Mit­subishi’s lat­est cross­over is stylish and punchy, but more im­por­tantly, has the po­ten­tial to win over cyn­ics.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

TTHANK heav­ens Mit­subishi has fi­nally launched a model worth get­ting ex­cited over.

Ever since the mighty Lancer Evo­lu­tion X was re­tired, the brand has had no sports cars or halo mod­els to speak of. And for the past three years, the most vis­i­ble Mit­subishi model in Sin­ga­pore has been the At­trage, a bud­get saloon utilised by pri­vate-hire driv­ers.

There­fore, im­press­ing reg­u­lar mo­torists was al­ways go­ing to be an up­hill bat­tle. In fact, most are un­aware that Mit­subishi’s lo­cal lineup in­cludes the high-tech Out­lander PHEV, the world’s first plug-in petrol-elec­tric hy­brid SUV (sports util­ity ve­hi­cle).

But with the Eclipse Cross, Mit­subishi now has the po­ten­tial to fi­nally ap­peal to buy­ers, for it is the most com­pelling new Mit­subishi model avail­able to­day.

The Eclipse Cross, how­ever, has noth­ing to do with the pre­vi­ous Eclipse (see Eclipse For En­thu­si­asts box story), a coupe that was pro­duced from 1989 to 2011. Although the Eclipse name has been res­ur­rected, the model is now a coupe-SUV, just like the BMW X6 and Range Rover Evoque.

When Mit­subishi first re­leased pho­tos of this model, I wasn’t drawn to its de­sign. Thank­fully, the Eclipse Cross looks much bet­ter in real life than on a screen. Its front end has that hand­some/ma­cho look that SUV buy­ers love, while its sloped roofline gives it a coupe­like pro­file.

The rear end is go­ing to po­larise opinions, though. I find the car’s two-win­dow tail­gate, also a de­sign fea­ture of the Toy­ota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq, awk­ward. My guess is that it helps im­prove aero­dy­namic ef­fi­ciency, which in turn low­ers fuel con­sump­tion and CO2 emis­sions. Those good feel­ings about the Eclipse Cross, how­ever, start grow­ing again as I set­tle into the driver’s seat.

Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes a head-up dis­play, seven airbags

User-friendly cock­pit is well­made and, sur­pris­ingly, fea­tures pad­dle shifters made from more ex­pen­sive mag­ne­sium al­loy in­stead of cheaper plas­tic.

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