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

Auto Express - - Road Tests -

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.

Driv­ing

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.

Prac­ti­cal­ity

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.

Own­er­ship

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.

Run­ning costs

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

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