Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Mid-size SUV looks good on paper, but how well does it perform on the road? MODEL TESTED: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4 1.5 MIVEC Auto 4WD PRICE: £27,915 ENGINE: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 161bhp
MITSUBISHI’S new mid-size family SUV looks competitive on paper, with a far more modern design and approach than the brand’s ASX. At £27,915 for this petrol auto ‘4’ trim we’re testing, it’s the most affordable model of the trio on test, but do you pay a penalty elsewhere?
Design & engineering
THE Eclipse Cross is based on a revised version of Mitsubishi’s GS Platform, also known as “Project Global”, which is a joint development between the brand and Daimler/chrysler. It’s been around for a while, underpinning other products, such as the Outlander SUV; here it’s been tweaked for this mid-size model.
There’s Macpherson strut front suspension and, due to the Eclipse Cross’s four-wheel-drive powertrain, a multi-link set-up at the rear.
Power comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 161bhp and 250Nm of torque, making it the most potent of our trio. It drives through a CVT automatic gearbox, with an “on-demand” four-wheel-drive system that can decouple the rear wheels to improve efficiency.
Inside, material quality feels poorer compared with even the Subaru, while both trail a long way behind the Skoda. The list of equipment is strong, with adaptive cruise, LED headlights, a long list of safety tech, Apple Carplay and Android Auto and a reversing camera all included as standard.
You’ll miss out on advanced technology such as wireless phone charging, as with the Subaru, but the biggest omission is arguably satellite navigation (see Infotainment, Page 44). Still, for the money ‘4’ spec is well equipped with features such as heated leather seats, but the lack of quality inside is evident, as is the car’s limited dynamic ability, as we’ll come to see.
FAMILY SUVS should balance usability with comfort and a decent degree of performance. While the Mitsubishi offers enough of the latter, sprinting from 0-60mph at our test track in a respectable 8.7 seconds (two tenths behind the Subaru, but a tenth ahead of the Skoda), it’s not a patch on its competition here when it comes to comfort.
The set-up feels too firmly sprung and too loosely damped, so the Eclipse Cross’s axles pogo over bumps, sometimes rebounding with a harsh thud. Despite this stiff feel to the ride there’s noticeable roll, while the slow steering means it’s not as good to drive as either the Subaru or Skoda.
Sometimes CVT gearboxes can be frustrating to use when you’re behind the wheel, but the unit in the Eclipse Cross is actually okay, as long as you keep a lid on how aggressive you are with the throttle.
It’ll cruise along happily, responding like a conventional auto as it shifts smoothly through its artificial ratio steps. However, put your foot down and the revs do rise as the gearbox holds the engine at its optimum point for performance.
At least you don’t get much of a ‘rubber band’ feel that’s associated with some CVTS, a problem that still afflicts the XV. Settle down to a cruise on the motorway and the powertrain is adequate, with an acceptable level of refinement. The ride is improved at higher speed, too, but it’s by no means perfect and doesn’t deliver the same level of comfort over the same roads at the same speeds as its two rivals here.
ALL Eclipse Cross trim levels get a flexible rear seat arrangement that allows the bench to be slid forwards or backwards to prioritise either passenger space or luggage room. Even with the seat forward there’s an adequate level of legroom, offering about the same as in the XV. Slide it rearward and even taller adults won’t struggle for space. But our car’s standard panoramic roof did eat into headroom a little.
Still, with between 341 and 448 litres of load space when the rear seats are in place, the Mitsubishi delivers a decent level of practicality for a family of four’s clobber, while the cabin offers good storage. The trade-off for those harder plastics inside is that the interior should at least be durable.
MITSUBISHI didn’t feature in our Driver Power 2017 owner satisfaction survey because it’s still a relatively small player in the UK and, compared with the likes of Skoda, doesn’t sell too many cars.
However, a five-year/62,500-mile manufacturer warranty is strong, as is the Eclipse Cross’s list of standard safety equipment for a family 4x4. Kit includes forward collision mitigation with auto braking, seven airbags and a reversing camera with all-round parking sensors. The Mitsubishi achieved a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating thanks to its blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise and lane change assist.
FUEL economy on test of 30.1mpg wasn’t great, while the Eclipse Cross also emits the most CO2 of the three cars here, at 159g/km.
However, it still falls into the same 32 per cent Benefit-in-kind (BIK) company car tax bracket as the cleaner 155g/km Subaru. With the Mitsubishi having a cheaper list price, this means business users paying higher-rate income tax will save £213, at £3,363 in total per year, with the Eclipse Cross.
That sum is still some way off the Skoda’s cost of £2,932, however. The Czech SUV emits 127g/km of CO2 – partly because it’s only two-wheel drive – and sits in the 26 per cent BIK bracket, so it will be a better bet for company car drivers.
Sliding rear bench is standard on Eclipse Cross
Seats also split-fold to boost space from 448 litres