Eclipse ex­pands SUV range

Hamilton News - - Front Page -

Avisit to a Mit­subishi show­room or a scroll through the brand web­site puts the spot­light on the rapidly chang­ing pref­er­ences of Kiwi ve­hi­cle buy­ers.

The brand that once sold Lancers, Galants and the se­quence of V3000, Dia­mante and 380 large car lines now has the Mi­rage su­per­mini as its last re­main­ing tra­di­tional car in 2018.

The rest of the Mit­subishi line-up is SUVS and light com­mer­cials.

Mit­subishi’s SUV range has been in ex­pan­sion mode with the new Eclipse Cross be­ing the lat­est ar­rival. First up is a pair of front-wheel-drive mod­els launched in late-2017 and just in the last few weeks an all­wheel-drive duo has ar­rived.

Eclipse Cross is sim­i­lar in size to the ASX but has coupe-like styling, a higher grade of spec­i­fi­ca­tion and in­tro­duces a new 1.5-litre di­rect in­jec­tion and tur­bocharged MIVEC petrol engine.

Power out­put matches the 2.0-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated unit while pro­vid­ing a sig­nif­i­cant boost in torque that bet­ters the num­bers de­liv­ered by 2.4-litre Out­landers.

The 1499cc turbo engine de­vel­ops 112kw at 5500rpm and peak torque of 254Nm is ac­ces­si­ble from 2000-3500rpm. The flex­i­bil­ity is as­sisted by a smooth con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion that has an eight-step se­quen­tial shift mode with steer­ing wheel pad­dles.

Un­til now the 2.3-litre MIVEC diesel has been the clear per­for­mance choice for both ASX and Out­lander buy­ers. The new turbo four-cylinder bridges much of the per­for­mance gap be­tween the older nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gines and the diesel by of­fer­ing a mus­cu­lar torque curve and punchy re­sponse across a wide rev range. Ea­ger over­tak­ing re­sponse is ac­com­pa­nied by a long-legged and re­laxed style on the high­way with top gear re­quir­ing only 1800rpm at 100km/h in top gear with shifts to 2300rpm in sev­enth and 3000rpm in sixth.

Flex­i­bil­ity is ac­com­pa­nied by mod­ern fuel ef­fi­ciency with an over­all road test aver­age of 7.8 litres per 100km and a high­way run achiev­ing 7.0L/100km. Those num­bers sit com­fort­ably with Mit­subishi’s com­bined cy­cle claim of 7.3L/100km and a large 63-litre fuel tank ca­pac­ity gives an ex­tended range.

The Eclipse Cross car­ries its pace on the high­way with a con­fi­dent stance on 18-inch al­loys shod with Toyo Proxes R44 tyres in a gen­er­ous 225/55 R18 siz­ing.

It has a firm ride and body con­trol which can be a lit­tle abrupt on un­even sur­faces while light steer­ing and a com­pact turn­ing cir­cle makes it easy to drive in the city.

Along­side its mod­ern pow­er­train the Eclipse Cross brings an el­e­ment of coupe styling to the cross­over seg­ment to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it from the more prac­ti­cal ASX and Out­lander.

The frontal de­sign is Mit­subishi’s chrome-adorned Dy­namic Shield theme while the glasshouse and fast rear screen rake cre­ates a coupe-like sil­hou­ette. A moder­ate high-ride stance with 175mm ground clear­ance pro­vides vis­i­bil­ity ben­e­fits and eas­ier ac­cess to the cabin and the slightly raised seat cush­ion height.

There’s a bold look to the LED light­ing sig­na­ture along with prom­i­nent wheel arches, a rear spoiler, black slim­line roof rails and pri­vacy glass.

Mea­sur­ing up at 4405mm in over­all length the Eclipse Cross is larger than the likes of the Holden Trax, Mazda CX-3, Toy­ota C-HR and Peu­geot 2008 while a Kia Sportage is slightly big­ger. Among the ranks of com­pact SUV con­tenders, the Peu­geot 3008 is very sim­i­lar in mea­sure­ments while other al­ter­na­tives num­ber the Hyundai Kona, Subaru XV, Nis­san Qashqai, Honda HR-V and Skoda Karoq.

Cabin space is sim­i­lar to a small­medium seg­ment hatch­back and it’s a mod­er­ately tight-fit­ting in­te­rior. Rear seat head­room in the VRX grade com­pro­mised by the dual panel sun­roof in­stal­la­tion. Load space mea­sures up at a rea­son­ably tight 374 litres which in­creases to 653 litres when the split rear seat is folded and slid for­ward. There’s a se­cu­rity blind and if there’s per­haps one miss­ing in­gre­di­ent it’s a pow­ered tail­gate — which might be con­sid­ered as re­quired con­tent on a top-grade model in the mid-$40k range.

Mit­subishi struc­tures the Eclipse Cross line-up with XLS and VRX grade choices with all-wheel-drive mod­els car­ry­ing a $2000 pre­mium. The front-drive VRX is priced at $45,490 and Mit­subishi loads it with an ap­peal­ing level of stan­dard con­tent.

Con­tent spe­cific to the VRX in­cludes leather seat trim with cop­per stitch high­lights, the dual panel sun­roof, an ex­cel­lent mul­ti­view cam­era sys­tem, head-up dis­play, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, front and rear park­ing sen­sors and heated front seats with power driver’s seat ad­just­ment.

Ad­di­tions to the safety con­tent for the VRX in­clude Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol, Blind Spot Warn­ing with Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert and LED head­lights with auto lev­el­ling.

Th­ese fea­tures build on the al­ready ap­peal­ing XLS con­tents which in­clude 18-inch al­loy wheels, pri­vacy glass, key­less en­try and engine start, rain sen­sor wipers and power fold mir­rors.

XLS mod­els have For­ward Col­li­sion Mit­i­ga­tion and Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing. Seven airbags are stan­dard along with Hill Start As­sist, an elec­tric park brake with Auto Hold and a 5-star ANCAP safety rat­ing.

Both grades have a dash­top 7.0-inch Smart Dis­play Au­dio with a Lexus-style touch­pad .

It’s look­ing through the de­tail of the spec­i­fi­ca­tion that re­veals one of the chal­lenges in eval­u­at­ing the Eclipse Cross — the pric­ing gap be­tween the widely ad­ver­tised and very com­pet­i­tive $34,990 spe­cial price for the base model XLS ver­sion and the VRX at $45,490.

While there’s ex­tra con­tent in the VRX pack­age but per­haps not quite enough to make the $10,500 price dif­fer­ence a bal­anced equa­tion.

The Eclipse Cross is a stylish new rung on the Mit­subishi SUV/ cross­over lad­der.

The fo­cus is a lit­tle more on style than the prac­ti­cal fam­ily con­fig­u­ra­tions of the ASX or Out­lander but for buy­ers who want the at­tributes of a small-medium hatch­back with the ben­e­fits of a raised seat­ing po­si­tion and Mit­subishi’s most mod­ern turbo pow­er­train the Eclipse Cross neatly fits the bill.

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