicing is scheduled annually or every 15,000km, with average cost for the first three mechanical check-ups $366.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification. Contributed

DRIVING

Considering the ASX remains Mitsubishi's leading passenger performer, it proves buyers care little about on-road ability.

The smaller ASX is serviceable, whereas the Eclipse Cross has a new 1.5-litre turbo engine under its sleek skin.

Don't get too excited about that turbo smashing land speed records...it's matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission and together they are an honest combination. Ask many keen drivers and they'll tell you CVTs are as good as the Australian cricket team's code of ethics, they whine and lack integrity, but Mitsubishi has armed its system with paddle shifts to mimic a traditional automatic.

Give the SUV some revs and it rewards the driver with strong support through the mid-range.

The suspension copes reasonably well, you get some rock and roll in the corners (not horrible by SUV standards), while the steering is extremely light. The latter will be liked by some drivers, but it does lack a sense of feel and road positioning.

Some cabin noise was evident on coarse chip bitumen, the blind spot assist is also vital due to impeded rear three-quarter vision, while the biggest omission is the lack of vents in the second row.

While the overall performance was pleasing, an annoyance was the radar cruise control system lacks cohesion and fluency. Operating fine when traffic is flowing, once crowded (when you want the system most) the braking was harsh and the radars allowed excessive space behind the car ahead even when the pre-set distances were at the closest setting.

Boot space is only 341 litres with the seats pushed back (the rear bench has 200mm of travel), which is smaller than most rivals. The rear seats do have a 60-40 fold mechanism.

The benefit of having the shifting rear pew (also has adjustable backrest angle) is generous legroom, but some adults may find the couple-like lines a tight fit. The central rear seat belt that is guided from the rear pillar through a small plastic alcove looks like an afterthought.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification. Contributed

SAFETY

All Eclipse Cross variants have five-star crash rating - equalling the best adult occupant protection high score at 97%.

Basic gear incorporates automatic emergency braking which can help stop the car if when a frontal collision is detected, lane departure warning which detects wandering above speeds of 65km/h, radar cruise control, automatic high beam along with reversing camera and sensors.

Exceed takes things to the next level, also getting rear cross traffic alert for when reversing out of car parks and vital blind spot warning which addresses the peripheral vision issues. It is also armed with "Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System” which is designed to reduce the chance of hitting obstacles 4m in front or behind if the driver mistakenly jumps on the accelerator at speeds up to 10km/h.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in range-topping Exceed specification. Contributed

HEART SAYS

Looking modern and ultra funky, it's got impressive safety credentials and cabin functionality. But is it loveable?

HEAD SAYS

The driving experience isn't scintillating, yet the Eclipse Cross manages the mundane with ease.

ALTERNATIVES

HOLDEN EQUINOX LTZ AWD FROM $44,290

Another new kid on the block, with similar solid all-round performance but a more utilitarian style, powered by a strong 188kW/353Nm 2.0-litre petrol/nine-speed auto.

MAZDA CX-5 GT FROM $44,390

One of the best in the genre, with superior driving dynamics bolstered by a naturally aspirated (non turbo) 114kW/200Nm 2.0-litre/six-speed auto, but a superior drive to the Eclipse and better fuel economy too. Comparable safety, minus adaptive cruise.

VW TIGUAN 132TSI COMFORTLINE FROM $41,990

We rate this as one of the best in class, with a punchy 132kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo/seven-speed auto, with great handling, comfortable ride and masses of load space.

THE VERDICT

Looking faster than reality, the Eclipse Cross is more of a wolf in sheep's clothing. SUVs are typically family chariots, so those shopping for something in this size will be pleased with the looks, infotainment functionality and equipment.

AT A GLANCE

MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS EXCEED

PRICE $38,490 drive-away (pretty good)

SERVICING AND WARRANTY $1100 for 3 years (avg), 5-yr 100,000km warranty (long)

ENGINE 1.5-litre 4-cyl turbo, 110kW/ 250Nm (average)

THIRST 7.3L/100km (about average)

SPARE Space-saver (not ideal)

BOOT 341L (with max rear seat legroom; small)

SAFETY 5 stars, 7 airbags, AEB, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, rear cross traffic alert (excellent)


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