Crossover with coupe styling
MITSUBISHI STEPS UP THE CHIC FACTOR WITH THE ECLIPSE CROSS
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 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 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 7L/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 make it easy for city driving.
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 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 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 is compromised by the dualpanel 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.