Mitsubishi’s latest crossover is stylish and punchy, but more importantly, has the potential to win over cynics.
TTHANK heavens Mitsubishi has finally launched a model worth getting excited over.
Ever since the mighty Lancer Evolution X was retired, the brand has had no sports cars or halo models to speak of. And for the past three years, the most visible Mitsubishi model in Singapore has been the Attrage, a budget saloon utilised by private-hire drivers.
Therefore, impressing regular motorists was always going to be an uphill battle. In fact, most are unaware that Mitsubishi’s local lineup includes the high-tech Outlander PHEV, the world’s first plug-in petrol-electric hybrid SUV (sports utility vehicle).
But with the Eclipse Cross, Mitsubishi now has the potential to finally appeal to buyers, for it is the most compelling new Mitsubishi model available today.
The Eclipse Cross, however, has nothing to do with the previous Eclipse (see Eclipse For Enthusiasts box story), a coupe that was produced from 1989 to 2011. Although the Eclipse name has been resurrected, the model is now a coupe-SUV, just like the BMW X6 and Range Rover Evoque.
When Mitsubishi first released photos of this model, I wasn’t drawn to its design. Thankfully, the Eclipse Cross looks much better in real life than on a screen. Its front end has that handsome/macho look that SUV buyers love, while its sloped roofline gives it a coupelike profile.
The rear end is going to polarise opinions, though. I find the car’s two-window tailgate, also a design feature of the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq, awkward. My guess is that it helps improve aerodynamic efficiency, which in turn lowers fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Those good feelings about the Eclipse Cross, however, start growing again as I settle into the driver’s seat.
Standard equipment includes a head-up display, seven airbags
User-friendly cockpit is wellmade and, surprisingly, features paddle shifters made from more expensive magnesium alloy instead of cheaper plastic.