2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 3

What is it?

AN attractive small SUV-like vehicle with a ‘Cross’ suffix, which I guess makes it different from a CUV — but not an SUV? 

The motor world is ever-evolving and there don’t seem to be fixed rules about the differences between CUVs (crossover utility vehicle) and SUVs (sport utility vehicle), though the former is usually more car than ute-based.

Here we’re looking at Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross, which comes in so many varieties it could leave buyers cross-eyed too. 

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 4

What’s it cost?

Eclipses all look much the same, but they come in LS, XLS, Aspire, LS AWD, XLS Plus, Exceed XLS Plus AWD and Exceed AWD form — and already there are some Plug-in Hybrids joining the clan.

Just to add to the bewilderment, Eclipse Cross is perched alongside two other Mitsis in the market: the ageless ASX and Outlander.

Prices start from $30,290 and go on incrementally to just over the $40K mark, and the PHEVs will cost somewhat more.

No matter at the moment, because our review steed was an Aspire, a middle ranking model in the Eclipse Cross family, priced at $34,990.

All of them come with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, climate control, 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and DAB (digital radio).

For the extra four grand the Aspire adds LED fog lights, tinted rear glass, roof rails, heated and power-folding door mirrors, a proximity key,  auto-on headlights and wipers, an electric park brake, heated and powered front seats, two-zone climate control, an eight speaker audio system, a 360-degree camera, front parking sensors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

That’s some package.

But for satnav, you need to pair your phone with the infotainment kit. 

Eclipse has a sporty appearance that makes it stand out from the mob in the sea of SUVs that have taken over the passenger market.

It’s compact, but has generous, comfortable accommodation front and rear and there’s a pretty big boot too.

Pop in behind the wheel and you get very good visibility and a dash, steering wheel and pedals that will give most drivers a smile of satisfaction. 

 There’s all the instrumentation you want and if you like to have control of what cog you want to select, there are paddles on the steering wheel.

The transmission is actually of the continuously variable kind, but it has an eight-step ratio system so enthusiasts can do their thing. 

The paddles are pretty quick in action too, adding to the Eclipse’s sporty character.  

There’s plenty of room front and rear for most two-plus-two families and the 407-litre boot should be big enough.

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 2

What’s it go like?

Power is from a 110kW and 250Nm 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder which can zip the 1600kg vehicle to 100km/h in about 9.0 seconds, and doesn’t need a lot of petrol to do so.

The official consumption rate is 7.3L/100km, and we recorded 7.7 on our quite brisk drive.

Mitsubishi has been making vehicles for a long time — since 1917, in fact — and the brand has a history dating back to 1834, when it built ships.  

In the Eclipse Cross, it has produced a fine-looking, well-engineered small CUV, SUV, whatever you’d like to call it, that does the job without breaking the bank.

It drives quietly, smoothly, is full of the safety guff du jour and comes with a massive 10-year warranty, if you stick to the brand’s once-a-year dealer servicing.

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 5

What we like?

  • Appearance
  • Good road manners
  • Space and comfort
  • Build quality
  • Huge warranty
  • Fuel economy

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 6

What we don’t like?

  • Too many models
  • Satnav needs to be paired with phone

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 8

The bottom line?

‘Nuff said. We liked it.

As an aside, Snoopy, the beloved white beagle in the Peanuts comic strip, and Mitsubishi have something in common.

Snoopy flew a Sopwith Camel aeroplane and back in 1921, Sopwith Camel designer Herbert Smith helped Mitsubishi create an aircraft division.

If Snoopy could drive, my bet is he’d be at the wheel of an Eclipse Cross.

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Aspire 7

 

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Snoopy

Mitsubishi Eclipse-Cross Aspire, priced from $34,990
  • Looks - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Safety - 8/10
    8/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
    8/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Tech - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
7.9/10
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: The Snoopy connection

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.