Eclipse shines bright in SUV range
With the Eclipse Cross, a new spin has been given to the Mitsubishi sports utility vehicle orbit.
Launched this year, the all-new Eclipse Cross is the first of a new generation of Mitsubishi SUVs and joins the brand’s current line-up of the ASX, Outlander, Outlander PHEV hybrid, Pajero Sport and Pajero.
Initially, three variants were offered in Eclipse Cross LS and Exceed specification levels. Recently, an entry-level ES was added to the range, taking the lineup to four models.
Weighing in at a competitive price of $29,990, plus on-road costs, the ES features 18-inch alloy wheels, six-speaker Smartphone Link Display Audio, LED daytime running lights, reverse camera, front fog lamps and forward collision mitigation.
The LS 2WD model ($31,990) is well equipped, with the standard direct injection turbocharged engine, eight-speed continuously variable transmission, smart key and seven-inch SDA.
The Exceed adds dual-zone airconditioning, leather interior, power and heated front seats, LED headlamps with auto levelling, double panoramic sunroof. The 2WD Exceed is priced at $36,000.
At $38,500 Mitsubishi’s flagship Eclipse Cross AWD Exceed comes standard with the same luxury appointments and comprehensive safety package as the 2WD Exceed with the addition of Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control fourwheel-drive system, all for $38,500. This was on our test menu.
The exterior has the company’s Dynamic Shield exterior design theme, with fog lamps and indicators being set lower within bumper recesses, and LED headlamps and daytime running lights incorporated in the main lighting assembly.
A bar and mesh upper grille, reinforced by roof lip spoiler and “venturi”-style lower bumper profile, add to the sporty look of the SUV.
Eclipse features double rear windows divided by high-mounted LED brake lights, giving a deeper, more expansive rear view than is normally found in SUVs of a coupe nature.
Prestige is the byword here with quality cabin trim creating a stylish and crafted feel. Carbon and piano black accents adorn the instrument panel, steering wheel, centre console and door panels.
A high finish silver trim surrounds the lower dash, centre console, front door armrests and air vents.
A 2670mm wheelbase makes for a roomy ambience, added to by the twin bubble roof design ensuring generous headroom, even with the panoramic glass roof of the Exceed model. Wide-opening (75 degrees) rear doors are handy.
Storage including a large double-compartment glove box, centre console with sunglass tray and underfloor cargo box. A new Sync function for the air-conditioning left and right temperature is a neat touch.
Mitsubishi’s Smartphone link Display Audio enables phone connectivity through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while selected apps, including navigation, stored on their smartphone, can be accessed through the colour touchscreen or via voice control.
The SDA, which is standard fitment to all Eclipse Cross models, also allows users to make calls or send SMS messages hands-free and combined with a new touchpad controller on the centre console, allows for a more intuitive operation of Apple CarPlay. Android Auto users miss out here.
Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB+) is standard on all variants, along with the traditional AM / FM tuner.
All versions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross are powered by a direct injection turbocharged petrol engine developing 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque.
It’s matched to an advanced new automatic transmission with Sport mode, manual override and paddle shifters.
The Eclipse Cross is available in two or four-wheel drive, the latter incorporating the latest generation of Mitsubishi’s Super Allwheel Control that offers a choice of three advanced drive modes — Auto, Snow and Gravel.
Comprehensive passive safety features are based on Mitsubishi’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) impact safety body and seven airbags, including for driver and front passenger, side, curtain and driver’s knee positions.
Pedestrian protection measures are energy absorbing structures under the bonnet panel, cowl top and front bumper.
Active safety includes forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, automatic high beam and hill start assist. Exceed models add blindspot warning, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, multi-around monitor, and adaptive cruise control.
Also included is ultrasonic missacceleration mitigation that reduces the chance and severity of hitting obstacles when the driver mistakenly presses the accelerator when stationary or at speeds of up to 10 km/h. Using ultrasonic sensors to detect obstructions in front of or behind the vehicle, it regulates engine power while emitting an audible warning.
If silence is golden, the Eclipse Cross takes on a particularly auric character, with engine and road noise kept at bay from occupants in an efficiently insulated cabin.
The new transmission follows suit, benefiting from the latest step logic technology to combine smoothness and responsiveness with fuel economy, the last ranging between seven and eight litres per hundred kilometres on a range of city and highway driving over the test period.
Snow and gravel were in short supply over this time, so the Super All Wheel Drive system was strictly limited to Auto mode.
In spite of the onset of summery conditions, I had the opportunity to experience the seat heating, having caught the switch while dropping a set of keys into the adjacent cubby at the foot of the centre stack.
On switching off, the heat took some time to dissipate. I hesitate to say “no sweat”. Despite the heated moment, the leather upholstered seats were comfortably cool and at the rear a 60:40 split, with slide and-recline adjustments gave occupants 200mm of legroom, while also allowing occupants to get comfortable with eight 16 to 32degree reclining steps.
The Smartphone Display Audio touch pad controller, situated on the centre console, took some getting used to, with the left hand not always up to the delicate touch and movement required.
However, I’m sure it could be conquered with practice.
The Eclipse Cross is a worthy addition to the Mitsubishi line-up of SUVs.
With a price range of less than $10K over the four models, the wellspecced upper-class variants, including the Exceed AWD, offer quite an attraction.
Launched this year, the all-new Eclipse Cross is the first of a new generation of Mitsubishi SUVs.
The new Eclipse Cross is the harbinger of Mitsubishi’s family of SUVs.
The Eclipse features quality cabin trim that creates a stylish, crafted feel.