Check out our Video Review of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross on The Real DCCarGuy’s YouTube Channel
The Crossover|SUV market is hotly competitive, with all manufacturers trying to compete in that mid-20-to-30-thousand dollar arena. Each of those crossovers or SUVs has its own merits and detractions. Mitsubishi specifically calls this Eclipse Cross an SUV on its Monroney sticker, with its S-All Wheel Drive.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has going for it, is distinctive exterior styling. Styling that does not look like anything else on the road. That is obvious from the sweeping sidelines to the grill and the sculpted liftgate. A design that is a nod to the European coupe SUV styling as it is to Mitsubishi’s vehicles of the past. This styling integrates the vehicle’s iconic three diamonds in its grille and dimensional taillights to create a wide and stable visual presence.
The body-color door handles, distinctive side moldings, and wheel arches stand out. The tall side profile belies its low step-in height; while it is not low to the ground, you do not need a step stool to get into it. On the other hand, the high door sill means you have to swing your feet a bit higher than one might expect. The Eclipse Cross has LED headlamps, fog lamps and daytime running lamps and LED tail lamps, high mount rear stoplight. This SEL model Mitsubishi sent us came with two-tone eighteen-inch wheels and tires. And surprise, a temporary large doughnut spare tire nestled inside the car under the rear cargo floor, along with a jack and tools. Speaking of tools, with the $295 Popular Value Package, which this Eclipse Cross has, you get a Roadside assistance kit. Most people will call roadside assistance, so I doubt this will ever be used, but it is adorable with some great tools. And as part of the $190 Welcome Package, you get a touch-up paint pen for this optional $595 Red Diamond Paint.
This is a two-row SUV with seating for 3 in the back – 2 comfortably with a center fold-down armrest. The 60/40 rear seat does have a recline function. You will also find map pockets behind both front seats, a rarity these days, probably because no one drives around with a paper map any longer, since most cars have built-in navigation, or an occupant has a mobile device with GPS capabilities. Finally, y will find leather-appointed seating surfaces are for all seats within this Eclipse Cross.
Up Front Dual illuminated vanity mirrors on the sun visors – and my favorite – yes, the sun visors do extend to help you block out the sun and glare when you have them deployed to the side. The chrome-trimmed sport pedals are part of the Popular value package, and the carpeted floor mats are part of the Welcome Package.
Two glass roof panels over the passenger seats, the front is an operable sunroof while the 2nd row has a sunshade, and the glass is fixed in place. A Leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, though an artificial leather-covered gear shift knob, this is a real honest-to-goodness gear shift for this 8-speed automatic with sports CVT transmission. These days, gear shift levers seem to be a dinosaur, with all the electronics controlling the tranny’s. Though the Eclipse Cross does have large steering wheel-mounted touch shift levers.
The driver’s dash is like many Japanese electronic devices with a number of cute little images. If you do not want to look down at the dash display, there is a pop-up plastic Heads Up Display (HUD) screen. It is very controllable, and you can put it away if you don’t like it. And it stays away until you use the controls to bring it back up.
The center stack 8-inch center screen displays radio, TomTom navigation, and other information. This vehicle comes with Bluetooth and features wired Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
Cargo Space in the Eclipse Cross provides a maximum total space of 50.1-cubic feet with the second-row seats folded down and 23.4-cubic feet with those rear seats upright. The rear hatch is not automatic, which is something that seems to have become the norm in this segment, so you do have to reach under and grab the latch and actually lift it up, then manually pull it down to close. No little automatic close button. Nope, even the proximity key, the Eclipse Cross, realizes you have this little radio transponder on your body when you approach, though you have to push the door open button to lock or unlock the doors and hatch.
Active stability control, hill start assist, blind-spot warning with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection lane departure warning. Other safety features include automatic high beam lights and a whole host of dual-stage airbags all around the vehicle from knee, side curtain, and seat-mounted.
The Eclipse Cross is fitted with the company’s trusted 1.5-liter MIVEC direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder engine, held over from the previous version of this model, though thoroughly modern design, the MIVEC engine is all-aluminum for lightweight, and perfectly balances the seemingly distinct priorities of power and efficiency.
Using a compact turbocharger reduces fuel consumption and minimizes turbo lag for driver-centric feel and performance. In contrast, direct fuel injection and turbocharging combination deliver greater efficiency at all roads and engine speeds.
Car enthusiasts hate CVTs or continuously variable transmission, but this one is designed with eight speeds and a sports mode, optimizing driving dynamics while also achieving low fuel consumption. CVTs are not what they once were and are much more reliable now than just a few years ago. Although CVTs are nothing new and have a tenuous beginning, they are best described as a rubber band moving up and down on a cone. The faster you go, the more it moves up the cone.
If you are looking to be a little different from all the other SUVs on the urban streets, think about Mitsubishi. While it has some aspects that bother me, the more time I spent with it, the more I found to like about this Eclipse Cross SUV. It has a command of the road and many redeeming features that you have to experience to appreciate. Unfortunately, Mitsubishi dealers are not on every corner, but once you find one, I think you will find their brand of cars to be quite interesting.
While this may not be the most modern or sophisticated SUV, it provides comfort for up to five passengers and plenty of cargo space, which many people need. Older drivers will find much of the onboard technology and touch and feel very comfortable. Would I buy this SUV? Probably not, but I would advise those looking for a basic and very functional SUV with distinctive styling to check it out to see if it fits what you need. I believe it will be a good choice for many who are looking for this type of SUV.
For a full review video, check out our review on The Real DCCarGuy on YouTube.
Words and Images by William West Hopper
Mr. Hopper has long been an automotive enthusiast and has been reviewing vehicles for the better part of a decade both in print on video and now on our Queer4Cars podcast carried by many online streaming services. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Each year Mr. Hopper provides VIP Tours at the Washington DC Auto Show, where he guides guests around the entire show talking about the brands on display and current automotive technology.